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Modo breve de aprender el Idioma Othomi

Sánchez de la Baquera, Juan

ChapitreTraditions non-occidentales
Sous-chapitreGrammaires amérindiennes [4653]
Fac-similé(s)BYU Library (Ms 1747)
BYU Library (Ms 1751)
Nom de l'auteurSánchez de la Baquera, Juan
Datation de l'auteurfl.. 1747
Biographie de l'auteurAlmost nothing is known about Juan Sánchez de la Baquera (dates of birth and death unknown), author of Modo breve de aprender â ler, escrevir, pronunciar, y ablar el Idioma Othomi, except that he was born in Spain and that he was “Clérigo secular de Tula”. Even the anonymous author of the Luces (1767), which was completed a couple of decades after Sánchez de la Baquera completed his work, did not know we he was, except that he was a secular priest who had worked in Tula. When Sánchez de la Baquera introduces the Arte, which follows the first section about orthography and pronunciation, he informs his readers that he has not studied “grammar” (“no he estudiado gramatica”) and that he does not know a single Latin verb (“no sé ni un verbo en latín”). It is remarkable that Sánchez de la Baquera gives some rules related to Latin on page 48 (“y si en latín hay tiempos de Me, Te, Se, aquí hay de Me Te, Se,”). In spite of his limited knowledge of Latin grammar, the author was praised by the anonymous author of the “Luces” for his fluency in Otomi and for being an excellent language instructor for his students, who in their turn authored several treatises and vocabularies on Otomi, whose original manuscripts have been lost, but survived in summaries and extracts in the anonymous Luces.
Titre de l'ouvrageModo breve de aprender â ler, escrevir, pronunciar, y ablar el Idioma Othomi
Titre traduitBrief method for learning to read, to write, to pronounce and to speak the Otomi language
Autre titreModo breve de aprender el Idioma Othomi
Remarques sur le titreComplete title of the Ms 1747: Modo breve de aprender â ler, escrevir, pronunciar, y ablar el Idioma Othomi, en el qual se cõtiene su Ortographia, Arte, y modo de conjugar, i un confecionario con Examen de conciencia. Dispuesto por Juan Sanchez de la Baquera Español Natural, y vezino de el Pueblo de Tula, quien reberente lo dedica a los Dulcicimos Nombres de Jesus, María y Joseph. The Ms (1751) has a different title and includes different doctrinal texts: Luz y guya para leer, escrebyr, pronuncyar y saber la lengua Othomy en que se contienen, ortographia, arte, bocabulario, oraciones, doctrina, confesonario, manual, y tres milenios principales de nuestra santa fe con sus exemplos, dyspuesta por Ivan Sanches de la Baquera Español nacional y besino de el pueblo del señor San Joseph de Tula, que reberente, y humilde dedica a la soberana emperatris de los cielos y patrona de toda esta Nueva España Marya Santysyma de Guadelupe en el año de 1751; septimo traslado que se sacó de su original de la misma letra del autor, y si hubiere aquien le agrade a de dar por el, el valor de una mortaja de nuestra serafico padre Sn. Francisco. The grammatical sections in these copies are more or less identical, but have some interesting differences. The Ms 1751 also has a « dedicatoria » at the beginning of the manuscript, entitled « Soberana reina y señora » (The Holy virgin Mary of Guadelupe), which is not included in the 1747 version.
Type de l'ouvrageMs 1747: Otomi grammar and vocabulary. The first 58 pages are grammatical notes in Spanish arranged in numbered paragraphs with sample paradigms (conjugations of the verb tenses in Otomi). Pages 59-108 contain three Spanish-Otomi vocabulary lists of adverbs, verbs and nouns. The confession mentioned in the title and on p. 108 is not included in this copy.
Ms 1751: According to the information from the catalogue of the library (L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University), this version contains a manual comprising three parts, but these sections are not numbered as such. The Ms contains an Arte, with two unnumbered sections devoted to orthography and phonology and a second to elementary grammatical rules, followed by a Vocabulary and a “Confessionario”. The first 41 pages of the grammatical section do not have chapter titles or headers of paragraphs or subsections. In the first 6 pages we find a prologue (although without a title) and a text with numbered sections from 1-62, starting on page 6, devoted to orthography and pronunciation. Together the § 1-43 are an introduction to orthography and pronunciation, as Sánchez de la Baquera explains in the summary in § 44. The following § are a “cartilla”, followed by an elementary introduction to grammar, a Spanish to Otomi vocabulary, several religious texts in Otomi, and a grammatical treatise on the Otomi active and passive verbs. The last two sections are written in a more modern hand and may have been taken from another work.
