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Types of Spanish

I found an interesting article on the use of Spanish in the United States, which includes the opinions of several journalist and linguist on how to differentiate and unify Spanish. One of the main topics discussed is the possible and necessary standardization of Spanish in the media, mainly between international Spanish and Hispanic media in the United States.

The real guides for the current Spanish usage are the style manuals, even more so than dictionaries, grammar or spelling books. Most of these style manuals belong to the media, both written and oral, and were created, written or supervised by language experts.

Neutral Spanish, Standard Spanish, Common Spanish…

This is a variety of Spanish that is valid for all Spanish-speaking countries; although it is different from the local dialect, it is common to all Spanish speakers.

Neutral Spanish is the name given in the field of translation. Many clients require the use of neutral Spanish in order to use the translation in any Spanish-speaking country.

The idea of neutral Spanish, which perhaps deserves to be called common Spanish, has a clear commercial point: reduce costs by only making a single Spanish translation, instead of making two, three or more localizations.

As linguists, the most important reasons that should motivate us to use neutral Spanish are:

• the unification of the neologisms in all countries;

• to ensure that the language is competitive and affordable to a larger number of customers;

• to expand the translation market, and

• to prevent the separation of terminology which could only cause long term damage.

An example of neutral Spanish is the existence of a law enacted by the Argentine government in 1986, which says that the Argentine audiovisual products produced for export to other Spanish-speaking countries should be in neutral Spanish.

I will continue to share other aspects of this issue in my next article.

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