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Arte de la lengua matlazinga

Basalenque, Diego

DomaineTraditions non-occidentales
SecteurGrammaires amérindiennes [4662]

Internet Archive (éd. 1640)

Repositorio Institucional del Tecnológico de Monterrey (éd. 1640)


Basalenque, Diego

Forme complète: Basalenque, Diego Serrano Cardona de

Datation: 1577-1651

Diego [Serrano Cardona de] Basalenque was born in Salamanca, July 25th, 1577. He moved with his parents to Mexico when he was nine years old. He studied first with the Jesuits and later he entered the order of Saint Augustin (O.S.A.). He worked in several missions, such as San Luis, Valladolid and Charo. He taught Grammar, Philosophy, Theology, and indigenous languages. He learned Greek and Hebrew from Bishop Gonzalo de Hermosillo of Guadiana (1560-1631) (Eguiara y Eguren 2010 [1755-1763], p. 814). He was appointed as lector in philosophy in Yurirapándaro and Valladolid and taught theology in Zacatecas He started learning Matlatzinca in 1637 when he was 60 years old. He knew – apart from Matlatzinca and Purépecha – Italian, Spanish, Latin, Greek and Hebrew, Nahuatl and Pirinda, in total four indigenous languages, belonging to three completely distinct families. In 1612 he became “secretario de la provincia” and he wrote grammars of Matlaltzinca and P'urhépecha and one of his main historical works is his Historia de la provincia de San Nicolás Tolentino Michoacán, del orden de san Agustín (1673), reprints in 1886 (México, Tipografía Barbedillo y compañía, edición de la “voz de México”) and in 1963. For more biographical details, see Salguero (1664) and Warren (2007, p. 177-188).

