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Post Thoughts on "Leyenda Negra," Spanish as Lingua Franca
Created by John Eipper on 08/13/20 6:16 AM

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Thoughts on "Leyenda Negra," Spanish as Lingua Franca (Silvia Ribelles de la Vega, USA, 08/13/20 6:16 am)

I believe "Leyenda negra" is a very good name; why change it? The term has been around for over a century, but the concept started actually in Italy, already in the 15th century, according to Sverker Arnoldsson.

As for as the treatment of Native Americans in Spanish or British and then American territories, I agree with Eugenio Battaglia (August 12th). The only Indian you will find in Massachusetts, for example, is the one on the State flag.

As for Ronald Hilton's view on the Black Legend--let me blow my own trumpet, too---you should read his book La Leyenda Negra y la Ilustración. Hispanofobia e hispanofilia en el siglo XVIII, published by El Paseo in Sevilla in 2019, which I translated.


On a related topic, I was happy and impressed to read that John E does teach his students about the Manila Galleon route. The exchange of goods, silver of the Spanish Empire for spices and all kinds of luxury items traded by the Chinese, between the two mightiest empires of the world at the time meant, without a doubt, the first globalization. Spain did not have colonies, but provinces. The Spanish and the British empires were very different.

Yes, to respond to John's question, my sons have learned Spanish from me (¡La duda ofende!). They are bilingual and bi-literate. They have no accent at all when they speak Spanish. When we go to Spain, they pass as Spaniards.

I agree with John that Chinese will not become the lingua franca of the world: too difficult to write and to speak, I think. I always hope that the Hispanic countries of America one day will wake up, and put into motion the incredible potential they have, and Spanish will become the new language of the world. Wouldn't that be wonderful?

JE comments: No less an authority than Ronald Hilton used to say that Spanish would be the ideal lingua franca.  Esperanto wins hands down for simplicity of grammar, but Spanish has the huge advantage of limited vowel sounds and (especially) phonetic spelling.

Silvia, thank you for the reminder that our own Prof H was an authority on the Leyenda Negra.  The book you translated originally appeared in French:  La Légende Noire au 18e Siècle.  As for the legend's "blackness," I believe it's just a matter of time before all linguistic associations of black with "evil" will be eliminated.  How about the "Leyenda Infame"?

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