The Year of the Spanish Language
Earlier this year, Spain’s Minister of Culture, Íñigo Méndez de Vigo, declared "The year 2019 will be declared the Year of the Spanish Language” as part of the Marca España initiative.
Marca España has stated that the Spanish language is “a global agent that produces wealth, identity, culture, and brand which still has great opportunities for expansion and development in the digital era. It is expected that in 30 years there will be over 700 million Spanish speakers.”
There will even be tax incentives (up to 90%) for activities which promote the initiative to help try to drive participation among the private sector. Among these initiatives will be a study grant to generate more university student exchanges, appointing celebrities as “Spanish language ambassadors,” and the designing of a digital platform in Spanish & Portuguese to offer free content in the fields of literature, film, music, art, and science.
This plan has not been accepted across the country, however, as Spain’s all-encompassing attitude with the proposal has caused some hesitation in Latin American countries. De Vigo was specifically warned that the plan would not be welcomed outside Spain by the director of the Real Academia Española, Darío Villanueva, and of the Cervantes Institute, Juan Manuel Bonet, but has decided to go ahead with it anyway.
Even in Spain, political groups, apart from the governing Popular Party, have also criticized the plan specifically Basque and Catalan citizens as they see it as an attack on their own languages. Francisco Javier Pérez, the Venezuelan secretary general of ASALE stated that the desire by Spain to reign control over the common language was “at the very least worrisome.”
Carmen Millán, director of the Caro y Cuervo Institute in Colombia has a bit of a more optimistic look by stating that “...this is not about rivalries, it is about a sense of belonging to a common language.”
While it remains to be seen whether the effort will succeed in a similar fashion as the cultural promotion efforts of the French, it is without a doubt starting a conversation within the Spanish-speaking community about the need to preserve and promote their beloved language.
We hope you've enjoyed learning about how Spain is working to make 2019 The Year of the Spanish Language! Do you think the Marca España initiative will be positive for the promotion of the Spanish language? Comment below!