Type indexéDescription des consonnes. Description des voyelles. Dictionnaire. Grammaire descriptive. Grammaire didactique. Grammaire élémentaire. Orthoépie. Texte religieux.
Original (date, lieu)Ms 1747 (Modo breve) (Niederehe 2005, p. 115)
Ms 1751 (Luz y guia).
Période|18e s.|
Édition utiliséeMs 1747: Electronic version, L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University. MSS 279 Series 8 Subseries 2 Subseries 18 box 52 folder 4.
Ms 1751: MSS 279 Series 8 Subseries 2 Subseries 18 box 52 folder 3.
VolumétrieMs 1747: 110 p. 16 cm.
Ms 1751:193 p. 336 p.; 23 cm. The reproduction (photocopy, negative) of this Ms only contains the first 119 pages.
Nombre de signes36 000
Reproduction moderneNo recent editions.
DiffusionThere are at least seven copies, as mentioned in the title of Ms 1751, which is the seventh copy (“séptimo traslado”).
Langue(s) cible(s)Otomí (Otomanguean family, Otopamean branch).
Otomí is a Nahuatl exonym. As an endonym, today Hñähnu is used (also spelled as Hñäñho). Sánchez de la Baquera’s missionary activities are mainly concentrated in Tula, so he probably describes the variety spoken in this region.
MétalangueCastilian (Spanish).
Langue des exemplesOtomí.
Sommaire de l'ouvrageMS 1747: In § 1-2 the author explains that there are two classes of vowels, clear vowels (“se han de leer claro”), that are written without diacritics, and nasal vowels (“vocal de narigal”). In § 3, the diacritic ^ is introduced, used for nasal vowels. The learner is recommended to listen carefully to a native speaker for the right pronunciation, and if the teacher is a Spaniard, he has to be a “buen otomite”, at least, regarding to pronunciation (a lo menos en la pronunciación). § 5: the use of double vowels is explained (“dos juntas o duplicadas”) and the author explains that each one has to be pronounced separately (“se han de leer cada una de por sí”); § 6, the long and short accents are explained (“largos y breves”, for which a dash ( – ) is used on top of the vowel if the vowel is long, and when no diacritic is used, the vowel is short (with “rayita”, or without); § 7-8: the author describes the letter {e}, and introduces a second which has to be distinguished (“dictongada” [sic, et passim]); § 9: The so-called “confusing letter” (“letra confusa”) [Most special symbols cannot be reproduced in Word.]; § 10. Las consonants que se mudan en otras ({h} and {x}); § 11. the letter {g}; §12 and 13: {h}; § 14. The “missing letters” {f, j, k, l, s}, and the three special symbols developed for Otomi; § 15. “pronunciaciones principales o generales (vocal y narigal)”, to which the others which are not “principales” can be combined (“ligadas”), i.e. “dentales”, “guturales” and “pectorales”. § 16. “líquidas”; § 17. pronunciation of certain particles; § 18. {c}, {ca}, {co}; § 19. {d}; § 20. {g}; § 21. {y}; § 22. {m}; § 23. {n}; § 24. {p}; §25. {q} (without {u} and with {u}); with some remarks regarding “reverentials” (habla el inferior al superior); § 26. {r}; § 27. {t}; § 28. {x}; § 29. “letra confusa” (described in § 9.); § 30. The two different graphs for the {e}; § 31. {e} “dictongada” {æ}; § 32. “pectorales”; § 33. [primera pectoral] “labios a pecho”; § 34. segunda pectoral; § 35. tercera pectoral; § 36. cuarta pectoral; § 37. quinta pectoral (written as {đ}); § 38. guttural y también suena al pecho; § 39. dental honda al pecho; § 40. {tt} duplicada; § 41. {ttƷ}; § 42. dental sin pectoral; § 43. “síguese otra pronunciación que es de zumbido, al modo del ruido que hace un xicote, o moscón” (“the buzzing sound or the noise produced by a hornet or a fly”); [from Nahuatl xicotl “avispa cimarrona”, Molina: “abeja grande”, “big wasp”; OZ] § 44. Firstly, the author closes the first 43 paragraphs, devoted to orthography and pronunciation and introduces the following sections devoted to rules (“reglas”) and two classes of “advertencias”: “advertencias generales” and “advertencias particulares”; § 45. Sánchez de la Baquera stresses the fact that the language must be written with precision, with attention for the “characters and figures”; § 46. Learners are asked to be patient. Even when the language seems to be difficult, the learner must take his time, training his ears and his pronunciation, and he must pay attention to the specific movements and position of the tongue in order to correctly pronounce the right sounds; § 47. The author highlights the importance to acquire a correct pronunciation right from the beginning, and if not acquired correctly from the beginning, one will pronounce