Globalising standard Spanish--the promotion of panhispanism in the Spanish press

Darren Paffey

University of Southampton, United Kingdom


In the context of debates on global languages, this paper takes a ‘top-down’ perspective in exploring the emergence of current panhispanic language policies, led by the Royal Academy of the Spanish Language (RAE) and involving other Spanish government agencies. I argue that these policies are rooted in—and fuel—widespread language ideological debates about standardisation and language unity which are frequently played out in the Spanish (and Latin American) press.

In this paper, I use CDA to firstly analyse a selection of news media articles in which the RAE’s panhispanic language policy is presented and discussed. I also examine the frequent press coverage of collaborative projects between the RAE and other cultural, commercial and governmental agencies, situating this media discourse in the wider processes of standardisation. A third and particularly interesting focus is the series of International Spanish Language Conferences and their important role in policy development and promotion.

This paper poses questions about how institutional language ideologies drive Spanish language spread in the global context of a linguistic ‘market’. It also aims to show how the media is used as a discursive site in which the RAE reinforces various aspects of a ‘global standard Spanish’ language ideology. I argue that this ideology of panhispanism has become, in part, a response to what the RAE perceives to be the ‘threats’ of globalisation to the continuing spread of Spanish.

As well as exploring the above themes, I hope to stimulate necessary discussion about Academies – as well as other agents of institutional language ideologies - and their contribution to and direction of public debates on standard language varieties.


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Session: Paper session
Globalization 1
Thursday, April 3, 2008, 10:30-12:00
room: 17