The Royal Spanish Academy (RAE): The rule and the words

A few decades ago it was unimaginable to think of facing up tasks like the Corpus of Spanish in the 21st century or the New Historical Dictionary of Spanish.  The technological revolution has shocked the work made by the Royal Spanish Academy (RAE).  As a fact, since 2017, the Spanish dictionary has an electronic version.  Every year, it will grow with new words, meanings or amendments.  There are already more than 95,000 terms, summing up to 200.000 meanings, too much for the limited space of a paper book.  So, we are witnessing the last days of the traditional dictionary as we know it today.


Computing has changed it all, or almost.  However there are things that should not.  For more than three centuries now, the Royal Academy “cleans, fixes and gives splendor” to the Spanish language.  And 300 years is plenty of time.  The headquarters of the RAE hides anecdotes and treasures, to walk around its rooms is to give a stroll to the words, is to visit those 46 seats, with its different letters and its distinguished academics (still very few of them, women).  It is, ultimately, to feel part of a community with more than 500 million people who are able to communicate with the same language: Spanish.






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