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Arte para ligeramente saber la lengua arauiga

Alcalá, Pedro de

DomaineTraditions non-occidentales
SecteurGrammaires arabes [4121]

Biblioteca Complutense (éd. 1506)

Internet Archive (éd. Paul de Lagarde, 1883)


Alcalá, Pedro de

Datation: ca 1455 - post 1508

Almost nothing is known about Pedro de Alcalá. Probably born around 1455 and he died post 1508. He wrote his grammar Arte para ligeramente saber la lengua arauiga when he was “between the first and second third of the average male lifespan”, according to his prologue. Since he finished it in 1501, this means that he would have been born around 1455. The last documented date on which Alcalá was known to be alive is 1508. He was a priest of the Order of Jerome and he was confessor of Hernando de Talavera (1428-1507), the first bishop of Granada (1493-1507), to whom he dedicated his work. Talavera was on his turn confessor to Queen Isabella of Castile.

Titre de l'ouvrageArte para ligeramente saber la lengua arauiga
Titre traduitThe art of gently learning Arabic
Titre courtArte para ligeramente saber la lengua arauiga
Remarques sur le titre
Période|16e s.|
Type de l'ouvrageBrief grammar, covering orthography, morphology, for beginners, with religious texts, such as sermons a catechism and other material. Most of these have the Spanish in the left-hand column and the Arabic translation on the right. Some sections are bilingual Latin and Arabic.
Type indexéGrammaire descriptive | Grammaire didactique | Grammaire pour étrangers
Édition originaleThe work was published on 5 February 1505. A second edition appeared the same year, or maybe in 1506 under the title Arte para ligera mente saber la lengua arauiga emendada y añadida y segunda mente imprimida. Both editions are printed by the publisher Juan Varela, Salamanca.
Édition utiliséeFirst edition: Biblioteca Nacional de España: R/2158(1).
VolumétrieIn-4° . ill. [96] p. [Arte] and [504] p. [Vocabulista]. Gothic types. Initial illustration in xylographic. Title in red ink. Front page xylography of scutcheon of Hernando de Talavera. Another xylography with the author presenting the work to the Archbishop. Another xylography with King David and another of the armscoat of arms of the “reyes Católicos” Ferdinand and Isabelle. The work is published together with a bilingual mono-directional dictionary Spanish-Arabic, Vocabulista arauigo en letra castellana, which was probably completed in 1499. There is only one edition of this dictionary (1505). Arte and Vocabulista belong together, according to the author, although both have their own prologue and front page. The fonts for the several diacritical signs had to be designed in wooden cut fonts, since Pedro de Alcalá decided to include a table with the Arabic alphabet. Nevertheless, the publisher Juan de Varela (or the author) decided to print the entire work in Latin script, adapted to the phonological system of Arabic, as it was spoken in Granada. 10.000 words (not included are the religious texts).
Nombre de signes60000
Reproduction moderneAlcalá, Pedro de. 1928 [ca 1506]. Facsimile edition of the first edition: New York, Hispanic Society of America.
Paul de Lagarde (éd.) 1883: Petri Hispani de lingua arabica libri duo Pauli de Lagarde studio et sumptibus repetiti. Gottingae, Prostant in Aedibus Dieterichianis Arnoldi Hoyer. Unveränderter photomechanischer Nachdruck: Osnabrück, Otto Zeller. On-line version: Internet Archive (éd. Paul de Lagarde, 1883).
In 2002 Antoine Lonnet published a critical edition entitled Les textes de Pedro de Alcalá (Leuven, Peeters) which does not include the grammatical sections of the Arte and starts with the second part of it with the text “El signar y santiguar”.
Elena Pezzi (1989) published his dictionary in 1989. And Federico Corriente (1988) re-arranged the material according to the Arabic alphabet, orderd by roots.
DiffusionThe work was soon a rarity in Europe. The dictionary appeared with the Arabic in Arabic script: Torre, Patricio de la. 1809. Vocabulista castellano-arábigo compuesto y declarado en letra y lengua castellana por el M. R. P. Fray Pedro de Alcalá, del órden de San Jerónimo, corregido, aumentado y puesto en caracteres arábigos por el P. Fray – de la misma órden, bibliotecario y catedrático de la lengua arábigoerudita en el Real monasterio de San Lorenzo del Escorial. Ms. El Escorial.
Langues ciblesThe colloquial variety of Arabic as it was spoken in Granada during the last decade of the 15th century
MétalangueSpanish (some religious texts are bilingual Arabic-Latin). Arabic loans are used as metalinguistic terms
Langue des exemplesArabic
