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Policing the Spanish language debate: verbal hygiene and the Spanish language academy (Real Academia Española)

Paffey, Darren J. (2007) Policing the Spanish language debate: verbal hygiene and the Spanish language academy (Real Academia Española) Language Policy, 6, (3-4), pp. 313-332. (doi:10.1007/s10993-007-9064-5).

Record type: Article


This article takes a contemporary, socio-political approach to the study of the Real Academia Española (RAE) and its role in Spanish language matters. I examine the Academy’s contribution to current language debates and consider the language ideologies present in discussions of language standardisation. My investigation is framed by general and Spanish-specific works on language ideologies (e.g. Lippi-Green 1997; Schieffelin et al. 1998; Mar-Molinero 2004; Del Valle and Gabriel-Stheeman 2002). In particular, I examine how Academicians become ‘agents’ of institutional language ideologies [‘verbal hygienists’ in Cameron’s (1995) terms] by reinforcing a particular definition of the Spanish language. I critically analyse a selection of press articles (El País, ABC) and Academy publications which discuss the role, use and current state of the language. These provide evidence that language ideological debates are widespread in Spanish news media, and that the RAE takes the lead, as part of its panhispanic language policy.

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Submitted date: November 2006
Published date: November 2007


Local EPrints ID: 66035
ISSN: 1568-4555
PURE UUID: c71678d0-abcd-4519-a4dc-c582f102870b

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Date deposited: 22 Apr 2009
Last modified: 19 Jul 2017 00:28

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