Are Accent Marks a Thing From the Past?

PHOTO: iPod accent marks

Mdombroski

If you've ever tried to learn Spanish I'm sure you've encountered the dreaded "acentos." Don't worry; some native Spanish speakers hate them too.

The thing with accent marks is that they can change the meaning of a word completely; hence the effort of grammar teachers for everyone to get them right. As an example: "éste" means "this one," "este" means "east" and "esté" is a conjugation from of the verb "estar" ("to be").

So yeah, it gets complicated.

But it seems the days of the accents are numbered.

Salvador Gutiérrez (notice that accent mark on the e), member of the Real Acadaemia Española (RAE), the official institution responsible for regulating the Spanish language, said yesterday that the academy still holds on to its recommendation of not adding accent marks to words like "solo" and "este" anymore, guideline which was introduced in 2010.

"Some authors follow it, others don't" said Gutiérrez in Spanish to El Mundo. "In spelling, one must not adapt to over-conclusive positions, but try to redirect the uses," he added.

Since it is only a recommendation by the RAE neither those who use accents or don't use them are wrong. But we wonder, how long will accents marks live when even the official language police recommends not using them? As the Spanish language evolves with every new generation in a globalized marketplace, and with the ubiquity of computers and mobile devices to communicate, accents are harder to come by (alt+130, anyone?).

The RAE is currently preparing a new Spanish dictionary for 2014 in which words like 'tuitero' and 'tuitear' – a Spanglish version of 'to tweet' – are included.

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