Tuesday, 29 July 2008

ENG: Spanish in the News

Under no circumstances should my interest in Catalan be interpreted as a proof that I do not like Spanish. I love to read in this language and usually feel quite comfortable speaking it. The only reason why I have not dedicated more time to it on this blog is that so many other people already do. Having said that, my own memory will benefit if I start to occasionally comment on news related to Spanish, just like I already do with Catalan, so here are a few lines, all related to a new prize:

The Junta de Castilla-La Mancha and the Fundación Santillana are the initiators of the new "International Prize Don Quijote de La Mancha", which they want to become a reference for those “on one or the other side of the ocean” who work to defend and spread the use of the Spanish language. The prizes of € 25.000 per category will be handed over to the winners at a ceremony to take place in Toledo, in October this year.

To expose my lack of literary refinement, I admit not to yet have read any books by Mexican author Carlos Fuentes. He will receive the prize for his achievements not only as as a writer but also as a thinker who promotes Spanish a language of knowledge.

Politically more interesting is the second winner, the president of Brazil Lula da Silva, who will be awarded the prize for “best institutional effort” thanks to his Ley del Español. This law requires for all secondary schools to offer classes in Spanish, although it is then up to the students themselves to decide whether they want to take them. In spite of pressure to also offer English and French, the Brazilian government focuses solely on Spanish as the first foreign language, with the explicit intention to consolidate the Mercosur co-operation with Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay.

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Related media: El País 1, 2.

Technorati tags: Spanish, Wirdheim,

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