Photo: Royal Academy of the Spanish Language
The dictionary of the Royal Academy of of the Spanish Language (DRAE), has accepted the term “estadounidismo” (United Statesism), defined as: 1. M. A word or usage common in Spanish as spoken in the United States.”
The North American Academy of the Spanish Language (ANLE per its Spanish language acronym) proposed this term as a first step toward recognition of the use of Spanish by Hispanics in the United States (hispanounidenses), comparable to the modalities of use of the language by diverse nationalities. Among the new terms that will appear in the next edition of the dictionary in 2014 is “espanglish,” defined as a “Modality of speech among some Hispanics by which Spanish and English lexical and grammatical forms are mixed, thereby weakening both.”
The inclusion of “estadounidismos” recognizes the importance of Spanish in the United States. The 2010 census counted more than 50 million Hispanics. That number puts the United States in second place, after Mexico, among Spanish-speaking nations. Furthermore, because of immigrants from all Spanish-speaking lands, the United States is the “test tube” where many variants of the common tongue are created.
Gerardo Piña-Rosales, president of ANLE, noted that the fact that for the first time “estadounidismo” appears in the dictionary is due in great measure to the commitment of the North American academy. “At this point, I think that one can now speak of a Spanish of the United States,” he says. “This variant (which has nothing to do with so-called espanglish) is one more, neither better nor worse – although surely more complex – that the Spanish-speaking nations offer.”
Since 2001, when the latest edition – the 22nd – of the DRAE was published, some 22,000 new terms have been accepted, modified and deleted. All of them, and still others, will be added to the 2014 edition.