Titre de l'ouvrageArte de la lengua matlazinga
Titre traduitGrammar of the Matlazinga language
Titre courtArte de la lengua matlazinga
Remarques sur le titreComplete title: Arte de la lengua matlazinga mui copioso y assi mismo una suma y arte abrebiado compuesto todo por el padre maestro fray Diego Basalenque, de la orden de nuestro padre S. Augustin, de la prouincia de Michoacan. anno 1640. There are sections with independent title pages: Arte de la lengua Matlalçinga abrebiado (this title pages is found in the JCB copy, it is missing in the Ms Monterrey). Arte de la lengua Mataltzinga compuesta por el Padre Maestro fr. Diego Basalenque de N.P.S. Augustin de la Provincia de Michoacan anno 1640. In the JCB copy the vocabulary is not included, but in the MS of Monterrey we find a section entitled “Vocabulario de la lengua Matlaltzinga: buelto en la castellana, por el Padre Maestro fr. Diego Basalenque de la orden de N.P.S. Agustin de la prouinçia de Michoacan anno 1642” (f. 123r).
Période|17e s.|
Type de l'ouvrageManuscript. The work opens with an “arte de la lengua Matlatçinga abrebiado” (“arte menor”), not included in Manrique's edition of 1975, followed by a “cartilla”, followed by a grammar. After the grammar, preceding the dictionary, Basalenque appends a “tratado de la partículas de la lengua Matlaltzinga”, an alphabetically arranged list of “particulas antespuestas, interpuestas y pospuestas”. Some particles are described in the “treatise” and are also included in the dictionary (as ca “que es partícula que significa tiempo” f. 97r and 130v). The dictionary consists of two parts, Castellano-Matlazinca (ca. 10.000 entries) and Matlazinca-Castellano (ca. 4.300 entries, Manrique 1975, p. xx).
Type indexéGrammaire descriptive | Grammaire didactique | Grammaire élémentaire | Lexique
Édition originaleOn the front page of the ms. of the John Carter Brown library, the year 1640 is given for the Arte. On the front pages of the two parts of the dictionary (vocabulario) the year 1642 is given. The ms. which has been used by the editors Bribiesca and Manrique (Colección antigua, vol. 177, Archivo Histórico de la Biblioteca Nacional de Antropología e Historia) has the year 1644 at the end of the vocabulary. The ms. is completed in 1640, but the work is mentioned earlier in the Arte doctrinal y modo general de aprender la lengua matlaltzinga of another Agustinian, Miguel de Guevara, dated 1638. This means that the work of Basalenque was already in circulation in this year.
Édition utiliséeMs. John Carter Brown (JCB). Ms. Monterrey (complementary to each other).
VolumétrieMs. John Carter Brown: [xv, 129] leaves; 22 cm. (in-4°). Ms. Monterrey: 20.5 x 16 cm – 463 leaves. 400.000 characters spaces not included (excl. the dictionary).
Nombre de signes400000
Reproduction moderne1975, Bribiesca, M. E. & Manrique, L. (eds.).
DiffusionThe work is completed around 1638 or even earlier, but was published for the first time in 1975
Langues ciblesMatlaltzinga (matlazinca, matalçingo, matlazinga, Otomanguean, subfamily of the Otopamean language). In Matlazinca the glottonym is Pjiekak'joo. Five ethnic groups of the “Naturales” who speak the Matlazinca language are according to Basalenque the Nentambati, Nepinthathuhui, Matlaltzingos, Pirindas and Charenses (Prólogo, Monterrey f. 17r). In glossa 48, Matlatzinca is compared with “tarasca”. (The infinitive is lacking, although it exists in Tarascan (P'urépecha). This means that Basalenque already had some ideas about Tarascan, although he tells his readers in the prologue of his Tarascan grammar, that he started to learn that language after he had finished his studies on Matlazinca
MétalangueSpanish (español is used [Ms Monterrey f. 21r]) and “castellano” (as in the title of the vocabulary and f. 27r)
Langue des exemples
Sommaire de l'ouvrageArte de la lengua Matlalçinga abrebiado [brief grammar] [no numbered folios in the Ms JCB, but this title page is missing in the Monterrey Ms, where this section has folio number 1-16r.
Arte de la lengua Matlaltzinga. Prologo del nombre y ser de la lengua Matlaltzinga (f. 1r-3r); Cartilla Matlaltzinga (JCB, f. 3v-9r); this section is missing in the MS Monterrey. [From here, the folionumbers refer to the JCB Manuscript].
