International Conference on Spanish Language

Over a thousand academics and writers are participating in the 4th International Conference on the Spanish language which was opened yesterday by the Spanish King and Queen and the President of Columbia, Álvaro Uribe. The 4-day conference is being held in Cartagena de Indias, Columbia, and will look at the present and future of the Spanish language.

Special homage is being paid to the writer Gabriel García Márquez, Nobel prize winner for Literature in 1982 and who is 80 years old (his 80th birthday was on march 6th this year). The ex US president, Bill Clinton, the ex Spanish president, Felipe González and the Mexican writer, Carlos Fuentes, are all attending special events paying homage to the writer.

Writers, academics, scientists, teachers, linguists, historians, businessmen and women, editors, journalists, politicians and sociologists will all come together to analyse issues such as the presence of Spanish in diverse fields ranging from technology, computing, and science to culture and literature.

The relation between the Spanish language and other Hispanic languages spoken in Latin America will also be considered. This conference is taking place just 2 days after the 8th Conference of Academies for the Spanish Language took place in which the ‘New Spanish Grammar’ was approved, the first time since 1931.

Castellano or Spanish is spoken by more than 400 million people worldwide and is the 4th most spoken language in the world. The first three are Chinese, English and Hindi. Furthermore, Spanish has become the second language for international communication. Nine out of ten native Spanish speakers live in America (North America and Latin America).

Inrternational conferences on the Spanish Language began in 1992 following the Expo in Sevilla, since then they have taken place in Zacatecas (Mexico -1997), Valladolid (Spain – 2001) and Rosario (Argentina – 2004).

This year’s conference is due to close on Friday with a number of cultural events from photography exhibitions, poetry recitals to folk concerts.