Spanish Academy Gives Nod to Language Coinages Reply

Real Academia Española

Although the RAE is famous for being rather reticent to new words, some have found a spot

Julio Nakamurakare writes for the Buenos Aires–We all know that some new words — coinages — have an easy time finding their way in common folk’s everyday parlance, most in the technological field. Some institutions, like the French Academy, famously — and catastrophically — failed in their effort to impose a French version of the Anglicized Japanese word “Walkman.” Baladeur did not come as close to the concept was back then, nor would it sound appropriate for today’s “mp3 player” or whatever format techno gurus decide to adopt.

Nor is Japanese immune to these gairago or loan words (borrowings), mostly from English but also from other Western languages and for more specific purposes (science, for example) to words phonetically “borrowed” from English but with a “made in Japan” meaning. Think “depãto” for “department store” (depãtomento stoa) and you find some kind of logic, even if the shopping experience is different in Japan and other countries. Whatever the case, linguists observe, language changes according to needs (technological, societal, developmental), and so a descriptive approach to semantics and grammar is preferred over prescriptive notions.

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Linguist RAE


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