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Arte novissima de lengua mexicana

Tapia Zenteno, Carlos de

DomaineTraditions non-occidentales
SecteurGrammaires amérindiennes [4612]

Internet Archive (éd. 1753)


Tapia Zenteno, Carlos de

Datation: Before 1690 or 1698 - 1770

Tapia Zenteno was born in Mexico, according to Peña Arce in 1698, but In Montejano y Aguiñaga (1985, p. xxv) we read that he was born before 1690. He was a student at the Seminario Tridentino Metropolitano and became “Bachiller” in philosophy in 21 August 21st, 1721. In 1718 he became priest in Tampamolon in the Huastec region, as priest of the secular clergy. After the Arte novissima de lengua mexicana, he wrote also a grammar of Huastec, which was finished in 1746, but published in 1767. He went back to Mexico between 1735 and 1740, where he worked as secretary at the Colegio de San Pablo. He was also “capellán” of the nuns of Santa Inés, As “Clérigo presbítero”, he became “catedrático” at the “Real Universidad de México” in 1749 where he worked until 1770 (Plaza y Jaén 1931), the year when he died according to Plaza y Jaén, but in Peña Arce we find that he died “post 1767”.

Titre de l'ouvrageArte novissima de lengua mexicana, que dictò D. Carlos de Tapia Zenteno
Titre traduitThe most recent grammar of the Mexican language […]
Titre courtArte novissima de lengua mexicana
Remarques sur le titreThe entire title is: Arte novissima de lengua mexicana, que dictò D. Carlos de Tapia Zenteno, Colegial en el Real, y Pontificio Seminario, Cura Beneficiado, que fue de la Diocesis de Tampamolon, Juez Ecclesiastico de la Villa de los Valles, y su Jurisdiccin, Commissariô de el Santo Oficio de la Inquisicion, y su Revisor, Notario Apostolico, Colegial en el Apostolico Colegio de N.P. S. Pedro, Secretario de su muy Illustre Congregacion, Capellan mayor del Religiosissimo Monasterio de Santa Inès, Examinador Synodal general de este Arzobispado, Cathedratico proprietario de Prima de dicha Lengua en la Real Universidad de esta Corte, y primero en el mesmo Real, y Pontificio Colegio Seminario, &c. quien lo saca a luz debajo de la proteccion del Illmo. Sr. Dr. D. Manuel Rubio, Salinas, Del Consejo de Su Magestad, Dignissimo Arzobispo de esta Santa Iglesia de Mexico, por cuyo mandado se erigiò esta nueva Cathedra.
Période|18e s.|
Type de l'ouvrageGrammar of Nahuatl, mainly orthography/phonetics and morphology (morphosyntax). The grammar ends abruptly. No chapters on the indeclinable parts of speech, and no chapters on syntax, “mexicanismos” and no religious texts are included. It is not only a descriptive grammar, since the author includes discussions, different opinions, and he usually mentions his sources which gives this work a more “pre-modern” scientific approach, characteristic for the second half of the 18th century Enlightenment.
Type indexéGrammaire descriptive | Grammaire didactique | Grammaire élémentaire
Édition originale1753, Mexico: Viuda de José Bernardo de Hogal.
Édition utiliséeArchives of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Toronto. University of Tornoto, Call number a7667076.
Volumétrie[20], 58 p., [1] leaf of plates: ill., 21 cm. (in-4°). Ill. inserted after *1 consists of woodcut image of an acrostic in a double circle, with letters spelling out the author's name along the edge; title in double black border, engraved armorial of the dedicatee on leaf.Ca. 19.000 words.
Nombre de signes85000
Reproduction moderne1967, Guadalajara, Jalisco: ed. Edmundo Aviña Levy.
DiffusionReprints: 1885: Museo Nacional de Mexico, Cuaderno 7. Mexico, Imprenta de Ignacio Escalante, Documenta para la Lingüística de la República Mexicana (appendix of Vol. 3.).
Langues ciblesThe Mexican language (Nahuatl)
MétalangueSpanish (Castilian)
Langue des exemplesNahuatl
Sommaire de l'ouvrageAl Illmô S.D. Manuel Rubio Salinas (Br. D. Geronymo Antonio Perez Caro), Parecer (D. Carlos Celedonio Velasquez); Parecer (Joachin Gregorio de Torres); Dictamen (Diego Ossorio); Licencia del Superior Gobierno (Juan Francisco Guemes de Horcasitas); Licencia del Ordinario (Francisco Xavier Gomez de Cervantes); Graphi spes unica (in Latin); Elogio (Miguel Joseph Moche), Epigrama (in Latin); Proemium (in Latin).
