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  HOME | Arts & Entertainment

Newest Spanish Academy Member: Giving Shape to a Language Is Not to Censor It

ASUNCION – Paraguayan writer Bernardo Neri Farina, the newest member of the Paraguayan Academy of the Spanish Language, defended on Tuesday the need to study the different additions to the language to prevent Spanish-speakers the world over from living in a “new Tower of Babel.”

“Giving shape to a language is not to censor it,” Farina told EFE. “If the shape is not maintained, there is chaos.”

One of the South American country’s most renowned journalists, Farina said that this molding of the language depends upon the 21 academies of Spanish around the world, which “have their own dictionaries, because some terms have different meanings depending on the region.”

He said he believes that adding localisms and their different meanings to the dictionary allows Spanish-speakers to know the nuances of their language and prevents it from “falling into ... absolute anarchy.”

“Every country has its idioms, its particularities and its peculiarities,” he said.

In the case of the Paraguayan variant of the language, Farina – who will give a speech today as a new member of the Academy – said that Paraguayan Spanish “is greatly influenced by (the local Indian language of) Guarani,” an influence mainly reflected in poetry.

It seems that European Spanish prevails in the Spanish Academy dictionary and – despite excluding a few potentially offensive terms – Farina said that Spain has been “very open about absorbing the Latin American parlance quite harmoniously.”

Farina is the president of the Paraguayan Writers Association and author of novels such as “El Siglo Perdido” (The Lost Century) and “Fuego Palido” (Pale Fire).

 

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