Third International Congress of the Spanish Language

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The Third International Congress of the Spanish Language (Tercer Congreso Internacional de la Lengua Española) was a cultural event that took place in Rosario, Argentina, on 17, 18 and 19 November 2004.

The main topics of the Congress were three: ideological and sociologial aspects of linguistic identity; identity and language in literary creation; and the internationalization of Spanish.

It was the first time this Congress was celebrated in South America; the previous ones were held in Zacatecas (Mexico) and Valladolid (Spain). Given its importance, the governor of Santa Fe, Jorge Obeid, decreed a public holiday for the opening day.

The main base of the activities of the Congress was El Círculo Theater, especially restored for the occasion. It started with a welcome session presented by heads of State and writers. The Congress itself comprised a series of lectures and parallel cultural activities. It included a homage to the Argentine writer Ernesto Sábato. A dictionary of linguistic doubts (Diccionario Panhispánico de Dudas) was introduced, and the Cervantes Institute presented a new linguistic competence certificate for Spanish as a foreign language.

Commemorating the fourth centennial of the first publishing of Don Quixote, a brand-new special edition was released by the Real Academia Española and Editorial Santillana, with the support of the Association of Academies of the Spanish Language. Its 12,000 copies were reported sold out in less than a month.

Guests and lecturers[edit]

Representing Spain, the Congress was attended by the King Juan Carlos I and the Queen Sofía; Argentine President Néstor Kirchner represented the national government. The presidents of Colombia and Mexico, as well as other important representatives of Spanish-speaking countries, were also present.

As guest lecturers there were the writers Carlos Fuentes, Nobel Prize winner José Saramago, Ernesto Cardenal, and Ernesto Sábato. The Rosario-born novelist, comics artist and humorist Roberto Fontanarrosa broke the ice in a debate about the importance of insults in interpersonal communication.


A demonstration protesting the cultural and linguistic dominance legacy of the Spanish conquest.

The Congress met opposition on the part of activist groups representing some linguistic and ethnic minorities, and became a focus for the confluence of many movements related to the left, from anti-globalization sympathizers to revisionists of the historic role of Spain and the Church in the colonization of the Americas (and the ensuing decline of native languages and cultures). The beginning of the Congress was protested by a large demonstration.

In line with these protests, there was another gathering, the Congreso de laS LenguaS, to discuss linguistic and cultural diversity in the region. It was presided by Nobel Peace Prize Adolfo Pérez Esquivel.


In Spanish unless otherwise noted: