HomeQ&ACh-ch-changes: Spanish spelling rules get updated

Ch-ch-changes: Spanish spelling rules get updated

5
votes

I just read this on Voices en Español and was wondering how it will affect us.

Ch-ch-changes: Spanish spelling rules get updated

The Real Academia Española has announced that in December it will publish a new volume of spelling rules for the Spanish language. It’s the first spelling update the RAE has done since 1999, which was the same year that the ll and ch were officially dropped as individual characters in the Spanish alphabet. Among the new spelling changes are the following:

•The letter Y, formerly called “y griega,” will now be called “ye.”

•The letters B and V will be called by their formal names “be” and “uve” and not “b grande, b larga, b corta or b chica, all common ways of referring to those letters in Latin America.

•The prefix “ex” will be attached to words without a hyphen. For example: exnovio, exmarido, exdirector, etc.

•The words guión, truhán and sólo will no longer have an accent mark (la tilde).

•The letter Q will only appear in Spanish when it is paired with the letter U and followed by either the vowels E or I. (For example: quiosco, querer, etc.). In all other cases, the letters C or K will be used instead of Q. Iraq becomes Irak, Qatar becomes Catar, quorum becomes cuórum.

Some questions that come to mind are:

Will there be changes made to the dictionary here on SD? If we come across a word spelled the previous way, and try to look it up, will we still be able to find it with the old spelling? Will I be arrested by the spelling police and sent to the dunce corner, if I still use a tilde when I write sólo or say y griega just because I like the way it sounds?

Really, I just want to open up a conversation around this topic. Although I had a couple years of Spanish in high school to get me started, I have mostly learned by talking with people in my neighborhood, so more formalized Spanish is new to me. When the RAE makes changes like this, how long until it is widely accepted and used by the common man/woman?

All points of view welcome.

16462 views
updated Nov 6, 2010
posted by sagiia
Nice - thanx that was very interesting :) - Kiwi-Girl, Nov 6, 2010

12 Answers

3
votes

I'm cool with these changes to be honest, and it even made the news yesterday on Spanish TV. Nevertheless, don't hold your breath for the widespread adoption of these rules, because the 'tilde' on demonstrative pronouns and 'solo' was already dropped in 1999 except in case of ambiguity, and still a lot of native speakers keep putting those tildes in every case. I'm sure five or ten years from now many people will keep writing 'guión' or 'sólo' -not counting the many, many people who misspell at least one or two words per sentence of course.

By the way Galsally, that's supposed to be easiest change of them to get used to, at least for a native Spanish speaker. In Spanish Q's are always supposed to work like that: 'que' or 'qui'. Those words ('Qatar, 'Quorum', ..) are simply remnants of Latin and other languages that for some reason were never adapted to modern Spanish phonetics. With this change there will be one less goofy exception in our language.

updated Nov 6, 2010
posted by bill1111
Between you and Lazarus, it's starting to go in. :P - galsally, Nov 6, 2010
2
votes

So are people going to start saying trahán?

Why not get rid of k too and change kilo to quilo, etc.?

updated Nov 6, 2010
posted by lorenzo9
2
votes

I think I will struggle with changing those 'Q's to 'C's correctly, I'll be thinking 'Uh, which vowels change it and which don't?'

The reason is simple: If you can get a sound with a C instead of any other word, we use this one preferably:

(1) CE, CI: Cenicero, cimiento (not zenizero or zimiento)

(2) CA, CO, CU: carro, copa, cuna (not qarro, karro, qopa, kopa,...)

Now, the letter C can no longer used for the sound in (1) with A, O, and U, so we have to use Z:

(3) ZA, ZO, ZU: zapato, zorro, zurrón

The letter C cannot be used for the "k" sound with E and I, so the QU is used instead:

4) QUE, QUI: que, quiero.

This leaves no room for the letter K, which is used only with foreign words. Summing up:

  • for a Z sound: ZA, CE, Ci, ZO, ZU
  • for a K sound: CA, QUE, QUI, CO, CU

This system makes spelling very easy, because there is only one way to codify a sound combination, while if you introduce spellings things like Qatar, then spelling starts to get random, like in English.

updated Nov 6, 2010
posted by lazarus1907
Gracias Lazarus. As usual, you break it down for us in a way that is easy to understand. - sagiia, Nov 6, 2010
Super Lazarus, I think it will make sense to me so long as I don't 'overthink'! - galsally, Nov 6, 2010
2
votes

Pity we can't do it for English too but we can't because we would have to change the pronunciation as well.

Mr Webster did try a long time ago but that only led to even more confusion in the English speaking world.

updated Nov 6, 2010
posted by ian-hill
2
votes

I like y-griega too!

I think I will struggle with changing those 'Q's to 'C's correctly, I'll be thinking 'Uh, which vowels change it and which don't?'

It will be interesting to hear native speakers on this topic.

Thanks for the heads-up Saaglia.

updated Nov 6, 2010
posted by galsally
Yes, I hope the administrators of SD will comment on this. - sagiia, Nov 6, 2010
2
votes

This was interesting too smile

Yahoo Article

"The changes proposed today have enormous merit as they have been arrived at by global consensus,"

"20 years ago, changes were imposed solely by the Spanish academy whereas today even the most distant academic in deepest Bolivia has contributed."

updated Nov 6, 2010
posted by Kiwi-Girl
Gracias, that article certainly provided mor insight into the process of arriving at this decision. - sagiia, Nov 6, 2010
1
vote

Lo he leido en El Pais. Estoy a favor de estos cambios. Es mas facil sin los tildes.

updated Nov 6, 2010
posted by carcar
1
vote

When the RAE makes changes like this, how long until it is widely accepted and used by the common man/woman?

As a native, I can tell you that it will take a very long time, maybe until the next generations start writing in newspapers and magazines with the new rules.

updated Nov 6, 2010
posted by Mokay
1
vote

Hola:

Gracias por compartir estos cambios con nosotros. This is one of the reason why I like this site so much. Thank you for keeping us posted and informed. I really appreciate it. Guion... It seems so weird without the "tilde". Oh well, what RAE dictates, goes. We just have to remember that languages are like a living being, evolving and changing.

updated Nov 6, 2010
posted by LuisaGomezBartle
1
vote

I like these changes, especially where:

.... the letters C or K will be used instead of Q. Iraq becomes Irak, Qatar becomes Catar, quorum becomes cuórum.

That makes so much more sense to me in terms of Spanish pronunciation.

updated Nov 6, 2010
posted by --Mariana--
1
vote

I think words like ex-novio, ex-presidente will seem very strange without the hyphen. Exnovio, expresidente. You see?

The hyphen serves a purpose because the ex at the beginning of those words has a different meaning than the prefix ex at the beginning of words like explicar and exposicíon.

updated Nov 6, 2010
posted by sagiia
1
vote

Will there be changes made to the dictionary here on SD?

I assume they will have to be changed sometime soon to keep up with the current RAE.

updated Nov 6, 2010
posted by --Mariana--
wishful thinking? jeje - 00494d19, Nov 6, 2010
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