Maria Carme Junyent i Figueras (4 February 1955 – 3 September 2023): Champion of Catalan Language and Linguistics
Maria Carme Junyent i Figueras, known affectionately as Carme Junyent, was a distinguished Catalan linguist celebrated for her dedicated work in defending the Catalan language and her extensive research on endangered languages. Born on 4 February 1955 in Masquefa, a quaint village in the province of Barcelona, Spain, she carved an illustrious path in the world of linguistics.
Her academic journey commenced with the study of philology at the University of Barcelona, followed by enriching educational experiences at the University of Marburg, the University of Cologne, and the University of California. In 1991, she achieved a significant milestone by obtaining her doctorate from the University of Barcelona. Her doctoral thesis, titled “La classificació de les llengües d’Àfrica: el bantu i una hipòtesi (més) sobre la seva expansió” (‘The classification of African languages: Bantu and a (further) hypothesis about its expansion’), was a testament to her dedication and academic prowess. This work was completed under the esteemed guidance of linguist Jesús Tuson Valls.
Carme Junyent specialized in African languages and sociolinguistics, showcasing her passion for linguistic diversity and cultural understanding. Notably, she was a revered professor of linguistics at the University of Barcelona, where she left an indelible mark through her teaching and research.
In addition to her professional pursuits, Carme Junyent was a single mother by choice, adoringly raising two children. She faced the challenges of prosopagnosia, a neurological disorder affecting face recognition, with resilience and grace.
Tragically, on 3 September 2023, at the age of 68, Junyent succumbed to pancreatic cancer. Her contributions to the field of linguistics and her tireless advocacy for the Catalan language will forever be remembered, leaving an enduring legacy that continues to inspire and enrich linguistic studies.