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Arte de la lengua mexicana

Ávila, Francisco de

DomaineTraditions non-occidentales
SecteurGrammaires amérindiennes [4611]
Liens

Internet Archive (éd. 1717)

Auteur(s)

Ávila, Francisco de

Datation: 1672-ca 1738

Almost nothing is known about Francisco de Ávila. He was a priest of the order of Saint Francis (O.F.M.) and he was lector in Nahuatl and had several functions in Franciscan institutions.

Titre de l'ouvrageArte de la lengua Mexicana, y breves platicas de los mysterios de N. Santa Fee Catholica, y otras para exortación de su obligación á los Indios
Titre traduitGrammar of the Mexican language and brief dialogues of the mysteries of our Holy Catholic Faith and others for the exhortation of their obligation (to confess) of the Indians
Titre courtArte de la lengua mexicana
Remarques sur le titreThe entire title page is: Arte de la lengua Mexicana, y breves platicas de los mysterios de N. Santa Fee Catholica, y otras para exortación de su obligación á los Indios. Compuesto por el P.F. Franciso de Ávila, Predicador, Cura Ministro por su Magestad del Pueblo de la Milpan, y Lector del Idioma Mexicano, del Orden de los Menores de N.P. San Francisco. Dedicalo al M.R.P. F. Ioseph Pedrasa, Predicador General Iubilado, Qualificador del Santo Officio de la Inquisicion, Padre de las Provincias de San Pedro, y San Pablo de Michoacan, y Zacatecas, Ex-Ministro Provincial, y Padre mas digno de la de Xalisco; y Vice Comissario General de todas las Provincias de Nueva España, è Islas Philippinas [Grammar of the Mexican language and brief dialogues of the mysteries of our Holy Catholic Faith and others for the exhortation of their obligation (to confess) of the Indians, composed by Father Francisco de Ávila, preacher and minister by order of the Majesty in the town of Milpan, Lecturer in the Mexican language of the Order of Saint Francis, dedicated to the Father José Pedrasa, retired General Preacher, “qualifier” of the Saint Office of the Inquisition, Father of the Provinces San Pedro and San Panlo, Michoacán and Zacatecas, ex-Minister of the Province, and the very dignified Father of the province of Jalisco, and Vice-General ‘Comissario’ of all the Provinces of New Spain and the Philippines].
Période|18e s.|
Type de l'ouvrageComplete grammar covering phonology (short section on one page), morphology and with specific attention for syntax (how to use the parts of speech in a phrase?). A bilingual section entitled “Pláticas” (Spanish-Nahuatl) is appended and consists of a substantial part of the entire work, compared with the brief grammatical section.
Type indexéGrammaire descriptive | Grammaire didactique | Grammaire élémentaire
Édition originale1717, Mexico, Herederos de la Viuda de Miguel de Ribera Calderón en el Empedradillo.
Édition utiliséeJohn Carter Brown Library: B717. A958a.
Volumétrie[13], 36, [1] folios; 15 cm (in-8°). Ca. 10.000 words (paratexts and “pláticas” excluded).
Nombre de signes60000
Reproduction moderneNone.
Diffusion
Langues ciblesThe Mexican Language (Nahuatl). It describes Nahuatl as it was spoken in Milpa Alta, a variety which comes close to “Classical Nahuatl”
MétalangueSpanish
Langue des exemplesNahuatl
Sommaire de l'ouvrageFee de Erratas; Dedicatoria (by Francisco de Avila); Sentir (Manuel Pérez); Parecer (Ioseph de Torres Pezellin); Suma de licencias; Aprobacion (Ognacio Garcia de Figueroa; Licencia de la Religion (Joseph de Pedrasa, por mandado de Joseph Antonio de Castañeda; Al pio Lector (Franciso de Avila).
Arte de la lengua mexicana, distrbuydo por las ocho partes de la Oracion. [starts with a section on orthography and pronunbication, no numbered paragraph] (f. 1r-v). Cap. 1. Del Nombre Mexicano (1v-5v), containing unnumbered paragraphs entilted: “Las declinaciones de los nombres son cinco” (3r-5r), Exemplo de los Comparativos, y Superlativos (5r-v). Cap. 2. De las Preposiciones (5v-8v); Cap. 3 De los Pronombres (primitivo, semipronombre, conjugativo, reflexivo, possessivo, passivo, è interrogativo) (8v-10v); Cap. 4. Del Verbo (arranged alphabetically according to their endings [“finales”]), including a paragraph on “Notas Universales” dealing with the “particles” Tla, Te, Ne), Vos [sic] Subjuntiva (10v-16v); Cap. 5. De los Participios (16v-23v), with unnumbered sections entitled “Tiempos de ir, y venir, Tiempos de siendo, y haviendo)”; Cap. 6: De los Advervios (23v); Cap. 7. De la Interjeccion (23v); Cap. 8: De las conjunciones y disjunciones (23v-24r); Cap. 9. Y vltimo del modo de construir y formar oraciones (24r-27v) with a subsection entitled “Modo de formar Oraciones” with “Exemplos”.
Another section is appended, outside the Arte, entitled “Platicas” (Bilingual texts Spanish-Nahuatl).
– Platicas para hazer a los Indios Feligreses, tocantes à la Doctrina, y otras cosas que comunmnete se ofrece hablar, y advertirles, principalmente quando entran de nuevo para administrarlos (28r-v),
– Platicas que se pueden hazer para que se examinen, y confiessen bien los Indios, y no callen culpas (28v-29r),