the words erroneously until his death; § 48. When a learners has a acquired many words with the wrong pronunciation, this will cause laughter and mockery among the native speakers (“se pone a mofa y risa”); he then gives the example of people who have a speech disorder (“gangosos”: “those speakers who pronounce with unwanted escape of air or sound through the nose during speech, in most cases as a consequence of VPI (Velopharyngeal Insufficiency”; “balbucientes” and “tartamudos” stutterers and stammerers). One cannot blame such speakers for bad pronunciation, since this is their “nature”, and we are able to understand what they mean, and we will not laugh at them, nor mock them. A learner without speech disorders and who has the capacity to acquire a correct pronunciation, will be laughed at and mocked if his pronunciation is still wrong. § 49. Sánchez de la Baquera emphasizes that he does not want to demotivate his learners, on the contrary, he gives them hope, arguing that there are so many bad language instructors: some have a good pronunciation, but often their explanations are erroneous, others do not have patience and get angry, or teach only grammar, without teaching how to pronounce the language. Not only the low level of the teachers has to be blamed, but also the grammatical treatises they have composed for teaching Otomi. The pronunciation is the fundamental basis (“base fundamental”) for learning the language; § 50. About the difference between native speakers, and those who start learning, being adult. § 51. According to the author, everyone who does his best with a good instructor is able to become an “othomite”. A bird (“pájaro”), such as a parrot (“per[r]ico”), is able to learn how to pronounce what has been taught, and they are not rational. On the contrary, humans are rational and have the capacity to learn the language, even when some argue that it is impossible to learn this language. The § 45-50 are rules and warnings (“reglas y advertencias”), followed by a section (§ 52-55) which is a summary of all the 31 letters and sound described in the first section, followed by a “cartilla” (§ 56) in alphabetical order, and since some learners may consider this tiring and heavy (“modorra y pesado”), Sánchez de la Baquera reiterates these 208 “particles at random” (“revueltas”) (§ 57 and 58), since they will be easier to acquire in this way. In § 59 the author explains that “Othomites” without schools and “cátedras”. Before conquest, the Mexicas (Aztecs) considered the Otomi tribes as the most “bastos y rudos”. Anyone who is able to speak as rudely (“mazorralmente”) as the indigenous people themselves speak, is able to explain the principles of the Christian doctrine and other texts, which is the most difficult part, since there are often no equivalents available in Otomi; § 60. Missionaries can learn this language and how to explain the faith, and they will understand the missionaries. Learning the language is not impossible; § 61-62: concluding sections in which the author recapitulates his visions on language acquisition and teaching method, and in which the author introduces his Arte, admitting that he does not know a word of Latin, and that he is educated in grammar.
[Arte] (no numbered §).
Conjugación única por lo cual se conjugan todos los verbos; partículas determinantes de las personas (41); presente de indicativo, pretérito imperfect, pretérito perfecto, primer romance (in Spanish “yo abrí”); segundo (in Spanish “yo he abierto”); pretérito pluscuamperfecto; futuro imperfecto; imperativo (41-45); tiempos del subjuntivo, infinito, participio, gerundios se reduce a las partículas del futuro imperfecto (45); modo de pluralizar; Regla general [about initial letters] (46-47); “tiempos de Me, Te, Se (48-49); impersonal (49); pronombres (49); nombres positivos [sic, probably this must be “posesivos”] (50-51); sustantivos (51-52); adjetivos (52); concomitancia (52-53); si condicional (53); [some particles] (54); negación (55); conjunción (55); materia (56); Sum, es, fui (57-58); [some particles and derivations] (59). Spanish-Otomi Vocabulary, arranged according to part of speech (the vocabulary does not have a separate prologue). Page 60 (some nouns, starting with Binagre ending with the entry “Boca”), page 61 is empty; adverbios (Spanish-Otomi) (p. 62-65); verbos (65-74); nombres, in alphabetical order, and the section starting with Binagre is not included here); (p. 74-111). End of the vocabulary, followed by the introduction to the “Confessionario”. End of MS 1747.