1a parte de la oracion. Nombre (f. 19r-23v). Cap. 1. del nombre sustantiuo y appellatiuo; Cap. 2. Del nombre verbal deribatiuo; Cap. 3. Del nombre adiectiuo (f. 22v-23v).
2a parte de la oracion. Pronombre (f. 23v-48v). Cap. 4. De los pronombres yo-tu-aquel; Cap. 5. Del nombre possesiuo; Cap. 6. Del nombre possesiuo no viuiente; Cap. 7. del possesiuo intrinseco de parte; Cap. 8. del possessiuo intrinseco de la accion de la p[resent]e; Cap. 9. del possessiuo Viuiente irracional; Cap. 10. del possessiuo Verbal; Cap. 11. del possessiuo de parientes; Cap. 12. de la pluralidad de los possessiuo Viuientes irracionales; Cap. 13. de la pluralidad de los possessiuos Verbales; Cap. 14. de la pluralidad de los possesiuo de parientes; Cap. 15. Relacion de possesion de cosa que tienen entre si las tres personas; Cap. 16. Relacion de possesion de officios que tienen entre si las tres personas; Cap. 17. Relacion de possesion de parentescos que tienen entre si las tres personas; Cap. 18. del nombre possitiuo, comparatiuo, y superlatiuo; Cap. 19. del nombre deriuatiuo exageratiuo y diminutiuo; Cap. 20. del nombre numeral; Cap. 21. del nombre ordinal; Cap. 22. del nombre partitiuo los animados; del nombre partitiuo inanimados, collectiuos, demonstratiuos.
3 parte de la oracion. Verbo (48v-86r). Cap. 23: de la primera conjugacion; 2a conjugacion; Cap. 24. de la 3, conjugacion; Cap. 26. (25 is missing): de la 4a conjugacion; Cap. 27. De la 5a conjugacion; Cap. 28. De la 6. Coniugacion. Verbo ligado; Cap. 29. Del verbo frequentatiuo; Cap. 30. del Verbo compa[ra]tiuo; Cap. 31. De los Verbos deffectiuos.
4 parte de la oracion Participio (f. 79v-85v).
5 parte de la oracion preposicion (f. 86r-87v). [Cap. 32] Alphabetical list Matlaltzinca-Spanish of «prepositions» (according to Basalenque's classification) (most grammars of this period have alphabetical lists Spanish- (or Latin) > indigenous language. The prepositions are also given in context with phrases as examples). Preposiciones indeclinables; preposicion declinable.
6 parte de la oracion. Adverbio (f. 87v-94r) (alphabetically Matlaltzinga-Spanish and thematically arranged) Cap. 33. De los modos de adueruios (de preguntar, negar, demostratiuos, affirmatiuos, de tiempo, de lugar.
7 parte de la oracion. Interjeccion (f. 94r-v). Cap. 34 de la interjeçion.
8 parte de la oracion. Coniuncion (f. 94v). De la coniuncçion y disjuncçiom [sic]. Tratado de las particulas de la lengua Matlaltzinga (f. 94v-112v). Modos y frases particulares desta lengua matlaltzinga; Las partes y miembros del cuerpo humano y animales; Nombres de deffectos y enfermedades del cuerpo; Nombres de algunos pueblos bueltos en matlaltzingo; Nombres de parentescos; Suplementos al Arte (f. 127r-129r).
Objectif de l'auteurThe “arte abreviado” is written for beginners to start to speak (“podran començar a hablar”). In the Arte Basalenque states that with this work, a learner will be provided with sufficient material to preach (“bastante para predicar”) as a separate title page.
Intérêt généralFirstly, I will comment on the pedagogical features and innovations. Basalenque introduces a term in his grammar, which is not used in other grammars. Instead of the sections which are often labelled as “advertencias”, “notas”, “reglas”, Basalenque introduces the term “glosa”. In the entire grammar the paradigms are followed by comments in these numbererd “glosses”. Basalenque gives the etymology of the word (‘language’ in Greek), but “glosses in books are instructors who teach what is in the text” (“maestros que enseñan lo que esta en el texto”, f. 19v, glosa 1). They are replacing the real language instructors, so that everyone will be able to learn the language without “masters” (ibid.). Basalenque also explains how he structured his grammar, using paragraphs, and when they are large, numbers are used (“contiene treinta y seis [glosas]: y cada glossa se divide en §§ y si este es grande, se divide en numeros”). In the cartilla Basalenque gives the pronunciation and articulatory description of each letter of the alphabet. Special attention to aspirations, and possible confusions (as between "d" and "r"). Basalenque's grammar mainly treats morphology, and the verb is the most important section. Different from most other grammarians of this period, Basalenque includes a relatively large amount of theory, such as, as for instance, the section demonstrating how he