An AVE for four ‘rodalies’

There may be different reasons why someone decides to learn a language other than their own: because it is determined in an educational system; for a work and, therefore, economic need; for having fallen in love with a person from another place and wanting to understand the language of a new in-law family and, therefore, one of the two languages ​​that future children will speak; for social and/or academic prestige; out of mere interest, or even for pure entertainment. Be that as it may, navigating a linguistic system that is not the mother’s or one acquired since childhood can become a more or less difficult journey for aspiring users of a new communication code. And this may be determined by the degree of imposition produced by the need or, in the best of cases, the interest in studying a language.

Leaving aside (by no means out of contempt) the situation of those who claim to feel oppressed by the imposition of Spanish in some areas of the State, there are powerful reasons to study, speak and master the Spanish language, whether one has it or not, or whether one whether he likes it or not, the nationality of one of the twenty-one countries in which the Lope language is official. The Cervantes Institute, a public entity created in 1991 to promote the teaching, study and use of Spanish in the world, works to convince any universal citizen of what millions of people have already understood: in its latest annual report, said organization states that the number of people who speak Spanish (as it is called in article 3 of the Magna Carta) is currently close to 600 million, a figure that would be equivalent to 7.5% of the planet’s population. Spanish is a ‘global’ language that has continued to experience continuous and significant growth. It is among the top five languages ​​in the world – placed up or down, depending on the interest of whoever presents the data -, not only because of its number of speakers, but also because of the number of countries in which it is official and by its geographical extension. Likewise, Spanish is the third most used language on the Internet, and this has not gone unnoticed by computational linguists, who for some time have been working in multidisciplinary teams so that Artificial Intelligence also speaks this language. In any case, the Spanish leaves little room for maneuver for manipulation, since the figures speak for themselves. And all this would translate into a wealth of economic and prestige possibilities enviable for any speaker of another language, if one takes into account, for example, what the British sociolinguist Hudson explained: in some areas of the planet mothers speak to their children in a language different from the one they have as their mother tongue, so that their offspring can acquire what a Spanish speaker possesses just for the mere fact of being one.

I congratulate those translators who have been working for a few months in the Congress of Deputies so that native speakers of Spanish, Catalan, Basque and Galician can understand each other, because at the moment they are enjoying the economic benefits that sometimes comes from speaking more a tongue. However – and this is said by someone who understands all, and speaks almost all, of the languages ​​of the Iberian Peninsula – it is hilarious to resort to the much-needed discipline of Translation and Interpretation, when it comes to a communicative situation in which The participants have in common a language whose mastery millions of people would and do pay. And, even if more and more speakers move away from where they want to go, one day their descendants may not be forgiven for that movement. The current and future situation of the Spanish will not amnesty those who exchange an AVE for four ‘rodalies’.

** Linguist

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