MEXICO CITY (AP) — When writing in Spanish, it is perfectly acceptable to use the word "sandwich" to describe a tasty snack held together with two pieces of bread, to employ "parquear" to describe putting your vehicle in a garage or parking lot, and to type "vermu" when referring to the aromatized wine essential to concocting a martini or Manhattan cocktail.
Although such words may get on some Spanish speakers' nerves, they represent the continual evolution of the language, say the authors of the new Spanish stylebook by The Associated Press, the Manual de Estilo Online de la AP. "Nocaut" is correctly used to describe a knockout in the boxing ring, they say. "Cederron" can be used when talking about a CD-ROM.
Mexican poet and environmentalist Homero Aridjis will be among the well-known writers and journalists joining AP editors on Monday to discuss such Spanish language usage during the Latin America launch of the new reference tool. El Milenio newspaper columnist Carlos Puig and journalist Rossana Fuentes, a vice president with magazine publisher Grupo Expansion, will also be panelists.
"The Manual de Estilo is for language lovers," said Marjorie Miller, AP editor for Latin America and the Caribbean and the Spanish Service. She called the resource "a fascinating window into the evolution of modern, universal Spanish."
"Editors of the English-language stylebook receive about 50 questions a week on usage via Ask the Editor," said Miller, referring to a feature on the AP Stylebook website, http://www.apstylebook.com/ , that allows subscribers to seek clarification and guidance on style issues.
"We hope to have the same kind of online engagement with our Spanish-speaking subscribers to help grow and refine our Manual de Estilo," she added.
The new manual is designed as a guide for Spanish-language journalists, writers, editors and scholars of the language spoken by an estimated 450 million people globally.
Among the thorny questions it tackles include how to deal with modern technological terms, such as whether "tuitear" can be used to talk about sending a "tweet" from a Twitter account. The resource also weighs in on whether "emoticono" can be employed for the word "emoticon" and whether "faxear" should be used to refer to sending a document on a facsimile machine. (Yes, yes and yes.)
Available only on the Internet, the guide includes thousands of entries just like in AP's English stylebook, which has long been an invaluable resource for American journalists.
Also available online, the English stylebook is an essential reference for good writing. With the Spanish-language version, the original concept remains: to provide a uniform presentation of the printed word, to make a story written anywhere understandable everywhere.
AP editors say the Spanish stylebook aims to unify standards for that language in order to improve communication among its speakers worldwide. Spanish words can differ dramatically from country to country, and users of the AP's Spanish stylebook will discover the different meanings of words such as "guagua," which means "bus" in the Spanish-speaking Caribbean, but "baby" in Chile and the Andean region of Argentina.
Alejandro Manrique, AP deputy editor for Latin America and the Caribbean and director of the Spanish Service, worked with bureau chiefs from multiple countries to compile the manual. AP journalists in Mexico City, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Chile and the U.S. helped out.