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The following major change in spelling was described in one of our canonical questions:

2010 Ortografía de la lengua española

  • Written accents to be used exclusively for phonetics and not semantics

I think an example showing a case where the accent didn't get dropped might be:

más (= more); mas (= but)

Please list some common situations where the accent that was used prior to 2010 should no longer be used, and also list some common situations where it's still needed. Because I learn best with examples.

(I learned to write Spanish prior to 2010, and am learning to adjust to the 2010 changes with something of a time lag.)

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The tilde was dropped in the words solo and este, ese, aquel and their feminine and/or plural variants, as you can see in this article from RAE's FAQ.

Sin embargo, ese empleo tradicional de la tilde en el adverbio solo y los pronombres demostrativos no cumple el requisito fundamental que justifica el uso de la tilde diacrítica, que es el de oponer palabras tónicas o acentuadas a palabras átonas o inacentuadas formalmente idénticas, ya que tanto solo como los demostrativos son siempre palabras tónicas en cualquiera de sus funciones. Por eso, a partir de ahora se podrá prescindir de la tilde en estas formas incluso en casos de ambigüedad. La recomendación general es, pues, la de no tildar nunca estas palabras.

At first it was decided that you needed the tilde only in cases of ambiguity. Example:

Pedro trabaja solo los domingos.

Do you mean that he works only on Sundays, or that he works alone on Sundays? If you mean that he works only on Sundays you needed to write sólo. But soon after it was decided that you could drop the tilde even in such cases and let the context do its work.

That's what is meant by accents to be used exclusively for phonetics and not semantics: in both cases you pronounce the word solo the same way. It's not the same with más/mas, you pronounce them differently depending on the meaning you want to use. (See Difference between "mas" and "más".)

Another example:

¿Por qué compraron aquéllos libros usados?

You needed the tilde when aquellos is the subject of the sentence, but you didn't need it otherwise. Now you can just drop it in both cases.

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  • @Charlie - Very helpful, thank you. // I don't understand about "at first" and "now." Could you clarify when these two versions came out? – aparente001 Apr 28 '18 at 1:13

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