Germà Colón, a philologist and honorary doctor of the Universitat de València as of 1984, dies from COVID-19

  • Press Office
  • March 24th, 2020
Germà Colón.
Germà Colón.

A philologist Germà Colón died at 91 from COVID-19, as informed his family. Colón was given the title of the honorary doctor of the Universitat de València in 1984. The philologist died in Barcelona, where he lived, and was considered one of the most important researcher of the Romance languages.

He was given the title of the honorary doctor in 1984 together with another philologist, Francesc de Borja Moll. During the ceremony, the principal Ramon Lapiedra affirmed that “the presence of Mr. Germà Colón in Central Europe honours us as Valencians and reveals our willingness to integrate with a united and multinational Europe.” These words relate to the fact that Colón was a professor at the University of Basel, Switzerland, at that time and throughout many years of his teaching career.

Germà Colón was one of the best experts in linguistic historiography, which is evident from his works La Llengua Catalana en els Seus Textos (The Catalan Language in Its Texts, 1978), Panorama de la Lexicografia Catalana (The Landscape of Catalan Lexicography, 1986), and Problemes de la Llengua a València i als Seus Voltants (Language Problems in Valencia and in Its Surroundings, 1987). He also edited nine volumes of Furs de València (1970-2002), a set of laws to rule the Kingdom of Valencia in the past.

He was an associate professor of the University of Strasbourg (1968-1972) and Universitat de Barcelona (1973-1974). He was a corresponding member of the Royal Academy of Letters in Barcelona (as of 1963), of the Institute of Catalan Studies (as of 1966), and of the Royal Spanish Academy (as of 1985), and the plenary member of the Institute of Catalan Studies. He co-edited a Boletín de la Sociedad Castellonense de Cultura (the Culture Newspaper of the Castellón Society) and was a member of various advisory councils. He presided the International Association of the Catalan Language and Literature (1976-1982) and the Swiss Society of the Hispanic Studies (1982-1985), as well as brought together the Romance Linguistic Society (1980-1986). From 1987, he was a vice-president of the Permanent Board of History of the Spanish Language.

The universities of València, Alicante, Jaume I, Autónoma de Barcelona, and Complutense de Madrid granted him a title of the honorary doctor. In 1985, the Catalan government (Generalitat de Catalunya) awarded him with the highest distinction of St. George's Cross. He received a Prat de la Riba prize from the Institute of Catalan Studies in 1979 as well as the Sanchis Guarner prize of the Rei Jaume I Foundation an the award in Literature from the Catalan government (Generalitat de Catalunya) in 1987. He was a member of the Valencian Council of Culture of the Valencian government (Generalitat Valenciana). In 1999, he was awarded a Civil Order of Alfonso X the Wise on behalf of the Spanish government. At last, in 2016, the Valencian Academy of Language granted him their Medal. Colón donated a personal library (more than 20,000 volumes) to the Universitat Jaume I in Castellón.

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