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Arte de la lengua mexicana y castellana

Molina, Alonso de

DomaineTraditions non-occidentales
SecteurGrammaires amérindiennes [4602]

B.V. Miguel de Carvantes (éd. 1571)

Internet Archive.org (éd. 1571)


Molina, Alonso de

Datation: 1514?-1585

Date of birth, 1510, according to Hernández de León Portilla (2014, p. 27). Alonso de Molina came to Mexico when he was a child. It is possible that he was born in Extremadura (Hernández de León-Portilla 2014, p. 25). He learned Nahuatl from his playmates and nurses and it has been documented that in 1524 he was already interpreter of the Franciscans. Different from Olmos, he stayed in the capital and worked at the convent of San Francisco and the Colegio de Santa Cruz de Tlatelolco, which was founded when Molina was 26 years old. He worked closely together with Bernardino de Sahagún, with whom he wrote the prologue of the translation of the Summario de las indulgencias y perdones concebidas a los cofrades del Sanctissimo Sacramento traducido en lengua Mexicana (Mexico, completed in 1560, printed in 1568). He published a catechism, printed in 1546 and the mono-directional bilingual dictionary (Vocabulario) Spanish-Nahuatl in 1555 (Ed. Galeote), with a second bilingual bidirectional edition in 1571 (Ed. Hernández 2001). When he completed his Arte de la lengua mexicana y castellana, he was 61 years old, whereof 50 years as a speaker of Nahuatl. It is the result of a lifetime experience in linguistic research.

