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Globalising standard Spanish: the promotion of 'panhispanism' in the Spanish press

Paffey, Darren (2010) Globalising standard Spanish: the promotion of 'panhispanism' in the Spanish press In, Johnson, Sally and Milani, Tommaso M. (eds.) Language Ideologies and Media Discourse: Texts, Practices, Politics. London, GB, Continuum pp. 41-60. (Advances in Sociolinguistics).

Record type: Book Section


The aim of this chapter is to consider and analyse the way in which language ideologies are present in the Spanish media. My discussion of language ideologies is underpinned by the work on language ideologies of such writers as Schieffelin et al (1998), and Blommaert (1999), and within this framework I draw on the work of Lippi-Green (1997), Cameron (1995) and Milroy & Milroy (1999) with their particular focus on the ideology of language standardisation. My theoretical approach then takes into account the important way in which institutional ideologies are manifested in press discourse, and I discuss the contributions of Fowler (1991) and Richardson (2007) in particular.

My case study explores articles from two of Spain’s leading daily newspapers – El País and ABC – arguing that they represent clear examples of how media are discursive sites in which language ideological debates take place. These debates regard the status and role of the Spanish language in a world marked by the processes of globalisation, and in which the language itself is being reconceptualised as it is subjected to these processes. In order to contextualise this study, I chart the rise of one crucial institution, the Spanish Language Academy (Real Academia Española, RAE), which throughout its history has been the principal agent in standardising the Spanish language. For centuries now, the number of Spanish-speakers in the world has far outranked the population of Spain itself, but in recent years, the Madrid Academy (one of 22 Spanish language academies worldwide) has engaged in an increasing number of debates about Spanish as an essentially unified global language.

My investigation considers how a critical analysis of news discourse can reveal more about the ideological underpinnings of the Academy’s Panhispanic Language Policy (PLP), developed in collaboration with the other Spanish Academies and commercial partners, but led by Madrid. In order to achieve this critique, I draw on some of the analytical questions posed by scholars in the field of Critical Discourse Analysis, such as Fairclough (1995, 2006), Wodak and Meyer (2001) and van Dijk (1998, 2001). I reflect on the discursive features and strategies employed in press coverage of the PLP which reinforces and legitimises the authoritative voice of the Madrid Academy in the definition, management and guidance of the Spanish language and related language debates in a globalised world. The benefits of the spread of Spanish, the subsequent rescaling of discursive and social practices of language guardians, and the increasing collaboration with commercial entities, are first and foremost going to Spain. As one Spanish language guardian has suggested, it is Spain that is present in the world through Spanish, and I present evidence that media discourse is used to propagate the panhispanic language ideology of which these trends are a part.

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Published date: 2010
Keywords: language ideologies, spanish language, spanish language academy, real academia española, critical discourse analysis, media discourse


Local EPrints ID: 72238
ISBN: 9781441155863
PURE UUID: 414165f9-0014-4857-b5d4-e3f0f9ce75ca

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Date deposited: 02 Feb 2010
Last modified: 18 Jul 2017 23:55

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Author: Darren Paffey
Editor: Sally Johnson
Editor: Tommaso M. Milani

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