classified verbs according to the different declensions. The use of hyphens throughout the grammar is a great step forwards for this early period. These hyphens indicate the borders between what we call “morphemes” today, and Basalenque uses this system with great precision (for instance on f. 35v: Cax-qui-ni-tu-nigtta-qui-caqui “tu eres mi vida”). In the prologue to his grammar, Basalenque also comments on the dissimilarity between the two languages on the semantic level. The compilation of an independent “treatise” on particles collocated between the grammar and the dictionary is a novelty. Basalenque tells in detail how he compiled his dictionary. The section Spanish-Matlazinca was an easy task. With our Spanish dictionary (“nuestro vocabulario”) he went to the bilingual natives (“los Naturales mas ladinos”) and started asking for the translations. It was much more complicated to make the inverted section Matlazinca-Spanish. Basalenque found a solution and the structure of the entries of the dictionary Matlazinca-Spanish is unique in New Spain. When the indigenous language comes first, agglutinative languages with mainly suffixes do not cause serious problems for the lexicographer compiling a dictionary, since the root always comes first. Matlazinca, according to Basalenque, is different since it uses “iniciales”. The infinitive is non-existent, so this form could not be used as citation form of lemma. Basalenque's dictionary uses three vertical columns preceding the entry in question, where he fills in the prefixes which can be combined with the root.Nouns often take ca, hue, huebe, huebu, huebete, etc. (2a regla, prologo, f. 123v) and verbs can take one (as qui), two (for instance (qui-tu) or three (as in qui-tu-tu), depending on which conjugation they belong to, according to Basalenque's theory. Some verbs can belong to several conjugations, as the root tzitzi (to eat), and from this root, nouns can be derived. In Basalenques' dictionary this is rendered as follows: qui tu tzitzí ‘yo como cosa de fruta’; qui tu tu tzitzí ‘yo doy de comer a otro’; qui tu te tzitzí ‘yo me como’; in tzitzí ‘la comida’ (f. 124r). Basalenque explains in the prologue of his dictionary how he decided to organise his dictionary according to these “initials” in great detail. Another feature of Matlatzinca also had consequences for the structure of the dictionary. Matlatzinca does not have syllables containing a “hexagram”, as in Latin stirps or “digrams” or “trigrams” as in Spanish “braço, negro”. In Matlazinca the alpabetical order of the entries is determined by “digrams” only which have the structure CVCV. The digraph /th/ is considered as one letter, and the entries are organised as follows: Tha, tha ante c, tha ante d, etc. and than The, The ante B, The ante C, etc. Thi ante A, Thi ante B, etc.
Parties du discoursAs in all “elegant” languages, Matlazinca has eight parts of speech, nombre, pronombre, verbo, participio, preposicion, aduerbio, interieccio, coniuncio (f. 10). It does not happen often that missionary grammarians of this period explain and reflect upon the main differences between the indigenous language under study and Latin. The five first parts of speech are easy, and there are even less prepositions in Matlazinca than in Latin, since many different ones in Latin can be expressed by the same preposition. The language is abundant in adverbs, and in the three first parts of speech (noun, pronoun and verb) Matlatzinca has a high degree of sophistication (“artificio”), the noun has three numbers (including the dual, as in Greek), the possessives deserve special to be mentioned as the most sophisticated (“lo más artificiosa”) and the verb has its special difficulties, three conjugations (although in glossa 39 we see that he distinguishes six conjugations, f. 51v), defective verbs and in particular verbs are combined with “partículas antepuestas, interpuestas y pospuestas”. The criteria for the division in conjugations are based on the personal prefixes. The first conjugation is the “verb” sum es fui, the second are the verbs “que dizen passion y qualidad en el Alma y cuerpo”; all the passives of active verbs follow the second declension, which take the prefixes tu-tu-. The third and fourth conjugation are based on the distinction “immanente” and “transeunte”, the third conjugation takes the prefixes tu-te (“immanent action”) has the pattern “yo doi de comer a otro”, “azoto a otro” and the fourth is reflexive (“yo doi de comer a mi”, “me puedo azotar ami”). The latter is called an “action volutiva”.
