AGENCIA EFE, Urgent Spanish Manual, 5th edition, Catedra, Madrid 1989
Koldo Biguri


This manual, one of the oldest and best known within the Spanish speaking community, tries to take the necessary measures to salve the urgent problems of today's journalistic style. Indeed the situation is such we c an not wait for the "Real Academia de la Lengua" to publish its new Dictionary. The hook points out linguistic errors, throws light upon doubts, and gives tries to give uniffed criteria to solve the problem of instability created by a flood of new terms. A group of philologists of great standing have worked on this edition, as well as an advisory commission.

It should he said from the start that all this goes much further than journalism. Nowadays, the media has greaten influence upon the language than the education system itself. 

The book is split up into seven parts:

  • Writing: Orthography, morphology, lexic and grammar.
  • Transcription of foreign alphabets.
  • Notes on place names.
  • Regional names which may cause confusion.
  • Initials and at abbreviations.
  • Lexic. Tis is the longest chapter with more than 1,700 entries. Most of them are suggestions on the substitution of English neologisms, which is very signifiant.

Our aim is not just to comment on this hook but also make it known to Basque translators and writers in general. Because being, as we are, bilingual and used to using Spanish, many of the mistakes mentioned here are ours too, and not only in Spanish, but even worse, when we translate and write in Basque.

Indeed, many of the texts which come to us to be translated are full of errors, therefore this book can be of great use to the translator in avoiding that these errors be passed on into Basque.

Special emphasis should he made on a problem which cannot be classified along with the aforementioned ones. We refer to the pitiful, affected style which is becoming more and more in vogue as well as more and more incomprehensible, and by which we are all threatened: eg —'Public opinion changes in accordance with unforseen parameters"— we might add that this is happening not only as far as the State is concerned but also in the Autonomous Communities and Regions.