The Cervantes Institute and the Royal Spanish Academy, or RAE, to use its Spanish-language acronym, are aspiring to establish Spanish as the second-most-used language in international communication and are pushing for setting up an action unit to achieve it, the directors of the two institutions - Victor Garcia de la Concha and Jose Manuel Blecua, respectively - said.
In a debate at the Hay Festival in Segovia with economist and lecturer Jose Luis Garcia Delgado and the director of the daily ABC, Bieito Rubido, Garcia de la Concha emphasized that “only if we unite” will the language be able to be supported, something that in large measures depends on the United States.
De la Concha, who was also the director of the Royal Academy, said that 528 million people speak Spanish worldwide, making the language the second-most-widely-used language for international communication and for Internet and work use.
The number of scientifically-oriented pages using Spanish on the Internet is minimal, however, in Garcia de la Concha’s opinion, as is its international recognition, since it is not even an official language of the European Union.
Therefore, De la Concha frankly said that “we are not definitively ... able to consolidate ourselves as the second international language, a situation that is in play in the United States, where there will be 100 million Spanish-speakers in 2050.”
Thus, the Cervantes Institute is focusing on creating a center at Harvard and an Observatory of Spanish in the United States because now “what’s occurring with bilingual teaching is a catastrophe, with teachers without training, and we lack government support,” De la Concha said.
Meanwhile, the RAE chief, in line with what Prof. Garcia Delgado said, expressed his conviction that the Spanish language, in and of itself, is of value and can be competitive on the international level.
The work of the RAE has two aspects, one directed at the user and the other directed at companies and researchers, among whom English currently reigns supreme, because digital technologies have taken their time about catching on in Spain, Blecua said.