From my window
by Mercedes Moresco
Of the homeland and the language
Many times I have had the opportunity to listen to conversations about the importance of good spelling. I consider myself a standard-bearer on the subject and, badly enough to my family and friends, I am always correcting mistakes when I see them, not out of pedantry but purely and simply, out of love for the country.
When one lives far from home, it often happens that previously perhaps lethargic patriotic feelings are kindled, and then we find ourselves fervently singing the national anthem or looking nostalgically at the flag of our country.
For me, personally, it happens to me that, beyond idealizations and realities of an Argentina that I miss, I have found in the Spanish language a place of belonging. Thus, I could say without a doubt that my homeland is the Spanish language and that is why I have advocated to preserve it and defend it from the misuses and abuses that are committed against it daily.
In previous editions of EnUSA I wrote about the new spelling rules that the Royal Spanish Academy had published some years ago.
Many negative comments raised about this new edition among speakers who see it as a threat to freedom of expression in their mother tongue. And I think they are wrong to feel so upset.
"Spelling is also people," writes Fernando Pessoa, a Portuguese poet for whom his language is also his homeland. "The word is completely seen and heard," adds the famous writer for whom words can be people.
But it happens that people are often lazy. Proper writing requires a certain effort that not everyone is willing to undertake.
Every time I see a badly written advertisement, or a spelling error on a sign in any store, I get angry thinking how it is possible that this notice has passed through so many hands without anyone noticing the error. Is it that we are not interested in taking care of our language? Is it that we do not care to write a dream than a dream? Is it the same to rest by a stream in the afternoon than to suffer a stream in the street in broad daylight? There are also the initial question marks, which seem to hide from every screen. Not to mention accents, the absence of which is almost a matter of discrimination. The excuses vary, but in general all agree in blaming the English language under whose shadow the elements of current technology are manufactured.
And this is not true either. All modern devices have language options that, when placed correctly, allow the insertion of accents, eñes and other delicacies of the Spanish language.
For all this, let's respect ourselves by first respecting our language. The word that names us and pronounces us also distinguishes us. Let us make this distinction our essential difference.