Innovations term.“Dual” (passim). The author compares the Dual with Greek (§ 2) Not an innovation, but not frequent in Mesoamerican languages, except for some other languages, such as Mazahua and Mixe. In Matlatzinca dual is used both with nouns and verbs (Monterrey f. 21v). “Pronombre posesivo no viviente” (f. 17r). The distinction “living” versus non-living is not frequent in missionary grammars in this period, although Basalenque is not the only one (cf. Albornoz's grammar of Chiapanec). “Regla de ligadura” (glossa 7, f. 25r). “Posesivo intrínseco de per se / extrínseco” (f. 28r-29r). “Possesiuo viuiente y raçional” [sic] (f. 30r). “Posesivo viviente irracional” (f. 19v). “Posesivo verbal” (f. 20r). “Nombre exagerativo” (f. 37r). “Partitivos animados sueltos”. “Partitivos inanimados sueltos”. “Verbo ligado” (f. 82v). “Verbo comparativo” (f. 83v). “Preposiciones indeclinables” (f. 86v) vs “preposiciones declinables” (f. 87v). Basalenque admits that “prepositions are always indeclinables”, regarding “case”, but they are “declinable” regarding “person” (“por personas”). “Particulas antepuestas, interpuestas, pospuestas” (f. 92v). “Relativo” (with the meaning of “verbal prefix” (passim). Interpossisión” (glosa 65, f. 83v, 95r). “Adverbiales” (glossa 70, f. 94r) They are not mere “adverbs” but “locuçuiones sueltas y adverbiales”). “Particulas iniciativas”. “Partículas iniciales”. “Immanente y transeúnte” (glosa 44, f. 63r) (as “Acción volutiva o devolutiva o recíproca”). The term “transeúnte” is not frequently used in other Mesoamerican grammars of this period, but Aldama y Guevara deals with the so-called “Pronombres conjugativos de verbo transeunte” (1754, § 90) “Palabara reuerençial” (used for addressing to God, f. 101r).
Corpus illustratifMatlatzinga examples are sometimes translated literally, as in paragraph 4 (Ms Monterrey f. 27r) where Basalenque observes that in Latin possesives are placed before the noun, as in Castilian (“su Padre”), but in Castilian, the possessor is also collocated after the noun, as in “el capote de Pedro”. In Matlazinca, possessives are placed before and after the noun at the same time (“esta lengua antepone y pospone juntamente, vg. Padre de Padres dise hue ro rintami nentaa que en mal lenguage nuestro dise el de los Padre Padres” (ibid.).
Indications compl.Basalenque tells in his prologue that he started to learn the otomagean language when he was 60 years old, and that he needed three years to complete it.
Influence subieBasalenque tells us in his prologue that there were no grammars, dictionaries, and when he turned 60 years old, he learned the language only with the help of a “little notebook” (“cuadernito”) written by a certain fray Franciso de Acosta (f. 18v), which has been lost.
Influence exercéeFirstly, the question can be raised of whether Basalenque's grammar of Matlazinca has had any influence on his grammar of P'urépecha. The answer is negative. The latter follows an entirely different structure and was not modelled on his Matlazinca grammar. In the Arte doctrinal y modo general de aprender la lengua matlaltzinga Miguel de Guevara quotes Basalenque. He observes that in the Matlaltzinga language, there are only three cases, in agreement with the Arte of Basalenque (“En esta lengua parece no haber más de tres casos, y sacada la raíz de las declinaciones de lons nombre, conforme al arte de nuestro maestro Fr. Diego Basalenque”) (Guzmán Betancourt 2001).
Renvois bibliographiques→ Références
Basalenque D. 1640; Basalenque D. 1673; Basalenque D. 1714; Bribiesca M. E. & Manrique Castañeda L. (éd.) 1975 {vol. 33}; Bribiesca M. E. & Manrique Castañeda L. (éd.) 1975 {vol. 34}; Castro A. de 1557; Eguiara y Eguren J. J. 1755; Guevara M. de 1862; Guzmán Betancourt I. 2001; Lastra Y., Pascasio Montijo E. T. & Valiñas L. (éd.) 2017; Manrique Castañeda L. (éd.) 1975 {vol. 34}; Manrique Castañeda L. 1975 {vol. 33}; Navarrete N. P. (éd.) 1970; Pascasio Montijo E. T. 2017; Salguero P. 1664; Warren J. B. 2007; Zwartjes O. 2019; Zwartjes O. 2020 {à paraître}

Zwartjes, Otto

Création ou mise à jour2019-12 | 2017-05