Canarian Academy of Language

I share the christian name and first family name with a very famous Spanish poet from the 98 Generation, Antonio Machado (1875-1939), but that is all. The 29th of January 2003 and by appointment of some fellows, I joined the Canarian Academy of Language as a full member obviously as a scientist, not as writer or philologist.

The Canarian Academy of Language (ACL) is a public foundation established December 21st 1999 and supported by the Canarian Autonomous Government and the Canarian Parliament. It promotes the scientific study of Spanish spoken in the Canary Islands and has at present 31 full members: writers, philologists and scientist, in addition to several collaborating members.

My contributions to the ACL relate basically to lexicography (see right column), but initially I also assisted in organising the institution, clarifying roles, helping to define sectoral policies, etc. It seems that as a “born organiser”, I cannot resist…


Animals and plants have Latin scientific names, and many of them also technical names in Spanish, more or less generalised common names, and very frequently many popular names, building a rich semantic universe.  This is my field of interest and indeed my inaugural address to the ACL was on  The name of bugs in the Canary Islands. For that purpose, I travelled with my motobike through the different Canary Islands interviewing  all kinds of people in the countryside and collecting popular names. It was a fantastic trip chasing oldies and names.

With the help of Marcial Morera, I also organised a set of meetings with Canarian botanists and zoologists to discuss and fix some “common names” or standard Spanish names for the most conspicuous species of the Canarian flora and fauna. The final result was formally published by the ACL and is today a reference book.

My present activity is keeping a database of vernacular names of insects, assisting the ACL with zoonyms in the different dictionaries produced, and helping to answer related questions posed by the public.

Members of the ACL with Nobel Price writer José Saramago (†) in Arrecife, Lanzarote (4 July 2003)

Juan José Bacallado Aránega, Gonzalo Ortega Ojeda, Ramón Trujillo Carreño (ACL President), Carmen Díaz Alayón, José de Sousa Saramago (Honoray Member), Eligio Hernández Gutiérrez, José A. Alemán Hernández; Antonio Lorenzo Ramos, Antonio González Viéitez, Marcial Morera Pérez y Antonio Machado Carrillo.


This area is reserved for a glossary. Coming soon…

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