Arias Alvarez Wins Spanish Royal Academy (RAE) Award

Beatriz Arias Alvarez has earned a royal honor…

The Mexican philologist has been awarded the 2015 Spanish Royal Academy (RAE) Award for her research into Mexican colonial Spanish.


“I’m the coordinator (of the research), but it’s an award for work done by the team over a long period of time,” the expert at the Philological Research Institute at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, or UNAM, said in an interview with EFE.

Arias won the award for the compilation, organization and transcription of “Public and Private Documents of the 16th Century: Texts for the History of Mexican Colonial Spanish I.”

The research, published in 2014, is “fundamental for understanding the history of the Spanish language in the Americas,” according to the jury of the 2015 RAE Award, which comes with a cash prize of $27,900.

“I think the greatest emotion comes from the fact that the teamwork of a group of Mexicans at the UNAM has been acknowledged,” the philologist said.

“I’ve been working continuously since 2006 compiling documents,” a labor shared with students “who have contributed so much” with theses for bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees, she said

“I would never have achieved this vast scope all by myself,” Arias said, adding that the award-winning text goes deeply into subjects that have never really been studied before.

“The presence of Indian documents written in Spanish in such early times (of the conquest of Mexico) is one of the most important discoveries in the book,” the philologist said.

Arias’s candidacy was presented by the Philological Research Institute of UNAM and promoted by members of the Spanish language academies of Mexico, Peru and the United States.