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On the Advance: Over 400 Million People Speak Spanish

12 05 2009
Two-day Jornadas del Hispanismo conference at Heidelberg University sheds light on causes and consequences
The growth potential for Spanish in the 21st century is bigger than for any other language. At present over 400 million people all over the world are Spanish-speaking and the figures are rising fast. The 500-million mark will probably be reached by the middle of this century. Heidelberg University’s first Jornadas del Hispanismo conference on 19-20 May 2009 will be casting light on the socio-economic consequences deriving from the spread of this language all over the world, including German-speaking areas. It will also be pointing up the root causes for the phenomenon. In Heidelberg, experts and protagonists involved in this development will discuss the Spanish language from linguistic, social, economic and cultural perspectives. The conference has been organised by the Spanish Department of Heidelberg University’s School of Translation and Interpreting headed by Prof. Dr. Óscar Loureda.

The conference will begin with speeches of welcome from Prof. Dr. Bernhard Eitel, Rector of Heidelberg University, and Fernando José Belloso Fernández, Spanish consul-general in Germany. Outstanding guest speakers include Prof. Dr. Salvador Gutiérrez Ordóñez, member of the Real Academia Española, Dr. José Francisco Sánchez, head of the Santiago Rey Fernández-Latorre foundation, and Prof. Dr. Walther Bernecker of Nuremberg-Erlangen University.

There will be two panel discussions, one devoted to Spanish as a vehicle of communication in the globalised world, the other to the connection between the spread of Spanish and international migration phenomena. The conference closes at 5 p.m. on 20 May with the Spanish film Un Franco, catorce pesetas (2006). Subsequently there will be an opportunity to discuss the film with its director Carlos Iglesias and lead actress Isabel Blanco. For this and all the other events in the two-day conference interpreters will provide simultaneous translation into German and other languages.

For details of the programme of the Jornadas (in Spanish) go to

Christina Moser
School of Translation and Interpreting (SUED)
Office No. 115
Heidelberg University
Plöck 57a
D-69117 Heidelberg
phone: +49 6221 547250

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Heidelberg University
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Dr. Michael Schwarz
Public Information Officer

Irene Thewalt
phone: +49 6221 542310
fax: +49 6221 542317
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