Real Academia Española

For the fine arts academy, see Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando.
Royal Spanish Academy
Real Academia Española
Arms of the Royal Spanish Academy
Abbreviation RAE
Motto Limpia, fija y da esplendor ("[It] cleans, [it] fixes, and [it] gives splendor")
Formation 1713
Headquarters Madrid, Spain
Region served
Official language
Darío Villanueva
Main organ
Junta de Gobierno
Affiliations Association of Spanish Language Academies
Royal Spanish Academy
Native name
Spanish: Real Academia Española
Location Madrid, Spain
Coordinates 40°24′54″N 3°41′28″W / 40.41492°N 3.691173°W / 40.41492; -3.691173Coordinates: 40°24′54″N 3°41′28″W / 40.41492°N 3.691173°W / 40.41492; -3.691173
Official name: Real Academia Española
Type Non-movable
Criteria Monument
Designated 1998
Reference no. RI-51-0010191
Location of Royal Spanish Academy in Spain

The Real Academia Española (English: Royal Spanish Academy), generally abbreviated as RAE, is the official royal institution responsible for overseeing the Spanish language. It is based in Madrid, Spain, but is affiliated with national language academies in twenty-one other hispanophone (Spanish-speaking) nations through the Association of Spanish Language Academies. The RAE's emblem is a fiery crucible, and its motto is "Limpia, fija y da esplendor" ("[It] cleans, [it] fixes, and [it] casts splendour").

The RAE dedicates itself to language planning by applying linguistic prescription aimed at promoting linguistic unity within and between the various territories, to ensure a common standard in accordance with Article 1 of its founding charter: "... to ensure the changes that the Spanish language undergoes [...] do not break the essential unity it enjoys throughout the Spanish-speaking world."[1]

The proposed language guidelines are shown in a number of works. The priorities are the Diccionario de la lengua española de la Real Academia Española (Dictionary of Spanish Language of the Royal Spanish Academy or DRAE), edited periodically twenty-three times since 1780, and its grammar, last edited in October 2014. The Academy has a formal procedure for admitting words to its publications.

The headquarters, opened in 1894, is located at Calle Felipe IV, 4, in the ward of Jerónimos, next to the Museo del Prado. The Center for the Studies of the Royal Spanish Academy, opened in 2007, is located at Calle Serrano 187–189.


Title page of Fundación y estatútos de la Real Académia Españóla (Foundation and statutes of the Royal Spanish Academy) (1715)

The Real Academia Española was founded in 1713, modelled after the Italian Accademia della Crusca (1582) and the French Académie française (1635), with the purpose "to fix the voices and vocabularies of the Castilian language with propriety, elegance, and purity". King Philip V approved its constitution on 3 October 1714, placing it under the Crown's protection.

Its aristocratic founder, Juan Manuel Fernández Pacheco, Marquis of Villena and Duke of Escalona, described its aims as "to assure that Spanish speakers will always be able to read Cervantes" – by exercising a progressive up-to-date maintenance of the formal language.

The RAE began establishing rules for the orthography of Spanish beginning in 1741 with the first edition of the Ortographía (spelled Ortografía from the second edition onwards). The proposals of the Academy became the official norm in Spain by royal decree in 1844, and they were also gradually adopted by the Spanish-speaking countries of America. Several reforms were introduced in the Nuevas Normas de Prosodia y Ortografía (1959), and since then the rules have undergone continued adjustment, in consultation with the other national language academies. The current rules and practical recommendations are presented in the latest edition of the Ortografía (1999).[2]

In 1994, the RAE ruled that the Spanish consonants "CH" (ché) and "LL" (elle) would hence be alphabetized under "C" and under "L", respectively, and not as separate, discrete letters, as in the past. The RAE eliminated monosyllabic accented vowels where the accent did not serve in changing the word's meaning, examples include: "dio" ("gave"), "vio" ("saw"), both had an acutely accented vowel "ó"; yet the monosyllabic word "" ("I know", the first person, singular, present of "saber", "to know"; and the singular imperative of "ser", "to be") retains its acutely accented vowel in order to differentiate it from the reflexive pronoun "se".


Countries with a Spanish language academy.

Members of the Academy are known as Académicos de número (English: Academic Numerary), chosen from among prestigious persons in the arts and sciences, including several Spanish-language authors, known as Los Inmortales (English: the Immortals), similarly to their Académie Française counterparts. The Números are elected for life by the other academicians. Each academician holds a seat labeled with a letter from the Spanish alphabet; upper- and lower-case letters are separate seats.

Current members

Notable past academicians

This list is incomplete; you can help by expanding it.


Joint publications of the RAE and the Association of Spanish Language Academies

See also


  1. "Real Decreto 1109/1993, de 9 de julio, por el que se aprueba los Estatutos de la Real Academia Española". (Artículo 1: ... "que los cambios que experimente la Lengua Española en su constante adaptación a las necesidades de sus hablantes no quiebren la esencial unidad que mantiene en todo el ámbito hispánico.") Noticias Juridicas. Retrieved 27 April 2012.
  2. Real Academia Española (1999). Ortografía de la Lengua Española (PDF) (in Spanish). pp. v–viii. ISBN 84-239-9250-0. Archived from the original (PDF) on January 26, 2009. Retrieved 2009-02-07.
  3. "El diccionario de americanismos incluye setenta mil entradas", Diario ABC (27 de febrero de 2010), 2010
  4. "La Real Academia Española y la Asociación de Academias de la Lengua Española presentan la Nueva gramática de la lengua española.", Real Academia Española, 2010, archived from the original on March 25, 2010
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