CILE: Congreso Internacional de la Lengua Española

The CILE (International Congress of Spanish Language) is a salient event about Spanish language and culture that gathers linguists, journalists, writers, translators from all around the world and all kinds of people interested in various aspects of Spanish. At this conference, topics related to the current state of affairs of Spanish language are discussed. The International Congress takes place every 3 years; and our city, Córdoba, has been chosen as the host for its eighth edition. From the 27th to the 30th of March, Córdoba will welcome many well-known figures, including the King and the Queen of Spain, who will be opening the congress together with the Argentine president Mauricio Macri. At this opening event, other famous people will be present, such as the Peruvian writer Mario Vargas Llosa, and the Argentina-born poet and Portuguese translator Santiago Kovadloff.

The people and organizations that make this possible are the leading entity in Spanish vocabulary and grammar rules Real Academia Española (RAE), the Argentine Government, its Ministry of Education, the National University of Córdoba, and several other private and public institutions.

With the slogan “América y el futuro del español. Cultura y educación, tecnología y emprendimiento” (America and the Future of Spanish. Culture and Education, Technology and Entrepreneurship), the main focus will be on 5 topics: Spanish as a universal language, interculturalism, challenges of teaching Spanish in the XXI century, digital revolution, competitiveness of Spanish as a language for innovation and entrepreneurship. These 5 pillars will branch out into subtopics regarding the current position of Spanish, problems, and challenges.

Apart from the international conference, the “Festival de la Palabra” (The Word Festival) will also take place. This festival is held before and during the congress as preparation for CILE and complement of it. Through the “Festival de la Palabra”, the rich and varied art of Córdoba will be appreciated. Books will be presented, and there will be art exhibitions and entertainment, such as plays, concerts, and workshops for both adults and children. The underlying idea of it is to avoid reducing this event to just linguists and grammarians. Thus, by offering a great variety of activities from interactive games to music concerts without any cost, everybody can become involved.

CILE is a congress of paramount importance for the Spanish language as its key aim is to raise awareness of the responsibility the Government, various institutions and people have in fostering the language, bearing in mind that each language is part of cultural heritage. At Baquero Translations, we are glad to be in the city where there will be a rich exchange of ideas and hope that everybody gains a new perspective on different aspects of Spanish.

 

By: Andrea Chetti

Endangered Argentine Treasure

One of the most precious and threatened species from Argentina are native languages. Such is their importance, that UNESCO declared Argentina’s linguistic diversity as a part of the national heritage in 2010. However, some of them, not to say most, are going through a process of oblivion.

Before colonization, there were about 20 native groups along the territory of Argentina. Each of them had their own tongue and variants. For example, some of the Mapuche, Tehuelche and Qom communities used to live in the Buenos Aires region; most Guaraníes used to live in the province of Corrientes, in the north-east of Argentina; and Tehuelches were also in Patagonia, the southern region.

Nowadays, approximately 15 native languages are still alive but with different levels of vitality (vulnerable, endangered, extinct). This status can be seen in UNESCO’s Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger. Here are some examples of various Argentine native languages and their condition:

According to this map, the tongue wichi, native to Chaco, in the north of Argentina, is vulnerable as many people from young age speak it, but wichi is not used in certain contexts.

Quechua from Santiago del Estero, in the north of the country, is definitely endangered because it is not taught as a mother tongue. Similarly, in Corrientes, Mbya Guarani is severely endangered as only the elderly speak it, their children may understand it, but their grandsons and granddaughters do not learn it. This means an increased use of Spanish at the expense of native tongues.

Finally, one example of an extinct language is gününa-këna in Patagonia. The disappearance of this tongue means a loss of an important piece from Argentine cultural treasure.

Languages are a vital part of identities as customs and traditions are passed through native tongues. Therefore, to prevent languages from becoming vulnerable, endangered —and consequently— extinct, greater awareness of languages’ importance is needed, both at national and international level.

One international entity, the United Nations, is already thinking about this and has decided to dedicate next year to indigenous languages. UN aims to promote different actions for the preservation and growth of indigenous languages around the world.

Here at Baquero Translations, we embrace language diversity and join this movement of raising awareness, starting with this article. It is essential that we all get to know other tongues that existed before Spanish colonization, as each language is part of our history and it occupies —or used to occupy— a place in the diverse Argentine melting pot.

 

By: Andrea Chetti