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Institute of Iberian and Ibero-American Studies


El acento ortográfico es uno de los aspectos del español escrito más difíciles de dominar para los hablantes nativos y los hablantes del español como lengua de herencia. Si bien algunos acentos ortográficos sirven para distinguir persona y tiempo verbal, y para diferenciar homógrafos, el acento escrito tiene una carga funcional relativamente baja. Sin embargo, la colocación incorrecta del acento estigmatiza al escritor, quien puede ser juzgado como menos inteligente que la persona cuya escritura muestre un dominio perfecto de aspectos mecánicos. Tales escritores reciben calificaciones más bajas en asignaturas universitarias, y los textos que producen resultan menos competitivos en muchas esferas no-académicas. El lenguaje periodístico –tal como el que se usa en los periódicos principales y en el noticiero televisivo– tradicionalmente ha servido como modelo para el uso normativo, con la expectativa consiguiente de que esté libre de errores. En este artículo se informa sobre un análisis del uso del acento ortográfico en nueve periódicos, publicados en España, América Latina y los Estados Unidos. Los resultados reflejan una desviación progresiva de la norma en esas tres regiones.

The orthographic accent is one of the most troublesome features of written Spanish for native and heritage speakers to master. Although some written accents do serve to distinguish verb person and tense, and to differentiate homographs, their functional weight is relatively low. Nevertheless, incorrect accent placement stigmatizes the writer, who may be perceived as less intelligent than one whose work displays complete control over mechanics. Such writers receive lower grades in college courses, and the texts they produce are less competitive in many nonacademic arenas. Journalistic language – such as that printed in major newspapers and spoken on the nightly news – has traditionally served as a standard for normative usage, with the attendant expectation that it be error-free. This paper reports on an analysis of written accent use in nine newspapers, published variously in Spain, Latin America, and the United States. The results show a progression of deviations from standard usage in those three regions.


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