With a reliability worthy of a sociological survey, the Royal Spanish Academy (RAE) periodically offers, at the end of each year, a profile of what occupies the mind (but, above all, the body) of the speakers of the Spanish language.
The imminent celebration of the IX International Congress of the Spanish Language (CILE) in Cádiz from March 27 to 30 provides a good opportunity to take a brief look at the lexical innovations that the Language Academies (RAE and Association of Academies of the Spanish Language, ASALE) have been incorporating, over the last few years, the Dictionary of the Spanish Language (DLE), that is, the Dictionary common or official language.
The innovations basically refer to new lexical entries and new definitions or meanings of words already registered. With such contributions, belonging to the entire Hispanic world, a significant profile of the life of Spanish speakers could be designed, of their rising values, of their (pre)occupations and interests, and also, by omission, of their forgetfulness and negligence.
Without claiming to be exhaustive, the lexical or semantic novelties that have been registered in the DLE are registered in a few areas of interest, as will be seen: new technologies, entertainment (both fields widely overlapping), health, sports and gastronomy (also with important common areas), and not much else. It gives the impression that the consensus only reaches this far in this Spanish-speaking community at the beginning of the 21st century.
From memes to botox
In the field of new technologies, there are many neologisms that designate tools, techniques, practices and computer applications that have been made available to us in recent years: blog y blogger, chat y chat, meme, texting, go viral, multitask, encrypted, rúter and derivatives, clic, big data, Tweet and derivatives, wifi, drone y flap, led y media library…
The number of words composed with ciber- has skyrocketed, although not all of them have yet been registered in academic lexicography (I ignore derivatives): cyberacous, cyber art, cyber attack, internet cafe, cyberculture, cybercrime, cybercrime…
Lexical units are attached to the sphere of entertainment such as bugui-bugui, cameo, ciberpunk, fanzine, manga, prequel, rap and derivatives, resort, golf session, sudoku, zap… not always clearly separable from voices related to aesthetics, fashion, clothing, ways of life, etc. as autofoto y selfie, botox, camp, squat and derivatives, parka, punk y Vedatism.
The vocabulary of health
There are also numerous neologisms related to the field of food. It is not for nothing that chefs represent emerging figures in today’s culture, with widely-followed television programming: words like brioche, broccoli, carbonara, destination, sauerkraut, confit, crepe, Croce, tofu, garrophone, muesli, panettone, buddy o sancochoin addition to veganism y vegan, have entered through the front door in the DLE. And waiting are many others from the same semantic or associative field.
Next to food is another basic social consensus today: that related to health (including mental health), as well as physical and emotional well-being. Lexical innovation related to this sphere has increased exponentially with words that designate, among other realities, phobias and addictions, such as amaxophobia, aporophobia, bypass, bipolar, bulimic, endorphin, extent, sociopath and derivatives, drug dependencelexical shortenings physio, about y nervesthe nanomedicinethe Viagraetc.
if the words anorexia y vigorexia have already found a home in academic catalogues, for some years now they have been knocking on its doors tanorexia, orthorexia o megarexiaof whose wide use and meaning Wikipedia and many other web sites give us news.
It is difficult to separate from the semantic spaces just mentioned the lexemes related to various sports practices: aerobism, canyoning, cycle tourism, kart, scrum, knock out, excuse me, pichichi, pilates, point, rafting, Nordic walking, middle distance runner…
Recent lexical incorporations such as friend with benefits, antitaurino, arboricidio, goodness, ageism, speciesism, femicide, geek, graffiti artist, identity, homoparental y single parent, damning, aunts, micromachismo, pasotism, metrosexual, positivity, posturing, posttruth, resilience, sorority; verbs like deconstruct and derivatives, destructure and derivatives, deregulate and derivatives; in addition to derivatives with prefix eco-: ecocide, ecocide, ecoregion, ecotourism…
The meanings or some meanings of words such as gender, marriage, adultery, nationalism, gallego, common sense, weaker sex y strong sexto name just a few that have jumped to public opinion.
Although the DLE tries to reflect the reality of the entire Spanish language, spoken in twenty-three states by close to 600 million people, it does not turn a deaf ear to some lexical particularisms typical of different countries or regions. Among those typical of Spain, mostly of a colloquial nature, and not all of recent coinage, the DLE registers españolismos as casoplon, famouso, only (“hunger”), march, potsar y pota (“threw up”), pinganillo, posturing, rular (“to function, to march”), golf session, twink o zasca.
If the DLE, like any other dictionary, aspires to be a useful work for consultation, it has no choice but to be open to new features in the language of the speakers.
However, the academic character of this work should also aspire to offer those who consult it an orientation about what best responds to the genius and unity of the language, among the various options that linguistic use sometimes presents. This will be the feature that differentiates the academic repertoire from other anonymous or simply commercial works.
Manuel Casado Velarde, Emeritus Professor of Spanish Language, specialized in discourse analysis, lexical innovation, Lexicology and Semantics of Spanish, university of Navarra
This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original.
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