Portuguese Missionary Grammars in Asia, Africa and Brazil, 1550-1800

ORCID logoOtto Zwartjes | University of Amsterdam
ISBN 9789027246080 | EUR 110.00 | USD 165.00
ISBN 9789027283252 | EUR 110.00 | USD 165.00
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From the 16th century onwards, Europeans encountered languages in the Americas, Africa, and Asia which were radically different from any of the languages of the Old World. Missionaries were in the forefront of this encounter: in order to speak to potential converts, they needed to learn local languages. A great wealth of missionary grammars survives from the 16th century onwards. Some of these are precious records of the languages they document, and all of them witness their authors’ attempts to develop the methods of grammatical description with which they were familiar, to accommodate dramatically new linguistic features.This book is the first monograph covering the whole Portuguese grammatical tradition outside Portugal. Its aim is to provide an integrated description, analysis and evaluation of the missionary grammars which were written in Portuguese. Between them, these grammars covered a huge range of languages: in Asia, Tamil, four Indo-Aryan languages and Japanese; in Brazil, Kipeá and Tupinambá; in Africa and the African diaspora, Kimbundu and Sena (from the modern Angola and Mozambique respectively).Each text is placed in its historical context, and its linguistic context is analyzed, with particular attention to orthography, the parts of speech system, morphology and syntax. Whenever possible, pedagogical features of the grammars are discussed, together with their treatment of language variation and pragmatics, and the evidence they provide for the missionaries’ attitude towards the languages they studied.
Publishing status: Available
Table of Contents
“[T]he first complete study and most extensive research to date of Portuguese missionary linguistics, covering three continents, South America (Brazil), Africa and Asia, through the entire pre-modern period (16th-18th centuries). It provides an integrated framework, analysis and evaluation of the first grammars written in Portuguese by missionaries.”
“[...] una investigación rigurosa en las fuentes, coherente en su estructura externa e interna y que, sin lugar a dudas, cumple los objetivos propuestos al principio, pues contribuye a que los aspectos concretos sobre la lingüística misionera portuguesa sean mejor conocidos, integrándolos en su contexto y evaluando sus logros y errores.”
“[...] an insightful and eye-opening study of an area of linguistics which will be somewhat ironically new to many readers.”
“Este trabajo constituye un valioso aporte al campo de la lingüística misionera, tanto con sus contribuciones a la metodología de análisis como al redescubrir antiguos documentos que arrojan luz sobre algunos aspectos lingüísticos y culturales en los complejos vínculos entre Occidente con el antiguo mundo oriental y el nuevo mundo americano.”
“[W]ithout doubt the most comprehensive study to date of a large body of missionary linguistic work. As such it will be of interest to any scholar seeking a better understanding of the content and organization of missionary grammars. [...] For researchers in the field of linguistic historiography, Zwartjes’ detailed study of the terminology used by missionary linguists is of great interest. [...] The fact that terms used by missionaries are often opaque to researchers studying the languages described in these grammars has been a major hindrance to their acceptance as sources of legitimate information. It is to be hoped that this book will be followed by others that not only take a broad view of the field but also examine in detail the vocabulary and conventions used in missionary linguistic work.”
“This volume addresses a long-standing need. [...] This book provides a fascinating window on the development of early grammatical description of non-European languages by missionaries writing in Portuguese. It demonstrates the significant contribution of Portuguese missionaries to the description of these languages, and to the study of Asian languages.”
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[no author supplied]
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Main BIC Subject

CF: Linguistics

Main BISAC Subject

LAN009000: LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / General
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U.S. Library of Congress Control Number:  2011033750 | Marc record