MS 1751: Grammar (f. 1r–12v)), Vocabulary (13r-29v) and the “confesionario” is included in this version Ms 1751 (30r-39v).
Objectif de l'auteurAccording to Sánchez de la Baquera’s prologue, many authors have written about Otomí (in his spelling “othomí”). Their main aim was to use the language for sermons and to the spread of the Christian Doctrine (“oraciones y Doctrina”), but these works are not written for those who want to learn how to read and write the language, which is, according to the author, the most important (“para saberla leer, y escrivir, siendo esto lo mas importante” (p. 3). For the legitimate pronunciation (“legítima pronunciación”), a grammar has to sufficiently cover the rules of pronunciation, since this language is difficult (“es muy difícil leer este idioma”). Another purpose for writing this manual is the fact that so many authors used different spellings (“unos escriben de un modo, y otros de otro”). A shortcoming of the work of the predecessors is the fact that they are not as readable as Castilian (“no sea legible como lo castellano”), since the same spellings, or homographs, are not distinguished, even when they have a different meaning. According to some people, the language is confusing and difficult, but in fact it is the opposite. In the Otomí language every single word has its “foundation, clarity and distinction” (“tiene fundamento, claridad y distinción”). According to the author’s view, it is better to know only four words with good pronunciation, than a thousand only by memory, without [knowing the right] pronunciation (“porque vale más saber cuatro términos bien pronunciados, que mil de memoria”). (p. 5). No attention is paid to syntax or word order, as occurs in other works, such as Córdova’s grammar of Zapotec, where we read that the learner not only has to be taught how to pronounce the words, but simultaneously, how to use them, and put them on the right place (“saberlos bien pronunciar, aplicar y poner cada vno en su asiento y lugar”).
Intérêt généralAfter a lacuna of approximately 150 years after Urbano, this is the earliest “grammar” of the 18th century. The 17th century grammars of Otomí composed by the Jesuits Horacio Carochi (1579-1662) and Juan de Dios Castro (Arte o gramática de la lengua otomí, 1690) have been lost. A special alphabet had been developed, which is much more detailed than others. Almost every segmental phoneme was described carefully, except the suprasegmental phonemes (tones). Although tone is not described, a crucial feature for Otomí, the author gives interesting description of nasal vowels, vowel quality, the so-called “obscure letters”, which are not falling under the “clear vowels” {a}, {o}, or {e}. The author introduces symbols for diphthongs {æ}, {œ} and special symbols. Another interesting aspect of this work is the author’s views regarding didactics. The language seems for many very difficult to learn, if not impossible, but the author devotes many sections with an explicit pedagogical content, in order to demonstrate that it is possible to learn this language. It is not known if the author has ever seen or heard of grammar of the Jesuit Manuel de Larramendi (1729) of Basque, entitled “Lo impossible vencido”, but his method to teach Otomí agrees exactly with Larremendi’s views. The work has been ignored by most scholars (Guerrero Galván 2013, p. 149 and Zimmermann does not discuss his writing system in his publications), which is difficult to understand, since it is the first work of significance, composed after the early period of the two Franciscans Cáceres and Urbano. There does not exist a modern edition, and what we usually read about the author comes from an indirect source, the anonymous work Luces. His influence is visible in works which appeared in the second half of the 18th century.
