Solo and the Demonstrative Pronouns in Spanish: Diacritical Accent and the Diachronic Study of its Changes

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Languages, Literatures and Cultures


Patxi Lascurain-Ibarlucea

Mentor Department

Languages, Literatures and Cultures


During a significant part of the history of the Spanish language, the diacritical accent has had the role of establishing a distinction between two homonym words that carry different meanings and functions. The goal of this written accent was to avoid semantic misunderstandings of the homonym words of which some examples can already be found in 1492. This type of accent has had several changes and developments until the year 2010 when "Real Academia Española" (RAE) decided to give an end to this accent mark in words like solo and the demonstrative pronouns. The present study is based on a diachronic analysis of the development and different functions that the diacritical accent has had during its history, from 1492 to 2010. This paper analyzes the linguistic and historical reasons for which the members of RAE believed that its use was no longer necessary. The hypothesis of this paper is that the decision could have been motivated by Spanish speakers' ignorance about the function of the diacritical accent or by the unnecessary existence of this accent mark proved with historical and grammatical facts. Key words: Spanish, (written) accent, diacritic, solo, demonstrative, pronoun, diachronic, homonym, unaccented, ambiguity, grammar, spelling.


Basterretxea Santiso-graduate

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