Titre de l'ouvrageArte de la lengua mexicana y castellana, compuesto por el muy Reuerendo padre fray Alonso de Molina de la orden de Señor sant Francisco
Titre traduitGrammar of the Nahuatl and Castilian language, composed by the very Reverend father Alonso de Molina of the order of Saint Francis
Titre courtArte de la lengua mexicana y castellana
Remarques sur le titre
Période|16e s.|
Type de l'ouvrageComplete grammar covering phonology, morphology and syntax. Descriptive grammar, Didactic/pedagogic grammar for learners of Nahuatl. Grammar for non-native speakers of Nahuatl, novices students who were preparing themselves for the mission.
Type indexéGrammaire descriptive | Grammaire didactique | Grammaire élémentaire
Édition originale1571, México, en casa de Pedro Ocharte.
Édition utiliséeHernández de León-Portilla 2014.
Volumétrie[3], 82, 35 leaves; 15 cm; 30 000 words. Hernández de León-Portilla (2014, p. 49): in-8°, gothic type, except the front page and the titles of the chapters and some conjugations of the verb and the ‘reglas’, which appear in Roman cursive. Front page: illustration of St. Francis receiving the stigmata. Historiated and decorated capitals. Black letter, with italics on title page and for headings, and roman type for other headings and closing prayer. In two parts, with distinct foliation but continuous register.
Nombre de signes120000
Reproduction moderneDel Paso y Troncoso, F. 1886, Molina (1945 [1571]), English translation: Hill, K.C. 1974.
DiffusionIt is remarkable that the Arte was much less frequently reprinted as we expect from such a pioneering work.
Langues ciblesLengua mexicana (= Nahuatl)
MétalangueSpanish (castellano, as in the title)
Langue des exemplesNahuatl
Sommaire de l'ouvrageLicencias, aprovaciones: written by Martin Enrriquez, Diego Maldonado, Fray Domingo de la Anunciacon, Frater Joannes Focher, Francisco de Ribera. Epistola nuncupatoria (f. 1r-4v) Alonso de Molina. Prologo (argumento, Diuision del ibro) (5r-6v).
[Primera parte del arte de la lengua mexicana y castellana]. Cap. 1. De las partes de la oracion (6v-20v). Cap. 2. De los pronombres (primitiuos, deriuatiuos, reflexiuos o reciprocos, pronombres afixos (20v-26r). Cap. 3. De los verbos (26v-68v). Cap. 4. Del participio (69r-71r). Cap. 5. Del adverbio (71r-74r). Cap. 6. De las preposiciones (74r-80v). Cap. 7. De las conjunctiones (80v-81v). Cap. 8. De las interjectiones (81v-82v).
Segunda parte del arte de la lengua Mexicana, y castellana. Cap. 1. (without title), containing an introduction of the content of the second part (“declaracion necessaria de algunas dictiones difficultosas de esta lengua Mexicana, nombres primitiuos, deriuatiuos, diminutiuos, simples, compuestos. De la cuenta y numeros” (f. 1r-7r). [In the first edition of the dictionary (1555), Molina wrote earlier a special chapter to this topic (249r-260r; ed. Galeote 513-535)]. Cap. 2. Declaracion de los verbos difficultosos desta lengua Mexicana (7r-12v). Cap. 3. Del verbo frequentatiuo (12v-13r). Cap. 4. De los verbos reuerenciales (13v-18r). Cap. 5. De los verbos deriuatiuos en uia. (18r-19v). Cap. 6. De los verbos compuestos (19v-21v). Cap. 7. De los verbos irregulares (21v-23v). Cap. 8. De algunas otras cosas comunes conuenientes, para todas las partes de la oracion, conuiene a saber del Phrasis y maneras de hablar que esta lengua tiene (23v-27r). Cap. 9. Del bueno sonido y del accento y buena pronunciacion (27r-28v). Cap. 10. Siguese vna breue platica acerca de las cosas dichas en estas dos partes del arte de la lengua Mexicana (28v-35v).
Objectif de l'auteurThe author wrote this grammar as a “pequeñuela obra” (f. 4r) for the novices of the Colegio de Tlatelolco. The author explains the objectives of his grammar in a separate section, entitled “argumento”, which are closely related to the two vocabularies.
Intérêt généralFirst printed grammar of Nahuatl. The treatment of the phenomenon of ‘composition’ is the most important contribution of Molina. The Greco-Latin concept of ‘composition’ is adapted to the characteristics of a polysynthetic language as Nahuatl (Hernández de León-Portilla 2014, p. 98). As Olmos, Molina treated the Direct Object pronominal prefixes, reflexives, etc. as part of the conjugation of the verb (inflection), different from the Greco-Latin system, where the inflections of the verb only contain syntactic information referring to the subject of the verb.
Parties du discoursMolina follows Nebrija: Noun, pronoun, verb, adverb, participle, preposition, interjection. “En la primera [parte] se tratara copiosa y claramente de todas las ocho partes de la oracion que esta lengua tiene, conforme a la lengua latina y castellana” (1571, I, f. 6r): Las partes de la oracion, son ocho, (conuiene a saber) nombre, assi como .teutl. que quiere decir ‘Dios’: Pronombre asi como /nehuatl. ‘yo’. Uerbo. Asi como. Nitetlaçotla. ‘yo amo’. Aduerbio. Asi como axcan. ‘oy’. o ‘agora’. Participio. Asi como. Yntetlaçotla.; el que ama. Conjunction. Asi como. Yuan. Y, o tambien. Preposicion. Asi como. Pan, ‘en’, o ‘encima’. Interjection. Asi como yyo, ‘o’ (6v). (“In the first part all the eight parts of speech of this language will be dealt with, as Latin and Castilian”).
Innovations term.As other Franciscan missionaries who wrote grammars of Tarascan (P'urhépecha), Maturini Gilberti and Lagunas, Molina uses the term Pronombres afixos, inherited from Western grammars of Hebrew (Zwartjes 2008). Other terms: vetatiuo, auisatiuo, and composición, with its extended meaning, adapted to the features of Nahuatl morphosyntax.
Corpus illustratifExamples are given in Nahuatl with translation. In the paradigms and treatment of the parts of speech, isolated words are given as examples, but Molina included entire phrases, mainly in the section devoted to the adverbs (f. 73v), conjunctions (f. 81r) and “speaking manners”. Most examples have a religious content (f. 71r). In the tenth chapter of the second part, Molina includes the Pater Noster and refers to his Doctrina Christiana. Probably the grammar was used in language instruction, together with the Doctrina Christiana and the dictionary.
Indications compl.
Influence subieMolina mentions the names of Antonio de Nebrija and Donatus (f. 30r; Suárez Roca 1992, p. 72), although he never refers to Andrés de Olmos.
Influence exercéeSeveral authors of grammars of Nahuatl mention Molina in their prologues, as Ávila (1717) and Aldama y Guevara (1754). Molina's views on incorporation and composition has been of great interest for all posterior works on Nahuatl. His dictionaries were particularly used as model for other Meso-American dictionaries, such as Gilberti's dictionary of P'urhépecha (Tarascan) and the trilungual dictionary Spanish-Nahuatl-Otomí of Urbano, and also in the Philippines as model (for Méntrida's dictionary of Visaya, for instance), but there is no evidence that his grammar have had a great impact outside Mexico, since his name is never mentioned in other sources than those describing Nahuatl.
Renvois bibliographiques→ Références
Acuña R. (éd.) 1990; Aldáma y Guevára J. A. 1754; Ávila F. de 1717; Galeote M. (éd.) 2001; García-Medall J. (éd.) 2004; Graíño A. (éd.) 1945; Hernández de León-Portilla A. 1988; Hernández de León-Portilla A. (éd.) 2014; Hernández E. (éd.) 2001; Hill K. C. (éd.) 1975; Molina A. de 1571; Paso y Troncoso F. del & González Obregón L. (éd.) 1904; Suárez Roca J. L. 1992; Zwartjes O. 1998; Zwartjes O. 2008

Zwartjes, Otto

Création ou mise à jour2017-05