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Monday, December 11, 2006 (read 1279 times)
Ya se puede decir "internet" - The New "Essential Dictionary of Spanish"by Erin
It's official! You can now officially use "internet", "rap" and "chat" in your Spanish conversations and homework. If your teacher complains, tell her or him to take it up with the academy - the Real Academia Española, the institution entrusted to determine what is and isn't a Spanish word.
The RAE has just published a new dictionary - el Diccionario esencial de la lengua española - and for the most part, it's getting rave reviews. It's an updated and more concise (only 54,000 words, while the authors explain that most Spanish speakers handle about 5000 words in their day to day lives) version of the quintessential RAE dictionary you can search at the RAE website.
The RAE calls the new reference a dictionary of commonly used, current Spanish. About 12% of the words and expressions listed are commonly used only in the Americas.
Spanish words appearing for the first time in this new essential dictionary include:
- internet (small i, take note!)
- salvapantallas (screensaver)
- bulímico (bulemic)
- mulá (mullah)
The dictionary adds new definitions for several veteran Spanish words, such as hierro, which can now officially be used in Spanish to describe a type of golf club.
The authors have give their blessing to some commonly used expressions, as well, including expressions more commonly heard in the Americas, such as:
- matar al mensajero (kill the messenger)
- vaca sagrada (sacred cow)
On a side note, the new dictionary has inspired a bit of controversy (and a small flurry of opinion columns and letters to the editor in El Pais) about the definition published with the newly added word matrimonio (a union between a man and a woman) and the continued use of masculine words (such as chico) to describe mixed groups of people (chicos y chicas), a practice some feminists would like to see changed.
What do you think? Is using the masculine to refer to a mixed group a sexist practice that should be updated by inventing new words? Or is the RAE bravely protecting Spanish from political correctness?
I'm thinking this might be our next poll……