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Meme, prequel, amigovio and post-truth: some of the recent additions to the Dictionary of the language Spanish language.


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The Conversation

Manuel Casado

Full Professor emeritus of the School of Philosophy y Letras

With a reliability worthy of a sociological survey , the Real Academia Española (RAE) offers periodically, at the end of each year, a profile of what occupies the mind (but, above all, the body) of the speakers of the Spanish language .

The imminent celebration of the IX International congress of the Spanish language (CILE) in Cadiz from March 27 to 30 provides a good opportunity to take a brief look at the lexical innovations that the Academies of the language (RAE and association of Academies of the Spanish language , ASALE) have been incorporating, over recent years, to the Dictionary of the Spanish language (DLE), that is, to the common or official Dictionary of the language.

The innovations refer basically to new lexical entries and to new definitions or meanings of already registered words. With such contributions, belonging to the whole Hispanic world, a significant profile could be designed of the life of Spanish speakers, of their rising values, of their (pre)occupations and interests, and also, by omission, of their forgetfulness and negligence.

Without claiming to be exhaustive, the lexical or semantic novelties that have been recorded in the DLE fall into a few areas of interest, as will be seen: new technologies, entertainment (both fields that overlap widely), health, sports and gastronomy (also with important areas in common), and not much more. It seems that this is as far as consensus goes in this Spanish-speaking community at the beginning of the 21st century.

From memes to Botox

In the field of new technologies, there is an abundance of neologisms that designate tools, techniques, practices and computer applications that have become available to us in recent years: blog and blogger, chat and chat, meme, messaging, viralize, multitasking, encryption, router and derivatives, click, big data, tuit and derivatives, wifi, drone and flap, led and Media Room...

The issue of words composed with cyber-, although not all of them are yet registered in the academic lexicography (I dispense with derivatives): cyberharassment, cyber-arte, cyberattack, cybercafe, cyberculture, cybercrime, cyberdelinquency, cybercrime...

To the sphere of entertainment are attached lexical units such as bugui-bugui, cameo, cyberpunk, fanzine, manga, prequel, rap and derivatives, resort, golfa session, sudoku, zapear... not always clearly separable from voices related to aesthetics, fashion, clothing, lifestyles, etc. such as selfie and selfi, botox, camp, squatter and derivatives, parka, punki and vedetismo.

The vocabulary of health

There are also numerous neologisms related to the field of food. It is not in vain that chefs represent emerging figures in today's culture, with widely followed television programming: words such as brioche, broccoli, carbonara, chopito, sauerkraut, confit, crepe, crocanti, tofu, garrofon, muesli, panetone, compango or sancocho, as well as veganism and vegan, have entered the DLE through the front door. And many others in the same semantic or associative field are waiting to be added.

In addition to food, there is today another basic social consensus: health (including mental health), as well as physical and emotional wellbeing. The lexical innovation related to this sphere has increased exponentially, with words that designate, among other realities, phobias and addictions, such as amaxophobia, aporophobia, baipas, bipolar, bulimic, endorphin, estent, sociopath and derivatives, pharmacodependence, the lexical shortenings fisio, depre and neura, nanomedicine, viagra, etc.

If the words anorexia and vigorexia have already found a place in academic catalogs, for some years now the words tanorexia, orthorexia or megarexia have been knocking on their doors, whose broad employment and meaning are reported on Wikipedia and many other sites on network.

It is difficult to separate from the semantic spaces just mentioned the lexemes related to different sports practices: aerobics, canyoning, cycling, karting, melee, knockout, stop, pichichi, pilates, puénting, rafting, Nordic walking, middle-distance runner...

Recent lexical incorporations such as amigovio, antitaurino, arboricidio, buenismo, edadismo, especismo, feminicidio, friki, grafitero, identitario, homoparental y monoparental, malditismo, mamitismo, micromachismo, pasotismo, metrosexual, positividad, postureo, posverdad, resiliencia, sororidad, are a reflection of trends in vogue today; verbs such as deconstruct and derivatives, deconstruct and derivatives, deregulate and derivatives; as well as derivatives with prefix eco-: ecocide, ecocide, ecocide, ecoregion, ecotourism....

The meanings or some meanings of words such as gender, marriage, adultery, adultery, nationalism, Galician, common sense, the fairer sex and the stronger sex, to name just a few that have come to public attention, have also been modified, cancelled or tuned.

Although the DLE tries to reflect the reality of the entire Spanish language , spoken in twenty-three countries by nearly 600 million people, it does not turn a deaf ear to some lexical particularisms specific to different countries or regions. Among those specific to Spain, mostly colloquial in nature, and not all of them of recent coinage, the DLE records Spanish expressions such as casoplón, famoseo, gusa ("hunger"), marcha, potar y pota ( " vomit"), pinganillo, postureo, rular ("to run, to march"), sesión golfa, yogurín or zasca.

If the DLE, like any other dictionary, aspires to be a useful work for the enquiry, it has no choice but to be open to the novelties of the language of the speakers.

However, the academic nature of the present work should also aim to offer those who consult it an orientation as to what best responds to the genius and unity of language, among the various options that linguistic usage sometimes presents. This will be the feature that differentiates the academic repertoire from other anonymous or simply commercial works.