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Arte de la lengua mexicana

Sandoval, Rafael

DomaineTraditions non-occidentales
SecteurGrammaires amérindiennes [4618]

Internet Archive (éd. 1810)


Sandoval, Rafael

Datation: † 1817

According to Beristain de Sousa, Rafael Sandoval was born to a noble Indian family descended from Aztec chiefs and noble Spaniards. It is known that he was a parish priest and professor of Nahuatl at the University. The Arte de la lengua mexicana is one of the last grammars to be written before the War for Independence. The edition of Mexico (1810, M. A. Valdés) seems to be a later edition of an earlier work. It contains a statement of doctrine by Ignacio de Paredes at the end (source: Lilly library). As the complete title indicates, he was priest in Chiconquahtla, Ecatzingo and Tetela del Volcan and he also taught Nahuatl at the Real Colegio de Tepotzotlan and at the “Colegio Tridentino Real y Pontificio Colegio” de Mexico. In Paso y Troncoso (2012 [1887]), we do not find the name Rafael Sandoval Tiburcio but Rafael Sandoval y Austria Moctezuma, who was professor at the Real y Pontificia Universidad in Mexico from December 7th, 1809 until 1817. In Villella (2016, p. 297-298), we find a slightly different name: Rafael Tiburcio Sandoval y Moctezuma. These three names refer to the same person. He was also the author of a work entitled Sermones en mexicano.

Titre de l'ouvrageArte de la lengua mexicana
Titre traduitGrammar of the Mexican language
Titre courtArte de la lengua mexicana
Remarques sur le titreThe entire title is: Arte de la lengua mexicana por el Br. en sagrada Teologia D. Rafael Sandoval, Cura propio que fué de los partidos de Chiconquauhtla, Ecatzinco, y Tetela del Volcan, Misionero, y Catedrático de dicha Lengua en el Real Colegio de Tepotzotlan, y actual en la Real y Pontificia Universidad, y en el Tridentino Real y Pontificio Colegio Seminario de esta Corte.
Période|19e s.|
Type de l'ouvrageThe work does not give any information on phonology, only the “letters” are given on the first page. The main part deals with morphology.
Type indexéGrammaire descriptive | Grammaire didactique | Grammaire élémentaire
Édition originale1810, Mexico, En la Oficina de D. Manuel Antonio Valdés.
Édition utiliséeJohn Carter Brown Library: B810. S218a.
Volumétrie[16], 62, [2] p., [1] leaf of plates; 15 cm (in-8°); approx. 9000 words. Engraved image of the Trinity to whom the work is dedicated.
Nombre de signes54000
Reproduction moderne1965, Alfredo López Austin (ed.), Mexico D.F., Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (Serie de Cultura Náhuatl monografías, n° 5).
Diffusion1888, Ramón García Raya (ed.), Mexico, Tipografía “La Reproduccion”. With slightly different title: Chiconquauhtla is spelled as Chiconcuauhtla; Colegio Seminario de México is used instead of Seminario de esta Corte.
Langues ciblesThe Mexican language (Nahuatl)
Langue des exemplesNahuatl
Sommaire de l'ouvrageDedicatoria a la beatísima, inefable y Santísima Trinidad (Sandoval); Misterios muy importantes a la salvacion para los dias festivos (in Nahuatl) containing the sections Teotlaneltoquiliztlachihualli, Netemachiliz tlachihualli and Teotetlazotlaloztlachihualli; Parecer (Josef Rafael de Lara); Licencia del Superior Gobierno (Francico Xavier de Lizana y Beamont); Parecer (Manuel Burgos y Acuña); Licencia del Ordinario (Josef Feliz Flores Alatorre). Silabas que necesariamente deben saberse para la recta pronunciacion del idioma mexicano.
Cap. 1. Del Nombres (p. 1-7); Cap. 2. De los Pronombres y Semipronombres, de Nombres, y de Verbos, (p. 8-16); Cap. 3. Del Verbo (p. 16-34); Cap. 4. De los verbos compulsivos, aplicativos, y reverenciales (p. 35-40); Cap. 5. De los verbos irregulares en algunos tiempos, ó personas (p. 40-47); Cap. 6. Derivacion de nombres abstractos, y formacion de otros, y de verbos con nombres (p. 47-52); Cap. 7. De la posposicion (p. 52-55); Cap. 8. De las conjunciones, y adverbios (p. 56-59); Cap. 9. De la interjection, mexicanismos, y quantidades (p. 59-62). Fe de erratas (p. 63-64)
Objectif de l'auteurThe prologue contains interesting information about the decree of 1770 of King Charles III in which it was decided that priests had to preach in Spanish and that the indigenous tribes had to learn Spanish. In the prologue, the author justifies the use of Nahuatl. According to Sandoval it is unacceptable that Indians learn only by heart some mixed form of Spanish-Nahuatl with solecisms and barbarisms which they do not understand. According to Sandoval, Spanish can be used in those places where they live together with Spaniards (“que viven mezclados con ellos muchos Españoles, ú otras castas”), but there were still many places where Indians lived who did not understand Spanish. The goal of the author was to compose the most comprehensive compendium. In his own words: “determiné formar el presente Compendio del idioma mexicano, que es el mas extendido, recogiendo de los mejores Maestros y Escritores de él”. His aim was not to write a too elaborate grammar, and not too brief: “ni tan abultado que retraiga su lectura, ni tan corto que no forme un cabal idioma, que breve y facilmente pueda haber sificiencia para explicar nuestros sagrados Misterios sin error ni impropriedad”.
Intérêt généralIt is a short compendium with some elementary information and it does not seem to have been of great interest outside the teaching circles of the University. As Bernabé Páez and Manuel Pérez, professors of the university composed their own grammars for their students. Some observations are so brief that it is doubtful if students understood what they meant, as his description of the ‘applicative’ verb, where he authors says “si el paciente fuere parte interior, y compusiere con el verbo no se hará aplicativo” (p. 38). The term “passion interior/ exterior/ intrínsico/ extrinseco” has a long history in the grammars of Nahuatl, starting with Olmos, but without context, the rule given by Sandoval seems quite enigmatic.
Parties du discoursTraditional eight parts of speech. It is unusual to treat the conjunctions and adverbs together in the same chapter (p. 56). The same applies for Chapter IX (p. 59) where the interjection, “mexicanismos” and “quantidades” are put together in the same chapter.
Innovations term.Where most grammar use the term “pronombre separado” for nehuatl, tehuatl, etc., Sandoval uses the term “pronombres substantivos”. Sandoval uses the term “posposicion” instead of “preposicion” (p. 52): “Llamo posposicion á la que se llama preposicion en la latinidad, porque como en ella se antepone á los nombres, asi en este idioma se pospone en la forma siguiente”.
Corpus illustratifNahuatl. Not only paradigms are given but also “examples” as separate sections where related topics are dealt with.
Indications compl.
Influence subieSandoval does not mention any name explicitly, but he composed his compendium from the best masters and authors (“recogiendo de los mejores Maestros y Escritores de él”), telling that he checked the rules in practice (“cotejando sus reglas con la practica”).
Influence exercéeIt seems that it was not a work of great importance, but it could have some pedagogical value for beginners.
Renvois bibliographiques→ Références
Beristáin y Souza J. M. 1947; Paso y Troncoso F. del 1887; Villella P. B. 2016

Zwartjes, Otto

Création ou mise à jour2017-05