Spanish language in science and technology
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Spanish language Spanish ( or , ) is a Romance language The Romance languages, less commonly Latin or Neo-Latin languages, are the modern languages that evolved from Vulgar Latin Vulgar Latin, also known as Popular or Colloquial Latin is a range of inform ...

Spanish language
is used in diverse areas of
science Science () is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge Knowledge is a familiarity or awareness, of someone or something, such as facts A fact is something that is truth, true. The usual test for a statement of ...

science
and
technology Technology ("science of craft", from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. I ...

technology
. However, despite its large number of speakers, the Spanish language does not feature prominently in
scientific writing Scientific writing is writing Writing is a medium of human communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was ...

scientific writing
, with the exception of the
humanities Humanities are academic disciplines An academic discipline or academic field is a subdivision of knowledge Knowledge is a familiarity or awareness, of someone or something, such as facts A fact is an occurrence in the real world. ...

humanities
. One estimate puts the percentage of Spanish language publications in natural sciences and technology as 0.5% of the world total, a low number in view of the fact that Spanish is often considered to rank second or third among languages in various metrics and estimates. In
humanities Humanities are academic disciplines An academic discipline or academic field is a subdivision of knowledge Knowledge is a familiarity or awareness, of someone or something, such as facts A fact is an occurrence in the real world. ...

humanities
a similar estimate yields 2.81%. Summarizing the status of the Spanish language in the sciences, researcher Álvaro Cabezas writes: "No serious scientist publishes his best works in a language other than English". The creation of new terminology in Spanish is due more to the translation of concepts from other languages than to the crafting of original ideas.


Bibliometric studies

Among Spanish-language articles indexed in Scopus from 1996 to 2011, 10.8% qualify as "
Life Sciences This list of life sciences comprises the branches of science The branches of science, also referred to as sciences, "scientific fields", or "scientific disciplines," are commonly divided into three major groups: *Formal sciences: the stu ...
", 13.2% as "
Physical Sciences Physical science is a branch of natural science Natural science is a branch A branch ( or , ) or tree branch (sometimes referred to in botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life and a b ...
", 44.4% as "
Health Sciences The following outline Outline or outlining may refer to: * Outline (list), a document summary, in hierarchical list format * Code folding, a method of hiding or collapsing code or text to see content in outline form * Outline drawing, a sk ...
", 29.6% as "
Social Sciences Social science is the branch The branches and leaves of a tree. A branch ( or , ) or tree branch (sometimes referred to in botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life and a branch of biol ...

Social Sciences
,
Arts The arts refers to the theory, human application and physical expression of creativity Creativity is a phenomenon whereby something somehow new and somehow valuable is formed. The created item may be intangible (such as an idea, a scienti ...
&
Humanities Humanities are academic disciplines An academic discipline or academic field is a subdivision of knowledge Knowledge is a familiarity or awareness, of someone or something, such as facts A fact is an occurrence in the real world. ...

Humanities
" and 2.0% as "Multi-disciplinary & Undefined". Thus a higher percentage of Spanish language content is published in "Health Sciences" and "Social Sciences, Arts & Humanities" than is the case for English,
Chinese Chinese can refer to: * Something related to China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in . It is the world's , with a of more than 1.4 billion. China spans five geographical and 14 different count ...
or Russian language, Russian. Spanish shares this trait with Portuguese language, Portuguese, Italian language, Italian, Dutch language, Dutch and French language, French. A bibliometry, bibliometric study of publications on the subject of "Data transmission, digital communication" indexed in Scopus and Web of Science found that in both databases, Spanish-language articles comprise around 6.5% of the content. Notably, in these databases various authors with articles published in Spanish were based in non-Spanish speaking countries. A 2014 Google Scholar search on the words "biodiversity" and "conservation" yielded Spanish as the language with the second most entries — far behind English and just ahead of Portuguese.


Causes for the limited use of Spanish

The Spanish language is one of many major languages with limited use in science and technology. The main cause of this is the proliferation of English in scientific writing, which has been ongoing since English displaced French language, French and German language, German as the languages of science in the first half of the 20th century. Another cause of the scant publication of articles in Spanish in scientific journals is the fact that scientists from Spain tend to form (at least in the 21st century) more partnerships with researchers from elsewhere in Europe or the United States than from other Spanish-speaking countries. As is the case with other languages, including the historically important German, writing in Spanish limits access to influential foreign journals. Spanish language journals and articles are systematically underrepresented in the Web of Science, ISI database, are disadvantaged by unfavourable assessments of impact factor, a widely used metric for evaluating scientific journals. The Science and technology in Spain, scientific policy of Spain has, since the 1980s, focused on promoting the international diffusion of research from Spain while not considering which language is used.


Deficient Language Modernization

The Spanish language has not kept pace with the development of language in various fields of knowledge. Writing in 2007, Daniel Prado noted that Google searches on Spanish terms do often not yield quality results, hampering the work of Translation#Translators, translators and Editing, editors. Scholar Enrique Alarcón explains the case of engineering, where he posits three causes for the poor quality Spanish used in the subject - words exist but are unknown, confusion between similar but not identical concepts, and lack of precision when using terminology. The poor state of the Spanish language used in engineering may stem from the mishmash of engineering traditions and impossibility for individuals to have a classical education in multiple branches of engineering. Alternatively, the poor state of the language in engineering may derive from the lack of a previous tradition in certain subjects. By 2007, the Icelandic language, Icelandic, Dutch, Danish language, Danish and Swedish language, Swedish languages had ten to twenty times more financial resources invested in language care and improvement than Spanish, despite the small size of the communities and the economies of their respective countries.


Proposed reasons to promote Spanish

Scholar Rainer Enrique Hamel points at three arguments to promote the use of Spanish in science: #Language diversity in science is good for reasons akin to why biological diversity, ecological diversity is good. #Excessive use of English reinforces undesirable asymmetric relations in science. #Scholars from Anglo-Saxon countries are adopting bad practices like not reading research in languages other than English, reinforcing an unjustified privileged situation. "Practitioners and policy makers" may not benefit from the adding up of new scientific information if it is not in a language they understand. An example of this are protected area directors in Spain who self-report to have language barrier difficulties with publications relevant to carry out their work.


See also

*Academic imperialism *:Spanish-language journals, Spanish-language journals


Notes


References

{{reflist, 2 Sociology of language Sociology of science Spanish language, Science and technology