Last night Joan Solà, philologist and linguist who received the Honour Prize of the Catalan Language Arts, died last night.
Since 1965 he was a teacher at the Universitat de Barcelona and other institutions. All his students I meet some time praise him and are thankful for having had the chance to learn from him. I only met him once last year in the opening session of my master on linguistic correction at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. I can’t say much about him, but the speech he gave was enough to see how devote and passionate for Catalan he is and the kind, interesting and crystal clear way he had to explain things.
He also wrote about forty books and was active in the media. He wrote a farewell article for the AVUI newspaper last week because he was retiring from it. I think that the last part of the text makes more sense today than ever.
“But it is a fact of life: we must give way to the young people, who have more drive and information (which can be obtained easily with the new techniques) and see language life from a closer point of view, without our old strictness. Fortunately, there have been for some months and years now some highly-trained colleagues who stylishly ruminate on this language; which is inexhaustible, like all sciences: each generation renews the points of view and the methodology of what they touch; and thanks to this today we can read better than yesterday the great Homeric poems or the Bible, we can scrutinize in a less mythological way the historic past, we can «read» more clearly the excavations of Empúries, we can see the language under a very different perspective from those they / we had in the 60’s-70’s of the last century. And that is just a sign of civilization and hope. Iu Forn, who also left this newspaper some months ago, said that there will come some other after me, and another, because life goes on, and nothing actually transcendental ever happens, even when the rush and the claims of the media and the politicians seem to try to make us worried and frightened sometimes.
So, readers, keep faithful to the written and spoken Catalan media, keep enjoying the linguistic commentaries that specialists will want to give you. And thank you very much.”