– Platica exortatoria para que no callen culpa en la Cõfession (29r-31r),
– Platica para mover a Contricion (31r-32v),
– Platica para exortar a resevir con pureza la Sagrada Comunion (32v-34r),
– Instruccion para enseñar lo que se resive en la Hostia (34r-35r),
– Platica para dar a entender ay vn solo Dios Trino en persona, y vno en Essentia (35r-36r),
– Modo de explicar el Mysterio del Nacimiento (36r-v),
– Platica para explicar el Mysterio de la Encarnacion (36v-[37r]) (no numbered folios),
– Explicacion de lo que es el Sacrificio Santo de la Missa ([37r-v]).
Objectif de l'auteurAccording to the author, students needed at least one year to learn Nahuatl. With his Arte they should be able to learn it in six months.
Intérêt généralThe work starts with one page about pronunciation and orthography, followed by the eight parts of speech. The author adds that he will pay particularly attention to how to make sentences (syntax): “otros tantos Capitulos, Añadiendole vno, que serà el modo de Construir, y formar Oraciones” (f. 1v). There are other grammarians who include “platicas” but not so many as Ávila did. Manuel Pérez, am author of a Nahuatl grammar himself published his Arte four years earlier, in 1713. He wrote a section entitled “Sentir” (ed. Zwartjes & Flores Farfán, 2016) where he says that Ávila's works contains “New Light with much curiosity, and much abbreviated novelties” (“Nueva luz con mucha curiosidad… con mucha novedad abreviada”). Where other authors spent many folios, Ávila was able to compose a compact edition. It is also a pleasure to read (“mucha curiosidad conque deleytar”), it contains many rules and much “doctrinal texts” (Ávila 1717, “Sentir” written by the Augustinian Pérez).
Another significant contribution is the author's interest in etymology, as occurs in the work of his master Pérez, who observes the same in his prologue to his Arte. The interesting observations, antedate Ferdinand de Saussure (1857-1913) and Charles Sanders Pierce (1839-1914) theory about the arbitrariness of the sign (relation between signifier and the signified) is already found in the paratext, written by José de Torres Pezellín, who uses the term “signo ad placitum”. He gives the example of the name of the river “Guadalquivir”, which is the same river as the “Betis”. The Mexican language, according to his view, also has such “signos ad placitum”, citing the term Quaatequia, the Nahuatl equivalent for “baptizar”, discussed by Pérez in his Farol (Zwartjes & Flores Farfán 2016).
Another contribution of Ávila's work is, according to García de Figueroa, author of an “Aprobación” that it contains the ancient Huehue tlatolli (“ò Mexicano viejo, con gran destreça, y co[n]cicion de palabras”).
An important, and not sufficiently studied, is Ávila's section “modo de formar Oraciones” (25v), which has a specific didactic approach to how to make an entire phrase in Nahuatl, translating from Spanish, together with “exercises”. Such “exercises” are a novelty in Mexican grammars.
Parties du discoursEight parts of speech: Nombre, Pronombre, Verbo, Participio, Preposission, Adverbio, Interjeccion y Conjuncion, as in Latin (f. 1r-v).
Innovations term.No substantial innovations, apart from the term “Notas vniversales”(f. 14v), which are the prefixes marking Direct object animate and inanimate te and tla and indefinite ne. It is remarkable that “subjunctive” is traditionally a “mode” of the verb, but Ávila calls it “voice”. Usually, we find “conjunctions” as independent part of speech. Ávila describes “Conjunctions and Disjunctions” (disjuncion) together in the section devoted to this eighth part of speech. Although the terms are not a terminological innovation, we find usually in grammars of Nahuatl only the “conjunction” as title of such a paragraph. Ávila gives also the corresponding definitions: Conjunción: “traba y ata las oraciones” (“joins and binds phrases”); Disjunción: “separa vna oracion de otra” (“separates one phrase from another”) (f. 23v-24r).
Corpus illustratifNahuatl examples. The exercises in the section “Modo de formar oraciones” contain examples (f. 25v) with religious content.
Indications compl.
Influence subieÁvila tells his readers that his work was inspired by Alonso de Molina, Horacio Carochi, Agustín Vetancurt and Manuel Pérez. He considers Manuel Pérez as his “master” (“maestro”). Tapia Zenteno discusses in his grammar of Huastec (1767, p. 5) Ávila's theory about declensions. “cada nombre puede ser de las cinco declinaciones, y cada declinacion de cada nombre” (Ávila 1717, f. 3r).
Influence exercéeThe work was put before the Inquisition in 1744, since it would contain heretic elements, probably in the section “Instrucion para enseñar lo que se resive en la hostia” (León Rivera 1996).
Renvois bibliographiques→ Références
Hernández de León-Portilla A. 1988; León Rivera J. de 1996; Tapia Zenteno C. de 1767; Zwartjes O. & Flores Farfán J. A. (éd.) 2017
Rédacteur

Zwartjes, Otto

Création ou mise à jour2017-05