Parties du discoursThe work does not follow a structure where the parts of speech are consistently arranged. Usually, in such texts, every section follows the parts of speech system, but the author decides to change the canonical order of the parts of speech. He decides not to start with nominal declension, but with the verb and its conjugations (“me parece bien poner primero el modo de conjugar”). Sánchez de la Baquera gives two reasons; there is just one conjugation (an no deponent verbs, nor defective verbs), and secondly, other parts of speech can be derived from verbs (“se sacan de los verbos”). After the conjugation of the verb, the author gives some pronouns, “nombres positivos” (probably “posesivos”), and the noun does not appear as a separate paragraph, but instead, the author devotes separate sections to “sustantivos”, and “adjetivos”. After the noun, the author continues with a section concerning “si condicional”, some particles, the negation (p. 54-55), and there he picks up the parts of speech, introducing the “conjunction” (p. 55). Usually the author does not give any definition of the parts of speech, but here we find one: “Es la que traba, y ata las partes de la oracion” (“the conjunction is the [part of speech] that ties and binds the parts of speech”). In the final sections, we find an unstructured description of various topics: “Materia”, the verb “to be” [sum, es fui], some adverbs and particles and derivational patterns, e.g. how abstract nouns are formed. The grammar ends here, but the adverbs are included in the vocabulary. In sum, as regards the parts of speech system, the author has not described the interjections. He does not provide a complete list of parts of speech but seems to limit his description to seven parts.
Innovations term.Partículas determinantes de las personas (p. 41). Primer romance, segundo romance (for the Spanish preterite and perfect tenses, with Otomí equivalents). Concomitancias. Sánchez de la Baquera does not use the term “dual” as in Cáceres, but in this section he describes the forms for the first person singular + third person singular, the first + second person singular, and the third + third person singular (p. 53).
Corpus illustratifThe grammar does not include a section devoted to the “maneras/ modos de hablar” (manners of speech), which is common in this period. The main purpose is to give a tool for writing, pronouncing and reading Otomí. The grammar is brief and contains few paradigms. The examples given are almost never complete sentences, but translation of words. The Ms 1747 is not complete, but Ms 1751 includes a confessionary which may have been used as an element of the illustrative corpus for language instruction.
Indications compl.
Influence subieThere is no trace of earlier works from the two Franciscans Pedro de Cáceres and Alonso Urbano. The Otomí alphabet is quite different from the one published by the Augustinian Melchor de Vargas. Although Vargas promises his readers at the bottom of his “cartilla” that, at the end of this book, rules will be given on how to read this language (“Los avisos para saber leer la lengua Otomí, van a la postre en la última hoja de este libro”), the only copy which survived does not include any treatise on pronunciation. Nevertheless, the work could never have been a substantial guide to how pronounce this language, since the Augustinian devoted just one page to this topic. Sánchez de la Baquera’s interest is to fill this gap. Quite a few terms and description of sounds are used by Sánchez de la Baquera for the first time, such as the buzzing sound of the xicotl. These descriptions were tremendously successful, since they were copied by others, such as in Guadalupe Ramírez (1785, p. 8).
Influence exercéeAs has been pointed out above in the section “biography”, Sánchez de la Baquera and his pupils are praised by the anonymous author of the Luces del otomí together with other famous “lenguaraces”, such as the Jesuit father Horacio Carochi (who is also the author of one of the most complete, if not the best, grammar of Nahuatl), and the Jesuit Francisco Jiménez. The grammars of Otomí of these two Jesuit authors have been lost, and what we know about these texts comes from the summaries given in the Luces. Sánchez de la Baquera’s vocabulary has been included in the Luces. The distinction between “primer romance” and “segundo romance” is also used by Soriano and Agreda. It is not known if these two authors copied Sánchez, or if they all have used another source. “Concomitancia” (p. 52-53); “Si condicional” (p. 53) are two consecutive sections, which are also treated in the same order and the same way in Soriano. Quite a few passages in Soriano are almost verbatim as compared to those in Sánchez de la Baquera, as in the section on the “Conjugación única” (Sánchez de la Baquera 1747, f. 41) and Soriano (ed. Bartolomew & Lastra 2012, p. 27).
Renvois bibliographiquesAcuña R. (éd.) 1990 [c.1605]; Agreda A.d. 1770; Bartholomew D., Lastra Y., Chemin H., Manrique Castañeda L. & Castro C.A. (éd.) 2012 [c. 1767]; Buelna E. (éd.) 1893 [Anonyme, 1767]; Cáceres P.d. 1905 [1580]; Córdova J.d.1578; Guadalupe Ramírez A.d. 1785; Guerrero Galván A. 2013; Larramendi M.d. 1729; Lastra Y. 1992; Niederehe H.-J. (éd.) 2005; Sánchez de la Baquera J. 1747, 1751; Vargas M.d. 1576.
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Auteur de la noticeZwartjes, Otto
Création ou mise à jour2018-09