“It has not been a stormy plenary session, you see that I come without any dressing”

Maximum expectation. For a tilde Alone, or only, by a tilde. Two dozen journalists stationed at the RAE headquarters to find out the results of a plenary session of the Language Academy that one of its members, the writer Arturo Pérez-Reverte, had announced would be “stormy”, after having approved the week passed a clarification to the use of the tilde in ‘solo’. After half past seven in the afternoon, the director of the RAE, Santiago Muñoz Machado, appears. And he clarifies that “the announcement of a hard and stormy plenary session fortunately has not given more of itself, you see that I come without any dressing.” And he explains what the changes have really consisted of, which for some are Solomonic and in which others see an open bar of accents.

“Those who have wanted to intervene have spoken with all the harshness that seemed pertinent to them to explain their reasons, but in very courteous terms. We have had a great academic plenary session,” he summarized. And to try to clear up doubts about whether or not the word ‘only’ has an accent when it means ‘only’, he recalled that in the Orthography from 2010 it was already made explicit that it could only be checked when there was ambiguity.

“In contexts where there is a risk of ambiguity when writing ‘only’ the tilde can be used if the writer appreciates the ambiguity”

The problem, when it comes to a school exam or an opposition, in which points can be lost due to a spelling error, Muñoz Machado recalled, was who decided that this ambiguity existed. “If the one who determines it is the examiner, the one who writes is very insecure,” he pointed out. And he explained that what the RAE approved in the previous session by consensus, although not unanimously, because there was an academic in disagreement, was a clarification, a paragraph to the current wording of the rule, which states that “in the contexts in which there is a risk of ambiguity, the tilde can be used if the writer appreciates the ambiguity”.

The new wording for the Pan-Hispanic Dictionary of Doubts It will read like this: “It is mandatory to write the adverb without tilde only in contexts where its use does not entail a risk of ambiguity. It is optional to mark the adverb only in contexts where, in the opinion of the writer, its use entails a risk of ambiguity”. Muñoz Machado has explained the new Solomonic modification as follows: “Until now, the rule allowed a teacher to mark a student who was not necessary when it was not necessary, something that could even happen in some entrance exams for positions as police or postal officials. We have tried to avoid this significance in the future, thinking above all of the students, that they have security when it comes to putting a check mark or not putting a check mark. not the one who controls”. And he has admitted that this “can lead to writers who appreciate the existence of ambiguity even when there is none.”

Muñoz Machado has recognized that on the subject of the tilde there are conflicting positions between writers and grammarians of the RAE

“With this, the Academy clarifies and resolves an internal criticism that was also an external controversy”, he assured, recalling the social debate and also that in the RAE there are conflicting positions between writers and grammarians: “Those responsible for spelling are unanimously in favor of the elimination of the tildes in the cases that we are considering and the writers have always remembered that the emphasis that the tilde facilitates them is very useful, it allows them to put in the writing of their novels or poems”.

But he has ensured that after the paragraph added to the use of the tilde in ‘solo’ “there has not been anyone who feels defeated or victorious, despite some public statements, something else appears, we do not have the feeling that there are winners and losers. Some Academics see a very important step in line with what they have been demanding over time and therefore have taken it as a great personal success, as a victory for their positions, and other academics who are more in favor of such rules as it is established have manifested in a more emphatic way that the rule has not had variations”.

“It is not a modification of the rules, it is a modification of the wording of the rules,” says Muñoz Machado

And he has insisted that “it is not a modification of the rules, it is a modification of the wording of the rules”, although he has recognized that “there are times when the interpretations of the regulations can lead to the creation of a new regulation”. “But the will of the Academy has not been to modify the norm but rather the wording of the norms and yesterday I summoned all the Language Academies that exist in the world and I explained to them the meaning of this new wording and they agreed in our appreciation”

In this sense, he believes that there has been a communication problem when transmitting what the new wording of the rules meant – in the RAE tweets it was even said that “if the speaker perceives that there is a risk of ambiguity and writes that tilde, he will have to justify it”- but he explained that the agreement they reached is still in force: in today’s plenary session the minutes of the last session were voted unanimously and “the position of the Academy is ratified”.

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