Rufino José Cuervo Urisarri (Bogotá, Colombia), was a Colombian writer, linguist and philologist.
He studied Latin and Greek, but the main part of his work was dedicated to the study of the dialectal variations of Spanish spoken in Colombia. About this topic, he wrote his book Apuntaciones críticas sobre lenguaje bogotano (Critical Notes About Bogotan Language, 1867), which is still an important reference in the study of the American Spanish language.
His most important work was Diccionario de construcción y régimen de la lengua castellana (Dictionary of Castilian language construction and rection). This work is updated in a regular basis by the scholars of the Caro y Cuervo Institute, named after him and the Colombian linguist Miguel Antonio Caro. He also revised and republished the Spanish American grammar of Andrés Bello, Castilian Grammar Intended for the Use by Americans.
Cuervo was one of the first linguists who promoted the union of the Spanish language in its different variants. He was worried about the segregationist trend in the spoken Spanish and thought that this phenomenon was similar to the events related with the Roman Empire when the Latin was separated in many independent Romance languages such as Spanish, Portuguese and Italian.
In 1878 he was admitted as the Colombian representative to the Real Academia Española. In 1882 he moved to Paris, where he lived until his death in 1911.