Sunday, September 18, 2011

El español no tiene dueño: es de todos los que lo hablamos.


Note: Quite a few months have passed since I wrote on this blog. Changes in the way elementary school librarians are perceived in my district (and all over the States), a huge decrease in school funding, a new administration in our state, plus the fact that my librarian position, as well as many of my librarian friends’ were eliminated shifted my attention away from taking the time to write here. There is, however, plenty to share, and little by little I intend to do so, especially now that my position has been reinstated. 

El español no tiene dueño: es de todos los que lo hablamos.

Did you know that:

  • Five hundred million people speak Spanish?
  • Eleven Nobel Prizes in Literature have been given to Spanish-speaking authors, 5 Spaniards, and 6 from Latinoamerica?
  • Spanish is the third most used language on the internet?
  • It is the official language of twenty-one countries?
  • It is estimated that by 2030, 7.5% of the world population will speak Spanish?

In 2009 the Instituto Cervantes began advocating for an international celebration of the Spanish language. The Saturday closest to the summer solstice was chosen as “El día E” (E Day), a day for all of us who speak Spanish, regardless of where we live, to celebrate the language we love.

In 2011, a website was created for El día E, along with a contest to find the most popular word in Spanish. Ten words out of all the nominations were selected and showcased on all the Instituto Cervantes websites on El día E. These words were: infinito, cachivache, tiquismiquis, magia, bullicio, alféizar, libélula, agua, fraternidad y paz. The winning word was Querétaro (the name of a Mexican state).    Famous Spanish speakers mentioned their favorite word (Isabel Allende, Antonio Skarmeta, Mario Vargas Llosa, Ana María Matute, Rosario Flores, Chayanne , Gael García Bernal, Juan Luis Guerra (among others). A Facebook page (search for ‘El día E: la "Fiesta de todos los que hablamos español"’) gathered enthusiasm and momentum for El día E, and also hosted photos of El Día E celebrations all over the world. One event, “The Lost Accents in Mexico”, asked participants to create cards with accents (or ‘tildes’), find signs that are missing accents, ask permission to add the accent, take before and after photographs, and share them on the Facebook page.

As I write I wonder… 

Why not use this in the classroom?
  • Plan to celebrate El día E in 2012.
  • Have students choose their favorite word in Spanish and advocate for it to become a winner or make a video about the search for favorite words.
  • Combine old words and create new ones. Find old, archaic words, dust them and bring them back to life! This is exactly what students in Medellín, Colombia did. 1n 2007: they decided to “dust” old words and get them in use (See A crear, desempolvar y sentir las palabras). They also created new words out of a combination of old ones and also voted on their favorite word. The most favorite word among the students that year: chocolate.

How would you celebrate El día E ? Share your ideas.

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