As you know, you can learn lots of vocabulary and expressions with our online Spanish courses. In this blog we also offer information and advice about how to keep up to date in your use of the language.
Are you a perfectionist? Are you (or would you like to be) a star in the technical aspects of the Spanish language: i.e., spelling, punctuation and grammar?
At the beginning of 2019 the newspaper El País decided to help Spanish speakers to improve their spelling and grammar, publishing a new lesson and test every month.
The year 2019 ended with a final exam based on the 12 topics dealt with during the year. Some of the questions require us to be up to date with the changes in spelling and grammar authorised by the RAE ((Royal Spanish Academy)).
The RAE defends the Spanish language, authorising (or discouraging) changes in the language, and publishing yearly updates. For example:
- The RAE defends the language against the introduction of an Anglicism when there already exists an equivalent word in Spanish.
- The RAE authorises neologisms such as emoji (newly added in 2019).
- The RAE authorises changes in the use of grammar, such as the use of le as a direct object pronoun when it refers to a person (= him).
- The RAE authorises changes in the use of accents, to make life a bit less complicated. For example, the RAE recently approved solo as an adverb instead of sólo, and the pronouns este and esta instead of éste and ésta. Now if only they would deal with aun and aún…
English doesn’t have a defender like the RAE. The function of the OED (Oxford English Dictionary) mainly deals with vocabulary. It is a compendium of all the known uses and variations of each word, in different varieties of English, past and present, as well as the etymology history, pronunciation, and so on.
The OED documents new words and usage but makes no attempt to discourage neologisms. In fact, English has always embraced words from other languages or created new ones, such as television (from the Greek tele = far, distant, and the Latin visio), or to dejunk (to get rid of useless or unnecessary stuff). The OED also publishes updates on a regular basis.
So teachers and students of Spanish need to stay up to date with the latest decisions of the RAE. As for the end-of-year test in El País, you can start from zero with the first lesson and test from January 2019, or if you are feeling confident you can try your luck right now with the end-of-year exam.