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Arte de la lengua mexicana

Carochi, Horacio

DomaineTraditions non-occidentales
SecteurGrammaires amérindiennes [4606]

Internet Archive (éd. 1645)


Carochi, Horacio

Datation: 1579?-1662?

Horacio Carochi was born in Florence in 1579 (in other sources 1584 or in 1586; León-Portilla 1983, p. xiii) and died in 1662, according to León-Portilla (ibid.), but in the New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia the year 1666 is mentioned as in Alegre (1956-1960, vol. 2: 250, 650 and vol. 3, p. 265-266).
Carochi entered the Society of Jesus in 1601, where he studied philosophy. He settled first in Tepotzotlán, New Spain. He was ordained priest in 1609. He followed Rincón's grammar closely as his disciple although he was never taught by him personally. In 1644 he became rector of the Colegio Máximo de San Pedro y San Pablo in Mexico, where he completed his Arte de la lengua mexicana. In 1657 he returned to Tepotzotlán, where he stayed until his death five years later. Carochi was proficient in Italian (his mother tongue), Spanish, Latin, Greek and Hebrew and in the New World he was a specialist in Nahuatl and Otomi. He wrote grammars and dictionaries of both languages, but unfortunately the Otomi grammar has been lost (the titles are known: Arte y Vocabulario otomíes and his Vocabulario or Vocabulario otomí, León-Portilla 1983, p. xix-xx).

