Dolores Corbella, first Canarian in the Royal Spanish Academy

Dolores Corbella, first Canarian in the Royal Spanish Academy

The third time was the charm. Although she never saw it as a competition, the philologist Dolores Corbella Díaz (Santa Cruz de Tenerife, 1959) will occupy chair d of the Royal Spanish Academy. She almost three years ago her candidacy was proposed for the RAE's M chairon which the name of the playwright was finally engraved John Mayorga, and in 2021 he opted to sit in the i, which had become vacant after the death of Margarita Salas (1938-2019). So the vote went in favor of Paloma Díaz-Mas (Madrid, 1954). Just seven weeks ago they gave their name again, this time without an opponent, and the 2021 Canary Islands Research Award thought about it. "It is clear that there was an interest in granting me this privilege, but I am a woman who prefers to be in a somewhat more discreet plane," she commented after hearing the news that she will be the first Canarian with her own seat in Madrid. "I am excited by this conquest, by the years of work, by all the colleagues who have been by my side in the field of research," lists an expert in differential lexicography who yesterday took over from Lanzarote's Blas Cabrera y Felipe (1878 -1945), the last Canarian to whom the Royal Spanish Academy granted this honor (1936).

Other seated canaries

Before the rabbit physicist, in the RAE they had a chair the Porto brothers Juan de Iriarte (1702-1771) and Bernardo de Iriarte (1735-1814) and Benito Pérez Galdós (1843-1920). Professor of Romance Philology at the University of ULL, Dolores Corbella becomes the first non-resident Canarian in the capital of Spain who has a letter and chair in the RAE. «I frequently travel to Madrid and participate in work meetings at the RAE, but this is going to force me to spend a little more time there... The appointment comes at a time when I have several open fronts, although it is a challenge important that I have wanted to add to my professional career", he declared almost at the same time that Ángel Víctor Torres, president of the Canary Islands, expressed his congratulations through a tweet: "Congratulations to Dolores Corbella. She is the 2021 Canary Islands Research Award and a reference in the study of the Canarian linguistic variety », the socialist wrote in the first part of a message that he accompanied with« and today I am especially happy about her election as an RAE academic ».

An applause precedes the comment that the University of La Laguna published on Twitter to explain the joy for this designation: "the philologist of the #ULL Dolores Corbella, chosen to occupy the chair d of the RAE". And it is that the philologist from Tenerife, mother of two daughters, has worked at the University of La Laguna since she was 22 years old and there she has developed a laborious mission together with Cristóbal Corrales, professor emeritus of Spanish Language, in the development of differential lexicography. "In this recognition are all the years of research that I have shared with him and other department colleagues," she thanked her mid-afternoon yesterday with a voice that distilled emotion. «All people have that moment in life when it seems that something extraordinary is going to happen... In my case they have insisted on three occasions and I can only respond with work to the trust they have placed in me. I insist, this may seem like a personal conquest but it is something that many people have fought for.

“It is not a personal conquest, it is something that many people have fought for”

Dolores Corbella - Philologist / RAE Academic


The jurist Santiago Muñoz Machado, director of the Royal Spanish Academy (RAE), was in charge of announcing the majority obtained by Dolores Corbella Díaz, which will allow her to occupy the chair i that was vacated by the also philologist Francisco Rodríguez Adrados (1922-2020). The Canarian candidacy, which was backed by Emilio Lledó, José Antonio Pascual and Carmen Riera, was published in the Official State Gazette (BOE) on January 3. In the case of Lledó, Professor of Philosophy at the University of La Laguna between 1964 and 1967, he already gave his support to the santacrucera when she aspired to the chair i in 2021. The other two "allies" of Corbella Díaz were José Manuel Blecua Partridges and Pedro Álvarez de Miranda. The last one, curiously, was part of the list that promoted her candidacy in 2019: the Asturian Margarita Salas, also with a successful past linked to the history of the ULL, opted to give the Canarian researcher a more relevant role in the RAE. “We have been working in silence analyzing words for a long time”, explained Corbella Díaz in relation to a “differential Canarian lexicon that analyzes the history of a word from its origin to the present day”.

The eldest of five siblings [cuatro chicas y un chico] is coordinator of the LexHis research group [Lexicografía e Historia]is on the editorial and scientific boards of several specialized journals and publications and, among other recognitions, has received the Casa de Colón Canarias América research award (2011). Honorary member of the Institute of Canarian Studies, the RAE distinguished his knowledge a little over a decade ago with the award of the Philological Research Award. "This is a responsibility that I add to my life with great enthusiasm and pride," the academic stressed.

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