Spanish Word of the Day Archive
Monday September 30, 2013

Real Academia Española, noun:
The Royal Spanish Academy

It is rare for a country to have an institution devoted to monitoring and protecting its language, but Spain has one, in the shape of the Real Academia Española. This august body was created in 1713 and given royal approval in 1714 with the motto ‘limpia, fija y da esplendor’ word for word ‘it cleans, preserves and gives splendor’ (to the language). Its original aim was to protect the purity of the Spanish language, but nowadays it seeks to maintain the essential unity of Spanish throughout the Spanish-speaking world. There are 41 full members appointed from among the most prestigious Spanish writers, intellectuals and linguists, as well as honorary and overseas members. Current members include Mario Vargas Llosa, the internationally known Peruvian writer, and Juan Luis Cebrián, the former editor of the influential Spanish newspaper, El País. The academy’s first dictionary was published between 1726 and 1739, in six volumes, and a single-volume edition was published in 1780. The single-volume edition is now in its 22nd edition, with the 23rd currently being prepared.

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