Rise of Spanglish
When writing in Spanish, it is perfectly acceptable to use the word “sandwich” to describe a tasty snack held together with two pieces of bread, to employ “parquear” to describe putting your vehicle in a garage or parking lot, and to type “vermu” when referring to the aromatized wine essential to concocting a martini or Manhattan cocktail.
Although such words may get on some Spanish speakers’ nerves, they represent the continual evolution of the language, say the authors of the new Spanish stylebook by The Associated Press, the Manual de Estilo Online de la AP. “Nocaut” is correctly used to describe a knockout in the boxing ring, they say. “Cederron” can be used when talking about a CD-ROM.
“The Manual de Estilo is for language lovers,” said Marjorie Miller, Associated Press editor for Latin America and the Caribbean and the Spanish Service. She called the resource “a fascinating window into the evolution of modern, universal Spanish.”
The new manual is designed as a guide for Spanish-language journalists, writers, editors and scholars of the language spoken by an estimated 450 million people globally. Available only on the Internet, the guide includes thousands of entries just like in AP’s English stylebook, which has long been an invaluable resource for American journalists. “We hope to have the same kind of online engagement with our Spanish-speaking subscribers to help grow and refine our Manual de Estilo,” she added.
Among the thorny questions it tackles include how to deal with modern technological terms, such as whether “tuitear” can be used to talk about sending a “tweet” from a Twitter account. The resource also weighs in on whether “emoticono” can be employed for the word “emoticon” and whether “faxear” should be used to refer to sending a document on a facsimile machine. (Yes, yes and yes.)
AP editors say the Spanish stylebook aims to unify standards for that language in order to improve communication among its speakers worldwide. Spanish words can differ dramatically from country to country, and users of the AP’s Spanish stylebook will discover the different meanings of words such as “guagua,” which means “bus” in the Spanish-speaking Caribbean, but “baby” in Chile and the Andean region of Argentina.
“This manual is the result of arduous work by AP’s Spanish language team,” Manrique said. “Our editors and translators contributed to this project from Patagonia to New York and to Spain, seeking to maintain the highest standards of journalism that have characterized the AP and make the global news agency essential for its clients.”
Jorge Covarrubias, a veteran journalist of AP’s Spanish-language service and one of the authors of the manual, notes that the Royal Academy of the Spanish Language acknowledges that Spain now accounts for a little less than 10 percent of the world’s Spanish speakers.
A major advantage of having an online style manual is the ability to continually update it, Covarrubias said, keeping the guide “eternally young, fresh and useful.” Miller said the AP will take suggestions from subscribers, “but we will be the arbiters of AP style and post the vocabulary.”