The Royal Spanish Academy (Spanish: Real Academia Española, generally abbreviated as RAE) is the official royal institution responsible for overseeing the Spanish language. It is based in Madrid, Spain, but is affiliated with national language academies in 22 other hispanophone (Spanish-speaking) nations through the Association of Academies of the Spanish Language. The RAE's emblem is a fiery crucible, and its motto is "Limpia, fija y da esplendor" ("Cleans, fixes, and gives splendor").
The RAE dedicates itself to language planning by applying linguistic prescription aimed at promoting linguistic unity within and between the various territories, to ensure a common standard in accordance with Article 1 of its founding charter: "... to ensure that the changes the Spanish language undergoes [...] do not break the essential unity it maintains throughout the hispanic world."
The proposed language guidelines are shown in a number of works. The priorities are the Dictionary of the Spanish Language formerly known as DRAE (from the Spanish: Diccionario de la lengua española de la Real Academia Española), which has 23 published editions since 1780, and its grammar, last edited in October 2014. The Academy has a formal procedure for admitting words to its publications.
The headquarters, opened in 1894, is located at Calle Felipe IV, 4, in the ward of Jerónimos, next to the Museo del Prado. The Center for the Studies of the Royal Spanish Academy, opened in 2007, is located at Calle Serrano 187–189.
The Royal Spanish Academy was founded in 1713, modeled after the Crusca Academy (1582), of Italy, and the French Academy (1635), of France, with the purpose "to fix the voices and vocabularies of the Castilian language with propriety, elegance, and purity". King Philip V approved its constitution on 3 October 1714, placing it under the Crown's protection.
Its aristocratic founder, Juan Manuel Fernández Pacheco, Marquis of Villena and Duke of Escalona, described its aims as "to assure that Spanish speakers will always be able to read Cervantes" – by exercising a progressive up-to-date maintenance of the formal language.
The RAE began establishing rules for the orthography of Spanish beginning in 1741 with the first edition of the Ortographía (spelled Ortografía from the second edition onwards). The proposals of the Academy became the official norm in Spain by royal decree in 1844, and they were also gradually adopted by the Spanish-speaking countries in the Americas. Several reforms were introduced in the Nuevas Normas de Prosodia y Ortografía (1959, New Norms of Prosody and Orthography), and since then the rules have undergone continued adjustment, in consultation with the other national language academies. The current rules and practical recommendations are presented in the latest edition of the Ortografía (1999, Orhtography).
In 1994, the RAE ruled that the Spanish consonants "CH" (ché) and "LL" (elle) would hence be alphabetized under "C" and under "L", respectively, and not as separate, discrete letters, as in the past. The RAE eliminated monosyllabic accented vowels where the accent did not serve in changing the word's meaning, examples include: "dio" ("gave"), "vio" ("saw"), both had an acutely accented vowel "ó"; yet the monosyllabic word "sé" ("I know", the first person, singular, present of "saber", "to know"; and the singular imperative of "ser", "to be") retains its acutely accented vowel in order to differentiate it from the reflexive pronoun "se".
Article 1 of the statutes of the Royal Spanish Academy says the following:
[...RAE][…]tiene como misión principal velar porque los cambios que experimente la lengua española en su constante adaptación a las necesidades de sus hablantes no quiebren la esencial unidad que mantiene en todo el ámbito hispánico. Debe cuidar igualmente de que esta evolución conserve el genio propio de la lengua, tal como este ha ido consolidándose con el correr de los siglos, así como de establecer y difundir los criterios de propiedad y corrección, y de contribuir a su esplendor. Para alcanzar dichos fines, estudiará e impulsará los estudios sobre la historia y sobre el presente del español, divulgará los escritos literarios, especialmente clásicos, y no literarios que juzgue importantes para el conocimiento de tales cuestiones, y procurará mantener vivo el recuerdo de quienes, en España o en América, han cultivado con gloria nuestra lengua. Como miembro de la Asociación de Academias de la Lengua Española, mantendrá especial relación con las academias correspondientes y asociadas.
Which, translated into English, reads:
[...] [RAE][…] has as its primary mission to ensure that the changes experienced by the Spanish language in its constant adaptation to the needs of its speakers don’t break the essential unity that maintains in all the Hispanic world. It must equally care that this evolution conserves the genius proper of the language, as it has been consolidating with the centuries, as well as establishing and spreading the criteria of propriety and correction, and of contributing to its splendor. To achieve these ends, it will study and promote the studies about history and about the present of Spanish, it will spread the literary writings, especially classics, and non-literary which it deems important for the knowledge of such matters, and it will attempt to keep alive the memory of those who, in Spain or in the Americas, have cultivated our language with glory. As member of the Association of Academies of the Spanish Language, it will keep a special relation with the corresponding and associated academies.
Members of the Academy are known as Académicos de número (English: Academic Numerary), chosen from among prestigious persons in the arts and sciences, including several Spanish-language authors, known as The Immortals (Spanish: Los Inmortales), similarly to their French Academy counterparts. The numeraries (Spanish: Números) are elected for life by the other academicians. Each academician holds a seat labeled with a letter from the Spanish alphabet, although upper and lower case letters are separate seats.
|A||Manuel Seco Reymundo||1980|
|O||Pere Gimferrer Torrens||1985|
|q||Gregorio Salvador Caja||1987|
|p||Francisco Rico Manrique||1987|
|d||Francisco Rodríguez Adrados||1991|
|c||Víctor García de la Concha||1992|
|l||Emilio Lledó Íñigo||1994|
|C||Luis Goytisolo Gay||1995|
|L||Mario Vargas Llosa||1996|
|u||Antonio Muñoz Molina||1996|
|V||Juan Luis Cebrián Echarri||1997|
|t||Ignacio Bosque Muñoz||1997|
|ñ||Luis María Anson Oliart||1998|
|I||Luis Mateo Díez Rodríguez||2001|
|N||Guilermo Rojo Sánchez||2001|
|k||José Antonio Pascual Rodríguez||2002|
|E||Carmen Iglesias Cano||2002|
|i||Margarita Salas Falgueras||2003|
|T||Arturo Pérez-Reverte Gutiérrez||2003|
|G||José Manuel Sánchez Ron||2003|
|j||Álvaro Pombo y García de los Ríos||2004|
|o||Antonio Fernández Alba||2006|
|X||Francisco Brines Bañó||2006|
|h||José Manuel Blecua Perdices||2006|
|a||Pedro García Barreno||2006|
|S||Salvador Gutiérrez Ordóñez||2008|
|R||Javier Marías Franco||2008|
|D||Darío Villanueva Prieto||2008|
|m||José María Merino||2009|
|g||Soledad Puértolas Villanueva||2010|
|P||Inés Fernández-Ordóñez Hernández||2011|
|Q||Pedro Álvarez de Miranda de la Gándara||2011|
|e||Juan Gil Fernández||2011|
|f||José B. Terceiro Lomba||2012|
|r||Santiago Muñoz Machado||2013|
|b||Miguel Sáenz Sagaseta de Ilúrdoz||2013|
|n||Carme Riera Guilera||2013|
|Z||José Luis Gómez García||2014|
|B||Aurora Egido Martínez||2014|
|F||Manuel Gutiérrez Aragón||2016|
|H||Félix de Azúa Comella||2016|
|U||Clara Janés Nadal||2016|
|s||María Paz Battaner Arias||2017|
|K||Federico Corriente Córdoba||2017 (elected)|
|J||Carlos García Gual||2017 (elected)|
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