Titre de l'ouvrageArte de la lengua mexicana con la declaracion de los adverbios della. Al Illustriss. y Reuerendiss. Señor Don Iuan de Mañozca Arçobispo de Mexico, del Consejo de su Magestad, &c. por el padre Horacio Carochi, Rector del Colegio de la Compañía de IESVS de San Pedro, y San Pablo de Mexico
Titre traduitGrammar of the Mexican language. With an explanation of its adverbs. To the most Illustrious and most Reverend Lord don Juan de Mañozca, Archbishop of Mexico City, of his Majesty's Council, etc. By Father Horacio Carochi, Rector of the College of San Pedro y San Pablo of the Company of Jesus in Mexico City
Titre courtArte de la lengua mexicana
Remarques sur le titreEnglish title as translated by Lockhard 2001. It is remarkable that Carochi decided to mention explicitly in the title that the adverbs deserve a prominent place in grammar.
Période|17e s.|
Type de l'ouvrageComplete grammar covering phonology, morphology. The author decided to suppress syntax, but instead he pays much attention to derivation and composition, an attempt to describe the specific typological features of a polysynthetic language like Nahuatl. 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 originale1645, Mexico, por Iuan Ruyz.
Édition utiliséeEd. 1645. John Carter Brown Library: B645. C292a.
Volumétrie[6], 132 leaves, ill.; 19 cm (in-4°); approx. 80.000 words. Woodcut title page, vignette (device of the Society of Jesus), flanked by ‘Año de 1645’; woodcut coat of arms of the dedicatee on leaf [Maltese cross] 5 recto, ornamental initials, tail-pieces (printer's ornaments).
Nombre de signes317000
Reproduction moderneEditions of the Arte of Carochi, 1892, León-Portilla, M. 1983. Translation and edition Lockhart, J. 2001. Compendio: (Paredes, I. 1759) with reprints in 1902, González y Montoya, R.M., 1910, Anonymous, 1979, Macazaga Otoño, C. 1979.
DiffusionAbbreviated version printed in 1759 (Paredes).
Langues ciblesThe Mexican language (the language of the Mexicas) (Nahuatl)
MétalangueSpanish (Castilian)
Langue des exemplesNahuatl with Spanish translation
Sommaire de l'ouvrageLicenses on leaves [Maltese cross] (f. 2-4), dedication on [Maltese cross] (5 r-v), Al Lector on [Maltese cross] (6 r-v). Licencia, written by Garcia Sarmiento de Sotomayor, Conde de Saluatierra. Licencia del Doctor Don Pedro de Barrientos Lomelin. Licencia del Padre prouincial, Francisco Calderon. Parecer del Bachiller Don Bartholome de Alua Beneficiado de Çumpahuacan. Parecer del Padre Balthasar Gonçalez. Illustrissimo Señor – Horacio Carochi. Al lector – Horacio Carochi.
Libro primero de los nombres, pronombres, y preposiciones. Cap. 1. De las letras, y accentos desta lengua (1r-3v). Cap. 2. De las declinaciones de los Nombres (3v-8r). Cap. 3. De cosas tocantes à nombres, y sus declinaciones (8v-10r). Cap. 4. De los semipronombres, y pronombres (10r-15r). Cap. 5. De los pronombres separados (15r-16v). Cap. 6. De las preposiciones (17r-22v).
Libro segundo de los verbos, y conjugaciones. Cap. 1. De algunas aduertencias acerca de las conjugaciones (22v-23v). Cap. 2. Conjugacion del verbo (23v-28r). Cap. 3. Segunda conjugacion gerundiua (28r-30r). Cap. 4. De la formacion de los preteritos (30r-32v). Cap. 5. Del verbo passiuo (32v-35r). Cap. 6. Del verbo impersonal (35r-36v). Cap. 7. De los verbos irregulares, y defectiuos (36v-41v). Cap. 8. De algunas maneras de hablar, con que suplen los Mexicanos las que no tienen propias de la conjugacion latina (41v-43v).
Libro tercero de la derivacion de nombres, y verbos. Cap. 1. De la significacion, y formacion de los nombres verbales en ni. (43v-44v). Cap. 2. De los verbales en ōni. (44v-46r). Cap. 3. De los verbales en tli, y li. (46r-47v). Cap. 4. De los verbales en liztli (47v-48r). Cap. 5. De los verbales que acaban en ōca. (48r-49v). Cap. 6. De los verbales, que significan instrumento, y piden los semipronombres de genitiuos, y de otros verbales, que significan tiempo, y lugar (49v-51v). Cap. 7. De los verbales de terminacion de preterito (51v-52v). Cap. 8. De la significacion, y formacion de los nombres, que se deriuan de otros (52v-54r). Cap. 9. De los nombres en ô, y verbos en oa, y en ōtia (54r-54v). Cap. 10. De los nombres deriuatiuos en huâ y en ê (55r-56r). Cap. 11. De nombres de moradores de Pueblos (56r-57r). Cap. 12. De los verbos, que se deriuan de nombres (57r-60v). Cap. 13. De los verbos compulsiuos (60v-63r). Cap. 14. De los verbos aplicatiuos (63r-66r). Cap. 15. De los verbos reuerenciales (66r-70r). Cap. 16. De vn genero de verbos frequentatiuos (70r-73r). Cap. 17. De los frequentatiuos en ca, y en tza. (73r-75v).
Libro quarto de la composicion de nombres, y verbos, y otras cosas. Cap. 1. De como se componen los nombres entre si, y con los verbos (75v-77r). Cap. 2. De la composicion de vn verbo con otro, con las ligaturas ca, y ti (77r-79r). Cap. 3. De los verbos mati, toca, nequi, nènequi, y tlani (79r-81v). Cap. 4. Como los nombres suelen alterar sus finales quando se juntan con los semipronombres no, mo, &c. (81v-83v). Cap. 5. De la particula . (83v-84r). Cap. 6. De los Mexicanismos, ò maneras de hablar proprias desta lengua (84v-86v). Cap. 7. De los comparatiuos, y superlatiuos (96v-89r).
Libro quinto de los adverbios, y conjunciones de la lengua Mexicana. Cap. 1. De los aduerbios de lugar (89r-94v). Cap. 2. De los aduerbios de tiempo (95r-108r). Cap. 3. De quatro aduerbios, ò conjunciones, que son ic, inic, ça, y çan. (108r-110v). Cap. 4. De aduerbios de affirmar, negar, y dudar (110v-113v). Cap. 5. De varios aduerbios, y conjunciones (113v-126v). Cap. Vltimo. De dicciones, que mudan la significacion, solamente por la variacion del accento (126v-129r).
