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Friday, November 21, 2014

It’s a special occasion for those of us who share a passion for the Spanish language. The Royal Spanish Academy, in union with the other academies around the world that make up the Association of Spanish Language Academies (ASALE), have finished the latest edition of a work that is a landmark in Spanish lexicography reference sources. This 23rd edition of the dictionary commonly referred to as the DRAE (which stands for Diccionario de la Real Academia Española, although the correct name is Diccionario de la Lengua Española) features a significant amount of updated content.

For the first time ever, the ASALE’s 22 organizations worked together to prepare the dictionary. As a result, this edition includes 19,000 more so-called “americanismos” (words originating in the Americas) than the last edition (2001). Words such as amigovio/a, basurita, papichulo, lonchera and many more are now displayed within the pages of this phenomenal achievement. We’re even seeing a noticeable trend in the opinion of Latin American users demanding that the initials DRAE, which we all know the dictionary by, be changed to DILE (Diccionario de la Lengua Española), as part of an effort to eliminate the ethnocentric attitude of Spain that has historically dominated the book.  

The new dictionary has been updated in terms of digital technology to include words such as tableta, tuitear, bloguero, and many more. The changing economic climate has also produced new accepted words such as mileurista (a worker who earns a monthly wage of €1,000), teletrabajo (a job carried out away from the company workplace using telecommunication) and others. 

1,350 words considered obsolete have been eliminated from this edition to modernize the dictionary, although terms such as Bíper (beeper) still appear.

Some entrees such as matrimonio (married, married couple) have also been updated to reflect changes that have occurred in our society. In the political world, making reference in this case to Spanish politics, pepero and sociata have also been accepted.

It’s important to keep in mind that there’s also an online version of the DRAE that you can consult completely free of charge. It has been up and running for over a decade, has received millions of visits from users, and has gotten updated according to the changes approved within the walls of the academies (the latest updates came in 2012 and the entire new edition of the DRAE is expected to be online by 2015). Some observers believe this latest printed edition could even be the last physical version of the dictionary as we enter a more virtual future.

So, if we’re going to watch a beisbol (baseball) game and we bring a sándwich in our lonchera (lunch box) to avoid the high prices of the bufé at the stadium, first we have to get through the chequeo (check at the gate) of the tiques (ticket box) to get in and later we’ll speaking espánglish with a guiri (foreign tourist) to talk about the jonrón (homerun) that our team earned…  speech like this highlights the living nature of Spanish, a language that adapts to change and new circumstances without any problem.

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