The Real Academia Espa ola is a body that controls and governs Spanish. They come out with a publication every year and that s how everyone knows how to pronounce new words that come into the language.

When I first found out about the Real Academia Espa ola, (Royal Spanish Academy) I immediately began to wonder if there was anything like this in English. Of course there s not. The closest thing to it are dictionaries, but there are many different dictionaries from different companies.

When I taught English as a Second Language (if you have a friend who needs to learn English, direct them to our review on English language learning products), I actually had students who referred to English as a  dialect , rather than a language. A dialecto in Spanish is a language that isn t really a language, but more of a way that people speak that doesn t really have rules and doesn t have someone governing it - like an Indian language   or like English.

It isn t just the Spanish language that has the concept of a governing language body, Italian and French also have it. These groups meet every year and there is a representative from every country where that language is spoken. As you can imagine, the Real Academia Espa ola meeting is very crowded. After the meeting, grammar books and dictionaries are published that contain the new decisions that were made at the meeting.

An example of what they would talk about would be new words that have come into use in Spanish like using  friend  as a verb ("I'm going to friend you on facebook"). Of course, in English it s no problem, but as you know in Spanish, each verb ends either in ar, er, or ir. Therefore they must decide which of the endings the new word will be assigned. Not only that, the word for friend can be amigo, but it can also be conocido. It could be that people in Spain started using amigo, but people in Chile have been saying conocido. Therefore, there will be many different opinions about this one.

And, we all know about the genders with Spanish nouns. When a new word like iPod or iPhone comes around, the Real Academia Espa ola may not change the word, but they need to determine if it s masculine or feminine.

For some reason, the English-speaking world doesn t have the same outlook on language. Our assumption is that the differences will get worked out by the speakers and that the dictionaries will reflect the usage.

Who knows which system is better? We don t an English Royal Academy, but our language seems to be just fine. But then again, the Real Academia Espanola has been around since the early 1700s and the Spanish-speaking world seems just fine with it.

You see. You really do need to learn Spanish.

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