Spanish Spelling Rules Get a Makeover
Change is coming to Spanish orthographic conventions courtesy of the Real Academia Española (RAE), the organization that defines Spanish language standards. Last week, the RAE announced a number of planned changes prepared by 22 linguists from both Spain and Latin America. If all goes well, the changes to the Spanish language will be officially adopted on November 28 at the academy’s next meeting in Guadalajara, Mexico.
The following is a summary of some of the most important changes that are about to be implemented:
»The letters “ch” and “ll” have been considered a part of the Spanish alphabet since the 19th century, but no more. The Spanish alphabet will now consist of 27 letters.
»The names of the letters “b,” “v,” “w,” and “y” previously varied among different Spanish-speaking countries. The RAE seeks to further unify the language by assigning just one name to these different letters, e.g. the name of the letter “b” will change from “be alta” or “be larga” to simply “be.”
»The accent will be eliminated from the word “sólo” except in cases where its omission may lead to ambiguity. Previously, “sólo” was used to distinguish between the adverbial form of the word meaning “only” and the adjectival form “solo” meaning “alone.” Demonstrative pronouns such as “éste” or “ésa” will also cease to carry an accent.
»The RAE plans to eliminate “q” when it is used to represent the phoneme “k.” As such, Iraq will be written as “Irak” and quórum will become “cuórum.”
» Prefixes such as “ex” and “anti” will be joined to the word they precede. For example, ex-husband will appear as “exmarido” instead of “ex marido,” as it is currently written. Prefixes will continue to be written with a space when they precede two words, as in the case of “pro derechos humanos.”
»Words such as guión, huí, riáis, Sión o truhán will be considered monosyllabic, and therefore, will no longer be accented.
»The conjunction “o” used to be written with an accent when it appeared between two numbers (e.g. 3 ó 4) to avoid confusion with 0, but this rule will be eliminated.
Please read The RAE Discards Some Proposed Spanish Spelling Reforms for the latest changes.