Sommaire de l'ouvrageHereunder only the summary is given of the first edition. The second edition has quite a few discrepancies (see for more details Zwartjes 2014). The main difference is that the second edition puts the Arabic alphabet and the description of pronunciation of the letters at the beginning, whereas the first edition puts it at the end. There are no numbered pages: Prologue; Cap. 1 quantas son las partes de la oracion en la lengua arauiga; Cap. 2. De la especie de los nombres arauigos; Cap. 3 Del genero de los nombres arauigos; Cap. 4 Del numero de los nombres arauigos; Cap. 5 Quantas maneras ay de numeros en el arauia; Cap. 6 De la figura de los nombres; Cap. 7 De los casos; Cap. 8 De la declinacion de los nombres arauigos; Cap. 9 De la materia de los pronombres de su suplecion; Cap. 10 De los pronombres possessiuos; Cap. 12 [sic] (=11) De la declinacion de los pronombres, y quantas son las declinaciones; Cap. 12 De los relatiuos; Cap. 13 De los temizes y damires que son los conoscimientos de las personas assi en los nombres como en los verbos; Cap. 14 De la materia de los verbos y quantos son sus acidentes; Cap. 15 Del genero de los verbos; Cap. 16 De la conjugacion y solamente vna conjugacion, saluo si alguno quisiesse dezir que tantas son las conjugaciones quantas en los verbos las terminaciones; Cap. 17 De los modos; Cap. 18 De los tiempos; Cap. 19 De los numeros; Cap. 20 De las personas; Cap. 21 De la formacion del verbo y de los verbos passiuos; Cap. 22. Del verbo impersonal; Cao. 23. De la formacion de los preteritos; Cap. 24 De los verbos irrigulares [sic]; Cap. 25 De la formacion del imperatiuo (including by a section on the verb ‘to be’ [sum]); Cap. 26 De la suplecion del infinituo; Cap. 27 Del participio del preterito y nombre verbal; Cap. 28 De la formacion del segundo gerundio; Cap. 29 De las conjunciones; Cap. 30 De las preposiciones; Cap. 31 De la interjeccion; Cap. 32 De los verbos intrinsecos y de su informacion; Cap. 33. De los nombres possessiuos; Cap. 34 Regla pa[ra] formar los nombres diminutiuos de los arauigos; Cap. 35 Regla para sacar los nombres de los verbos arauigos; Cap. 36 Regla para saber en que sillaba ha de començar cada vno de los verbos; Cap. 37 Del a.b.c. arauigo y los nombres de los caracteres y de la manera de su pronunciacion; Cap. 38 Regla para conocer en la escritura arauiga los comienços y fines de las partes. [until here the part of his Arte devoted to grammar. The rest (50%) is reserved for the religious texts, Ave Maria, etc.].
Objectif de l'auteurThe works Arte and Vocabulista were written when Talavera was bishop. His desire was that all the Muslims should be able to read, will have books of prayers and psalms in Arabic. Most missionary dictionaries (and grammars) are conceived as a tool for only A-speakers. Alcalá presents his dictionary as a tool for both A + B speakers. The majority of missionary dictionaries seem to be designed for just one group: “missionaries”. Nevertheless, Pedro de Alcalá observes in his prologue (1505) that his work was written for both Old Christians (‘viejos cristianos’) as newly converts (‘nuevos convertidos’). The Old Christians, also called ‘aljamiados’ (by the Arabic speaking populations, a term which means that they spoke a foreign (i.e. non-Arabic) language (in Spain, this means Romance/ Spanish). Old Christians could find the Arabic translation of Spanish words “coming from Spanish into Arabic” (viniendo del romance al arauia), and at the same time, the Arabs (arauigos, or “New Christians”), if they learned the Castilian letters (letra castellana), taking first the Arabic word, they could find the Spanish equivalent. It is a remarkable observation, since the dictionary is only mono-directional Spanish-Arabic. A potential user from a Muslim background, motivated by mere curiosity, could leaf through the dictionary and might find the word he was searching for, but it is doubtful if there were indeed users from a Muslim background who really learned Spanish using Alcalá's Vocabulista. It seems more an ideology expressed by the author, which stands far from reality. It is possible that Alcalá had some plans to compile another (or a third) dictionary in the future, as he observes in the prologue of the Vocabulista (para que pueda hazer otra segunda o tercera obra). Alcalá finished his linguistic studies when he was already in “the third part” of a life-span. Unfortunately, his plans were never realized.
Intérêt généralThe work was soon difficult to get in Europe, where some scholars were interested in it. The grammar was ignored, but his vocabulary was – and still is – a huge treasure for those studying spoken Arabic varieties of the time. In spite of its rarity, Alcalá's dictionary was widely known and used throughout Europe. Aldrete (1606, Cap. XXII, p. 142) quotes Alcalá analyzing the glottonyms “Latin, Romance, etc.” Johannes Gabriel Sparvenfeldius possessed probably Alcalá's catechism, which has been appended to his grammar and his dictionary already in 1706 but in that period it had become already a rare book (Schnurrer 1811, p. 16). If the original work was not longer available, scholars used the original editions or the re-edition from 1776 from Patricio José de la Torre with transcriptions into Arabic characters, which was the base for the Supplément of the Dutch Orientalist Reinhart Dozy (1820-1883). The grammar of Pedro de Alcalá was a real novelty, a pioneering work. His