Paffey, Darren J. and Mar-Molinero, Clare
Globalisation, linguistic norms and language authorities: Spain and the Panhispanic language policy
Lacorte, Manel and Leeman, Jennifer (eds.)
Spanish in the United States and other Contact Environments. Sociolinguistics, Ideology and Pedagogy.
(Lengua y Sociedad en el Mundo Hispánico, 21).
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In the context of debates on global languages, this chapter takes a ‘top-down’ perspective in exploring the emergence of current panhispanic language policies, led by the Real Academia Española (RAE) and involving close collaboration with, amongst others, the Instituto Cervantes. The relationship between these two organizations has been depicted by a former RAE Director as “ministros de una misma iglesia; nosotros somos los padres conciliares y [el Instituto Cervantes] los misioneros” (García de la
Concha 2005:5). We argue that these policies shape, and are shaped by, widespread language ideological debates about standardization and language unity across the cohort of Spanish language academies and amongst language commentators in Spain, Latin America, and the U.S.
We examine three facets of language policies currently being pursued by the Spanish government which we term: 1) the ‘internal’ policies, 2) the ‘external’ policies, and, of increasing importance and the central focus of this chapter, 3) the ‘panhispanic language’ policies. We critically analyze these policies and language planning practices, seeking to identify the agents that are responsible for enacting and implementing them.
Of particular interest is the series of Congresos de la Lengua Española which plays an important role in policy development and promotion.
This chapter considers how institutional language ideologies drive Spanish language spread in the global context of a linguistic ‘market’, noting that private business interests
in Spain have awoken to the huge commercial opportunities offered by the Spanish-speaking markets and the selling of the Spanish language. We suggest that panhispanism has become synonymous for the RAE with globalization and ask what the
consequences of this might be in situations of language contact with Iberian and American languages.
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