404 | 31, pp. 403-419 | doxa.comunicación

July-December of 2020

History of the spanish lexicon and the World Wide Web: some examples

ISSN: 1696-019X / e-ISSN: 2386-3978

historical lexicology. However, many times these works, or the kinds of information provided by the Hispanic lexicology network of what we could call “classical” investigation, will be insufficient. The same happens with the official word banks and corpora, such as those provided by the Royal Spanish Academy [i.e., CORDE, CREA, CORPES XXI or the online database for the Nuevo Diccionario Histórico (‘New Historical Dictionary’)] or the National Library of Spain (and its digital newspaper library, for example). Such resources can open up access to other spaces, which can help to complement or verify what is being investigated. What we want to account for in this essay is precisely the relevance of international digital media as a research corpus that contributes to the historical analysis of the Spanish lexicon. Indeed, the global digital ecosystem constitutes a fundamental linguistic space and provides us with data sometimes not contemplated by the official literature (especially the Royal Academy of the Spanish Language). Likewise, since the filter of Hispanic normative correction is not preponderant, many times the information in the global network provides extremely relevant information which might not appear within “codified” spaces. In other cases, we have corpora, and word banks specially elaborated for the Hispanic tradition. Often, these are projects by Anglo-Saxon, French or German universities and if we are not up to date on research regarding Romance or Hispanic linguistics, we can miss out on many free-access tools. Other times, as we will see below, in addition to projects carried out by philologists and linguists from universities, there is a diverse array of projects by online libraries whose features might be outright surprising. In this essay, we aim to present some cases where research in historical lexicology was complemented by data contributed by the whole digital ecosystem. In this study, in summary, we would like to account for the relevance of the use of the Internet as a linguistic corpus, not the one provided by the whole worldwide web, but by the world’s universities for the study of the Spanish lexicon. We will only focus on two areas of the Hispanic lexicology: Romance etymology and the history of the Spanish American lexicon.

2. Methodology

As this is a work of historical lexicology, its methodology is philological, which implies a review and collation of every lexical item studied here in various bibliographic sources, whether on paper or online. We will start with a probe of the meaning of every term in question, especially regarding its etymology, its validity, and its extension. This may involve the questioning of etymology or origin as attributed in previous studies. It can also be an alert to a state of doubt regarding a certain word: a philologist or etymologist comments about an aspect of the structure of the word signaling that further study is needed. It may also be the revision (which must be constant) of the hypothetical etymon of a word, under the advances of etymology and lexicology. Likewise, it can be the critical review of the diatopic labels of a word in an official repertoire (such as the Royal Spanish Academy’s dictionary) which may relativise or corroborate the information in question. In these cases, the work of the historical lexicologist usually requires, more than anything, expertise in dictionaries and the collation of dictionaries. These are usually Spanish-language dictionaries and most of the time, depending on the synchronic cut of the term in question, one may work with dictionaries that are contemporary or typologically fitting to the term (for example: 19th-century Spanish dictionaries, etymological dictionaries, Hispano-American dictionaries, Chilean dictionaries, dictionaries from the Southern Cone, among others). Additionally, we make use of official, Spanish-language word banks, which are those provided by the Royal Spanish Academy or by the Hemeroteca digital (‘digital