The Royal Spanish Academy Has The Last Word

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In late November, the Royal Spanish Academy (more appropriately, La Real Academia Española or RAE) set some new rules regarding our beautiful native language. The RAE is the official royal institution responsible for regulating the Spanish language. It was established in 1713 and is based in Madrid, Spain, though it is affiliated with national language academies in twenty-one other Spanish-speaking nations, including the U.S. The decision by the RAE to remove two important letters from the Spanish language alphabet, the “Ch” and “Ll”, is what has some Latinos upset. There will now be 27 letters in the new Spanish alphabet, with these two being demoted to “letter combos.” The usage of those two letter combos was meant to emphasize the unique pronunciations in the language and pronunciation will remain the same even after the letters themselves are officially expelled.

The Academy stated in their mission that they decided to do away with the two letters combos to simplify the language. But aren't the romantic complexities what we love most about our language? The changes are frustrating many Latin Americans because it feels as if Spain is telling entire countries that they have absolutely no say in how they speak their own native language. Around 450 million Spanish-speakers worldwide—including Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez (who finds himself in a new spot in the alphabet now that only the “C” counts)—are not having it. Oh, and to add insult to injury, the Academy is also working on removing a few accents from the language too!

It looks like there’s going to have to be a whole lot of dictionaries, reference books and text books remade. Oh wait, now we get it...

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