Group launches Web site to monitor Spanish usage
Jan. 11, 2008
MADRID, Spain - A new Wikipedia-style online tool designed to help the world's nearly 400 million Spanish speakers consult on proper use of their language launched officially on Thursday.
Spoken in more than 20 countries, Spanish poses a daunting and fluid challenge to academics trying to track variations in grammar and vocabulary; there can be many ways to say a simple word such as car or pen.
The Web site, called Wikilengua, has been in testing since August and works like the online encyclopedia Wikipedia, where Internet users can modify the entries they consult.
But Wikilengua contributors must register in order to edit entries, and supervisors check contributions and filter out those they deem inaccurate or inappropriate.
Thursday's official unveiling was at Casa de America, a cultural center that aims to symbolize and enhance Spain's strong ties with Latin America - and their common use of the world's third-most-spoken language, after Chinese and English.
The site gets about 1,000 visits a day, and the number is rising steadily, said Javier Bezos, coordinator of the Web site.
It is the brainchild of Fundeu BBVA to monitor and offer advice on correct use of Spanish. The plan is to enlist the expertise of the Spanish Royal Academy, the official watchdog of the language, and 20-odd affiliated academies in Latin America, the United States and the Philippines.