transcription system of the Arabic alphabet is the first in Europe, although his knowledge of Classical Arabic was evidently limited; there are quite a few inconsistencies while using his own transliteration system. Francisco Cañes (1787) recognizes that Alcalá's grammar and dictionary were the first most complete work describing Arabic (“Esta gramatica y diccionario tienen la prerrogativa de ser la obra primera y mas completa que se dió á luz de este idioma en Europa”), but according to his view it would be much more appropriate if Alcalá published his work in Arabic (Cañes 1787, p. xvi-xvii; see also p. xxvii, section V). It is also obvious that Pedro de Alcalá did not have any knowledge of Arabic grammatical theory and his Greco-Latin approach is particularly visible in the lacking of insights in the analysis of derivations. As had been observed by Fück (1955, p. 33) “[Pedro de Alcalá] erkennt nicht die Bedeutung des Wurzelbegriffs, so dass dem Leser der arabische Formenbau in der Nominal- wie in der Verbalbildung undurchsichtig bleibt”. Nevertheless, as has been stressed by several scholars at the conferences on Missionary Linguistics, it is easy to point at the shortcomings of these grammars and dictionaries measured by the standards of our own time, but when studied and analyzed in its own historical and cultural context, there is no doubt that there is still a wealth of material to be studied.
Parties du discoursEight parts of speech: noun, pronoun, verb, participle, preposition, adverb, interjection and conjunction. Alcalá tells his readers that the most important parts of speech are the noun and the verb (as in Latin, according to the author).
Innovations term.Pedro de Alcalá uses many technical terms from the Arabic grammatical tradition. Some are treated in separate chapters, such as ‘temizes’ and ‘damires’. These Arabic terms have been studied by Cowan (1981) and Zwartjes (2014). Some technical Spanish terms seem to be inspired by Pastrana and/or Nepote. Terms not used in Nebrija are “verbos intrínsecos”, “abitudines”.
Corpus illustratifParadigms in the grammar, and religious texts, sermons, confessionary, etc. dictionary. Corriente concludes (1988, p. iii-iv and 2008, p. 88) that Alcalá's linguistic data demonstrate that it is “unbelievable that he ever could communicate in Arabic”. Corriente demonstrates (2008, p. 88) that the sections devoted to the prayers of Pedro de Alcalá reveal both infra-correct and ultra-correct features, compared to the standards of Classical Arabic, but these features are “in open contrast with other parts of these writings which exhibit nearly genuine Andalusi Arabic, almost entirely free from such features”. The sections which contain the most examples of apparent “tortured syntax” (Corriente 2008, p. 94) are often explained as the result of the word-for-word translations, which are to be distinguished from other sections of his Arte where more pure Granadan Andalusi Arabic is found, particularly in “the priests” monologues in the confessional or doctrinal explanations (ibid.).
Indications compl.
Influence subiePedro de Alcalá does not mention any sources in his grammar, but he mentions Nebrija as the main source for his dictionary. He not always follows him very strictly and, different from Nebrija, he arranges the dictionary differently. He follows the alphabetical order, as Nebrija, but every letter starts first with verbs, second comes the noun, and than the other parts of speech. It is not improbable that Alcalá used also Nebrija's Latin grammar (first edition 1481), or maybe also the bilingual edition of the Introductiones which appeared in 1495 (the edition “contrapuesto el romance”). It is obvious that he did not use the Gramática castellana as his model, since he follows the classification of the Latin grammars into eight parts of speech, and also in the same order (see also Zwartjes 1993, p. 268); in the Gramática castellana there are ten parts of speech. Nevertheless, as demonstrated elsewhere (Zwartjes 2007, p. 215) Alcalá has also used other sources, since we can find in his Arte grammatical terms which are not from Nebrija. One of these terms is the concept of “abitud” which is inherited from other grammars than the Latin and Castilian grammars of Antonio de Nebrija (ca 1444-1522). The term “habitudo” is used by Ferdinandus Nepos in his Materies (between 1469 and 1485), in the section on nominal declension.
Influence exercéeAlcalá's linguistic data were in particular of crucial importance for studies of Dozy (1881), Simonet (1888), Steiger (1932) and Corriente (1992 and 1997).
Renvois bibliographiques→ Références
Cañes F. 1775; Cañes F. 1787; Corriente F. 1988; Corriente F. 1997; Corriente F. 2008; Cowan W. 1981; De Lagarde P. (éd.) 1883; Dozy R. P. 1881; Fück J. 1955; Jiménez L. N. (éd.) 1972 {B. de Aldrete [1606]}; Nebrija E. A. 1951 {[ca 1495]}; Pezzi E. 1989; Schnurrer C. F. 1811; Simonet F. J. 1888; Steiger A. 1932; Zwartjes O. 1999; Zwartjes O. 2014; Zwartjes O. 2014

Zwartjes, Otto

Création ou mise à jour2016-11