Indice de erratas (129r). Indice de los libros capitulos, y paragrafos (129v-131v). Indice de las regas generales de la sillaba (132r-132v).
Objectif de l'auteurThe aim of Carochi was to compose a grammar which is easy (‘fácil’), perfect (‘cumplido’) and real (‘verdadero’) (Carochi 1645: ‘Aprobación’, without numbered pages). Carochi refers to three grammars of his predecessors. The only author mentioned by name is Rincón, and probably he refers implicitly to Molina and Galdo Guzmán. These grammars are recognized as “sufficient” and “erudite” (‘docto’), but according to Carochi, had their shortcomings, containing some “obscure” elements (“alguna obscuridad, difficil de vencer”). These difficulties could only be clarified by the assistance of a good teacher. Carochi decided to compose a grammar which had copious examples (“adornado de exemplos”), and “excelent phrases of good authors”. One of the merits of his text, according to the author, is the chapter on the adverbs, lacking completely in other works (“de los quales neque Verbum los demas Autores”).
Intérêt généralCarochi elaborates on Rincón, with improvements, corrections, extensions, etc. (see Smith-Stark 2000). It is significant that Carochi devotes a special chapter to the adverbs and conjunctions (Chapter 5, f. 88v sq.). Carochi argues that he always missed such a chapter in previous grammars – although Olmos and Molina included them, although less comprehensive than Carochi's chapter –, and according to his view, adverbs are as “the nerves of the body, which give force and value to the limbs, and without them, the human body, or any body of an animal, would be useless”. Not knowing them, speech would be as “sand without mortar”. This section is one of the main interests of the work. Although it follows the classical division of adverbs of space, time, etc., it is mainly based on the idiosyncratic features of the Nahuatl language and quite a few observations are interesting for the understanding of the pragmatics of this language. Nevertheless, according to later missionary grammarians of the colonial period, these detailed analyses were too comprehensive for a beginner, and this explains why there was soon a need for more brief introductions into the language. For pedagogical reasons, some learners preferred more abbreviated methods, but today the work is praised by most scholars. The reason why his work was so innovative, was, according to Carochi, that he replaced a chapter on syntax (non-existing in this language, according to his views) by a chapter on composition (“el modo con que unos vocablos se componen con otros”, f. 9v). Carochi reduced the five declensions of the noun to four. Another innovation is the use of diacritics, marking vowel length. His system of diacritics is more consistent and more precise, compared to Rincón's sections on accentuation. Of great philological interest are his examples from traditional Classical Nahuatl, mainly from Sahagún and the Colección de Cantares Mexicanos. Hernández de León-Portilla describes Carochi as “linguist, ethnographer, and above all, humanist in the American world” (1988, p. 71).
Parties du discoursTraditional parts of speech system, ‘extended’ with several subcategories, such as the ‘verbo compulsivo’, ‘aplicativo’, ‘reverencial’, etc. (see the summary above), as in most works of his predecessors.
Innovations term.Carochi adopts the term ‘semipronombre’ and ‘saltillo’, ‘ligatura’ from Rincón, but is more explicit, calling them ‘semipronombres conjugativos’ (f. 14r). Other terms are: ‘Preposiciones compuestas’ (f. 20v), ‘conjugacion gerundiua’ (f. 28r), ‘Mexicanismos’ (f. 84v sq.).
Corpus illustratifThe book does not only include paradigms – which are over-represented in Galdo Guzmán's grammar –, but Carochi also gives many examples, from “buenos Auctores”, with an accompanying translation into Spanish. Among the examples, texts are chosen from the “antiguos cantares mexicanos”, huehuetlahtolli i.e. the poetic language of the ancient Nahuas, and many examples are cited from the work of Bernardino de Sahagón, the Códice florentino (León-Portilla 1983, p. xxviii-xxxi), and in addition, from other religious texts, such as the confessionarios and sermones (ibid., p. xxxiii).
Indications compl.
Influence subieRincón is the main source of Carochi, although he probably knew the works of Molina and Galdo Guzmán. The dictionaries of Molina are considered the most important works on Nahuatl lexicography; the grammar of Carochi is without any doubt the best and most influential work ever published on Nahuatl, due to its meticulousness and comprehensiveness.
Influence exercéeAlmost all authors after Carochi recognize this invaluable work, although some criticized him, claiming that more brief grammars were needed for beginners. During the 18th century learners wished to start learning Nahuatl with briefer work. Paredes decided to publish a Compendio of Carochi's grammar in 1759 which should meet the requirements of the learners.
Renvois bibliographiques→ Références
Alegre F. X. 1956; Canger U. 1997; Carochi H. 1892; Carochi H. & Paredes I. 1759; Carochi H. & Paredes I. 1902; Carochi H. & Paredes I. 1979; González y Montoya R. M. (éd.) 1910; Hernández de León-Portilla A. 1988; Hernández Sacristán C. 1994; Hernández Sacristán C. 2000; León-Portilla M. (éd.) 1983; Lockhart J. (éd.) 2001; Macazaga Otoño C. (éd.) 1979; Smith-Stark T. C. 2000; Smith-Stark T. C. 2005

Zwartjes, Otto

Création ou mise à jour2017-05