Hasta hace relativamente poco, la RAE lo tenía fácil para consultar textos escritos en los que basarse para construir su diccionario. Bastaba con irse a la librería, biblioteca o quioscos más cercanos (es un decir) y ponerse a leer libros o (más recientemente) prensa. Sin embargo, con los tiempos modernos y la llegada sobre todo de Internet, la velocidad a la que cambia el idioma ha crecido exponencialmente, y la difusión de textos escritos ya no se para ahí, sino que existen multitud de páginas en Internet que, quiera la RAE o no, también definen nuestro lenguaje.

Sin embargo, está claro que no es lo mismo leer el blog de Patente de corso de Pérez-Reverte que la última discusión de Forocoches o Taringa. No estoy diciendo que uno sea más válido que el otro, solo que cada uno define su propia versión del español.

Y ahí es donde me entra la duda: ¿pone la RAE alguna raya imaginaria a la hora de consultar textos en Internet? Que consulta Internet es un hecho, porque en los corpus más recientes se incluyen textos extraídos de Internet. Por ejemplo, accediendo a la consulta del CORPES XXI, pulsando el botón "+Subcorpus" se puede seleccionar "Soporte: Internet", y luego en la tipología salen las secciones "Blog", "Mensaje de correo electrónico", "Mensaje en redes sociales" y "Página electrónica" entre otras.

Sin embargo, de todo Internet, ¿qué consulta? ¿Todos los documentos que encuentra, o una selección según determinados criterios? Ahí es donde voy: en caso de que la RAE ponga límites a la hora de consultar textos por Internet, ¿qué criterios sigue?

  • Pura conjetura, pero algo me dice que se restringen bastante a Google Books y, en particular, Ngram: books.google.com/ngrams . Mar 26 '19 at 14:06
  • For an insightful view of dictionaries' word selection criteria (and a delightful read) I'd recommend Word by Word, by Kory Stamper, a long time Merriam-Webster lexicographer. I would assume the processes are similar in major dictionaries. With DLE's sophisticated online presence, I have to believe they cast a wide net, digitally and otherwise.
    – cuevero
    May 10 '20 at 14:47

This is not a complete answer but hopefully it's a contribution.

I listen to a news podcast from the New York Times called The Daily. Several times a journalist has told the story of how they got wind of an important story and then the various steps in their work that led them to publish. These slightly shaggy dog stories generally have something like this somewhere in the middle:

So at this point, I had two sources, but my editor asked me to get a third before publishing.

For the editor to feel that their ass was well covered, the sources had to be independent.

I will extrapolate from this and tell you how I imagine things would work inside a dictionary. I think the editor would want three sources, and they'd have to be quite different from each other, and independent.

You could ask a different dictionary how they do things, and at least that would give you a starting point. I think I've heard or seen at least one interview with someone who works for a dictionary in the US. It might be easier to find one that doesn't play its cards quite so close to its chest if you branch out a bit.

  • If I understand your point, you're trying to say that the editors of the dictionary would need at least three independent sources to start considering adding a word to the dictionary, is that so?
    – Charlie
    Feb 17 '19 at 8:16
  • @Charlie - I don't actually know anything about this, you know. I don't know if journalists always need three independent sources. Maybe it depends on how much of a shocker the story would be. Also I'm not sure if we can extrapolate to the dictionary world that precisely. But as an example, I was just looking up the phrase "niñas bien" on the internet. I found a recent film with that phrase in the title. That gave me the TV ad for a feminine hygiene product plus a movie title. But when I found an article from 2010 where someone said, "A mí me educaron como a una niña bien... Feb 18 '19 at 3:01
  • ... Y las niñas bien sabemos guisar," then I figured it must be a standard phrase. I don't really know how many sources a dictionary supervisor would ask for -- but my question for you is, if you imagine yourself working in that field, what would you be looking for (quantity and quality)? Feb 18 '19 at 3:03
  • My point is that I'm not asking how many sources does a word need to be included, but if the sources (specially the ones coming from web pages) are filtered out and, if so, how are the filtered. I suppose this is the same as saying would a word be included if it is widely used but only in excessively urban environments?
    – Charlie
    Feb 18 '19 at 6:33
  • @Charlie - Well, maybe I can't help you. But I do think it would be worthwhile for you to imagine being a dictionary editor, and think about how you would approach it. Feb 19 '19 at 3:57

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