Arte de lengua mexicana. Cap. 1: De las Letras con que se escribe, y modos con que se pronuncia (p. 1-4); Cap. 2. De las partes de la oracion (4-7); Cap. 3. Del nombre (7-14),[first section does not have a specific title nor paragraph number, which should be § 1] § 2. De los reverenciales y modo de formarlos (15-16); § 3. De los diminutivos (16-18); § 4. De los generos (18-19); § 5. De los verbales, o que se derivan de verbos (19-20); §6. De comparativos, y superlativos (20-21); Cap. 4. Del Pronombre (21-29); § 1. Quales, y quantos sean los Pronombres (21-28); § 2, De los semipronombres de Verbos intransitivos (28-29); Cap. 5. Del verbo (29-58). § 1. Quantos modos de verbos hai en este Idioma, y sus Conjugaciones (29-40); § 2. De los verbos anomalos, è irregulares (40-49); § 3. Del modo de hacer los passivos, Reflexivos, Compulsivos, y Aplicativos (49-58) Unnumbered paragraph on the last page: Del adverbio (58).
Objectif de l'auteurIn the section “Parecer” which precedes the grammar, Tapia Zenteno tells his readers that so many grammars appeared earlier, which are full of prescriptive rules which leads to confusion (“estan tan llenas de preceptos, y reglas, que no pide su dialecto que no puede dudarse, que embarazan, y confunden mucho a los que se dedican a estudiarlo”). His aim was to write a brief compendium. For linguists today, Carochi wrote the best grammar, but for educational purposes, Carochi's work was not a success, according to Tapia Zenteno. Carochi spent so many pages on the adverb, and such a “prolixidad” is absolutely not necessary. Adverbs have to be treated in a dictionary, as has been observed earlier by Pérez (1713, p. 52).
Intérêt généralTapia Zenteno's linguistic ideas and theories as expressed in his grammars of Huastec and Nahuatl are significant, but remain under-studied until today. His ideas are not predominantly derived from Nebrija, but his theory related to “declensions”, partially derived from Ávila, and inspired by Vossius and Manuel Álvares (p. 8), are a novelty in the history of grammars. He refers also to other sources, such as Calepino (p. 3) Gilberti's Latin grammar, which was never cited by any other missionary grammarian before him.
Parties du discoursTapia Zenteno recognizes only four parts of speech. Nombre (as Mexitli (where “Mexico” is derived from), Pronombre (as Nehuatl (first person singular), Verbo (as Tazotla ‘to love’). Adverbio, as Nican (‘here’) (p. 4). These four parts of speech are relevant, since only they make “compositions” (“solamente hacen especial su composicion, para la perfecta oracion”). The participle, preposition, interjection and conjunction are “missing”. This different approach was probably the reason why he calls his grammar “Arte novissima”. The author also explains why he decided not to consider ‘particles’ as full parts of speech (1753: 6), not in Castilian (he gives examples such as “-eria” which does not signify anything, but when joined with nouns as “pastel” it forms “pastelería”). In Nahuatl, the particle -c has to be treated in the same way, according to Tapia's view as Castilian “-eria”: cf. Ilhuicatl ‘the Heaven’, Ilhuicac ‘in Heaven’, i.e., they are not ‘prepositions’ in the Latin sense (6).
Innovations term.Tapia prefers to talk about “postposition” for Nahuatl, and not “preposition” (p. 5). It is interesting that Tapia uses the term “quatros” (as Pérez: cf. Zwartjes & Flores Farfán 2016). The term is used for speakers of Nahuatl who talk with “barbarismos”, i.e. with heavy influence from Spanish.
Corpus illustratifNahuatl examples, not always translated, as on page 10. No religious texts appended at the end, and no exercises.
Indications compl.
Influence subieTapia mentions Baptista, Galdo Guzmán, Carochi, Vázquez Gastelú, in his Proemium. He did not take only Nebrija as Latin model, but also Manuel Álvarez (p. 8), Gerardus Johannes Vossius (p. 9 sq.), Calepino (p. 3), Charisius (p. 21) and Maturino Gilberto [sic] (= Gilberti): (p. 31).
Influence exercéeIt is not known if his grammar had many followers.
Renvois bibliographiques→ Références
Antochiew M. 1984; Hernández de León-Portilla A. 1988; Lucas R. (éd.) 2003; Márquez de Medina M. 1825 { [1738]}; Montejano y Aguiñaga R. 1985; Plaza y Jaén C. B. 1931; Suárez Roca J. L. 1992; Tapia Zenteno C. de 1767; Viveros G. & Cortés Cejudo V. (éd.) 2010 {Juan José Eguiara y Eguren [1755], p. 485-486}; Zwartjes O. & Flores Farfán J. A. (éd.) 2017

Zwartjes, Otto

Création ou mise à jour2017-05