Spanish Discipline and Institutions
Unlike many languages, Spanish is a well established academic discipline that has been part of educational programs of most western countries for nearly two centuries. The enormous popularity of Spanish in the last three decades has resulted in unusually large enrolments of students learning Spanish, particularly in English-speaking countries. As a result, the textbook publishing business in the field has flourished and the need to standardise academic proficiency levels has become apparent.
Today, Spanish is arguably one of the best (if not the best) resourced foreign languages in the educational context. The two main sources of textbooks and learning materials are the United States and Spain. The academic density of the Spanish discipline is compounded by two important factors. Firstly, Spanish is an international language with a rich variety of local inflections. Thus, conscientious students who want to go beyond the international koiné do need to dive into the complexities of at least one local standard. Secondly, Spanish is the language of a uniquely rich and plural culture – so plural in fact, that many prefer to speak of a plurality of cultures.
Spanish is one of the best resourced foreign languages in the educational
Context Spanish works in any country, under any working condition Spanish is the third most demanded language in OECD countries
Real Academia Española (Royal Spanish Academy; often RAE) is the institution responsible for regulating the Spanish language, and was created in 1713. It is based in Madrid, Spain, but is affiliated with national language academies in 21 Spanish-speaking nations. In 1951, in Mexico the Association of Academies of the Spanish Language emerged to work on the defence, unity and integrity of the common language in different countries. The RAE offers a wide range of linguistic material, including publications and diccionaries like Diccionario de Autoridades, Diccionario Panhispánico de Dudas, Diccionario Histórico, Diccionario del Estudiante…to name a few.
The first European grammar was the Spanish Grammar, published the 18th August 1492, followed by the Italian, 1552; French, 1560; German,1573; and English, 1586. A decade ago, the Spanish government created the Instituto Cervantes, a network of Spanishteaching centers that operate in about thirty countries, which has created its own Proficiency diplomas. The Institute’s proficiency standards are increasingly being used as the main reference in the discipline.
The Instituto Cervantes is a worldwide non-profit organisation dedicated to the teaching of Spanish as a second language, as well as the promotion of Spanish and Hispanic American culture throughout non-Spanish-speaking countries. Its head offices are located in Madrid and Alcalá de Henares.
The Instituto Cervantes is present in over twenty different countries with 42 centres in all.
• IC organises general and specialised Spanish-language courses
• IC organises exams for the Diplomas de Español como Lengua
Extranjera (DELE) (Diploma of Spanish as a Second Language) in
conjunction with the University of Salamanca
• IC promotes methods of teaching Spanish
• IC supports teachers of Spanish
• IC organises and promotes programmes aiming to spread the use of Spanish
• IC organises libraries and documentation centres at its various locations Since 1998 the
Instituto Cervantes has published the annual El español en el mundo highlighting the state of Spanish in the world, and current trends. The Instituto has also run the Internet-based Centro Virtual Cervantes since 1997.