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Arte de la lengua mexicana

Aldama y Guevara, José Agustín

DomaineTraditions non-occidentales
SecteurGrammaires amérindiennes [4613]

Aldama y Guevara, José Agustín

Variantes: Aldama y Guevara, Ioseph Augustin

Datation: 1716?-1770?

Almost nothing is known about the life of José Agustín Aldama y Guevara. He was born in Mexico around 1716 (?). His father Agustín Aldama Campo was from Álava in the Basque country and his mother María Rosa Fernández de Guevara was born in Mexico, also with a Basque background. According to Clavijero, Aldama y Guevara was a Creole (“criollo”) (2004 [1780], p. 313). He became “presbyter” in Mexico, “examinador sinodal” and “catedrático” in Nahuatl. After the Arte de la lengua mexicana (1754), Aldama wrote also a work entitled Alabado en Lengua Mexicana (1755), available at:Alabado en Lengua Mexicana.

Titre de l'ouvrageArte de la lengua mexicana dispuesto por D. Joseph Augustin de Aldáma y Guevára, Presbytero de el Arzobispado de Mexico
Titre traduitGrammar of the Mexican language, composed by D. José Agustín de Aldama y Guevara, Presbyter of the Archbishopry of Mexico
Titre courtArte de la lengua mexicana
Remarques sur le titre
Période|18e s.|
Type de l'ouvrageCarochi's and Aldama's grammars are the most comprehensive texts we have from the colonial period.
Type indexéGrammaire descriptive | Grammaire didactique | Grammaire élémentaire
Édition originale1754, Mexico, En la Imprenta de la Bibliotheca Mexicana (en frente de el Convento de San Augustin).
Édition utiliséeJohn Carter Brown Library: B754. A357a.
Volumétrie[164] p. [=82 leaves]; 17 cm (in-8°). 65.000 words. The book does not have page numbers. The text has only paragraph numbers on the left-hand margin from 1 to 514. More examples are given in a “Suplemento”, where the paragraph numbers appear again on the left-hand margin corresponding to the numbers of the main body of the text. Spanish text set in roman type, Nahuatl in italics. Title with ornamental border, head-piece (printer's ornaments) with initials IHS. In the Spanish text an inverted c is used as abbreviation for “con”, “com”, as in ‘ɔposicion’ (= ‘composición’). The author uses many abbreviations, such as ‘ɔjugâvo’ (= ‘conjugativo’), ‘ɔsônte’ (‘consonate’), etc. At the beginning, Tapia includes a special table in which he explains these abbreviations.
Nombre de signes390000
Reproduction moderneNo recent edition.
DiffusionThe work was soon known in Europe, since Franz Xavier Veigl mentions his work (1798, p. 413).
Langues ciblesNahuatl
MétalangueSpanish, sometimes Latin, as explained in the Prologue (§ IV) if this can avoid ambiguity, and if the Latin form is more precise (Aldama gives the example of the translation of huéhue [‘old’]. If this is translated into Spanish, it would be ‘viejo’, the student may not know if this is an adjective or a substantive. In such cases, he prefers to translate into Latin: senex. If he would translate is “hombre viejo”, it would occupy more space than senex.
Langue des exemplesNahuatl
Sommaire de l'ouvrageParecer (Joseph Buenaventura de Estrada, y Monteros); Parecer (Juan Francisco de Torres Cano); Licencia de el Superior Govierno; Licencia de el ordinario; Prologo al que intenta aprender esta lengua. Table with abbreviations “deciphered” by the author.
Basic word list. The author tells his readers that he will no always translate in his grammar all the examples in Nahuatl. Therefore he includes the list of basic vocabulary Nahuatl-Spanish in alphabetical order at the beginning of his book, occupying 4 (unnumbered) pages (273 words in three columns).
De el alphabeto mexicano y otras noticias previas (§ 1-18); Los accentos son quatro (§ 19-21); Del nombre, y su declinacion (§ 22-68); Del caso vocativo (§ 69-70); Del genero de los nombre (§ 71); La particula in (§ 72); La particula ca (§ 73); La particula in (§ 72); Division, y definicion o descripcion del verbo (§ 74-80); De los pronombres conjugativos (§ 81-119); Pronombres separados (§ 120-139); Las conjugaciones son dos (§ 140-249); Conjugacion especial ir y venir, etc. (§ 150-260); Del verbo compulsivo (§ 261-272); Del verbo aplicativo (§ 273-287); El verbo reverencial (§ 288-297); Del verbo frequentativo (§ 298); Verbos irregulares (§ 299-360); La particula póloa (§ 361); La particula (§ 362-363); De las preposiciones (§ 364-400); Nombres verbales (§ 401-440); De los nombres nominales (§ 441-460); Los nombres patrios (§ 461); De los verbos nominales (§ 462-476); De algunos adverbios (§ 477-478); De la composicion (§ 479-505); Comparativos y superlativos (§ 506-512); Los mexicanismos (§ 513-514).
Suplemento (23 pages with additional comments referring to the paragraphs of the grammar). Erratas corregidas. Índice.
Objectif de l'auteurAldama characterizes his work in his prologue as a little work which is a proper and pure compendium (“compendio propio y puro, y casi puro Compendio de los Artes de lengua mexicana”). According to him, there is no doubt that his work is the best “Arte de Artes”, being “puntual, concisso, claro, comprehensivo, y methodico, and proporcionadissimo”. Aldama informs his readers that many predecessors made too brief introductions, so brief that important information was missing. He compares the work of some of predecessors as cookbooks (“Arte de cocina”) which deserve more carefulness (“cuidado y atención”). Nevertheless, his method does not include unnecessary terms which only cause more problems for the students (“que no son mas que terminos, para augmentar dificultad”: Aldama 1754, “Prologo”, section V).
Intérêt généralAldama develops a totally different method with an explicit pedagogy, explained in his prologue, where the author gives some advises how to use his grammar. When the students are familiar with his grammar, Aldama advises his students to use the Vocabulario of Molina in addition, where they will discover that Nahuatl is a natural regular language, with less anomalies than Spanish. As Launey (1995) observes, this grammar is understudied. Launey highlights some original aspects of Aldama, with “qualités argumentatives et métalinguistiques”:
– his approach to auxiliary verbs (§ 297),
– Aldama was the first, according to Launey (1995, p. 241) to translate tlanâ/ tlantli (‘tooth’) as “possessor of”, § 456);
– Aldama's approach to some constructions of the passive of the bitransitive with the subject and object second person, and not object first person, such as nimaco in pitzotl (“yo soy dado el cerdo”) (“I am given the swine”).
For more details, see Launey (1995).
Parties du discoursThe author does not sum up the eight parts of speech. He does not devote special paragraphs to interjections and conjunctions. Aldama was enthousiastic on his section on adverbs, which is a “muy util, y bello Tratado” (prologue).
Innovations term.Since the first Jesuit grammars of Rincón and Carochi, the common term for the glottal stop is ‘saltillo’. Aldama distinguishes four accents, ‘breve’, ‘largo’, ‘saltillo’ (little jump’) and ‘salto’ (‘jump’). The latter is a novelty and the term is designed for the “saltillo final” (glottal stop at the end of the word) (§ 21). Aldama says that the use of the letter /h/ for the glottal stop can lead to confusion, since the /h/ represents aspiration, which is erroneous. Aldama explains that the real pronunciation is a “suspension” (“con un generito de suspension” (§ 19). Other innovations: possesivos affixos (§ 48); pronombres conjugativos de verbo transeunte (§ 90); verbales adjetivos (“equivalen a los españoles en ble y latinos en bilis, y end us”; § 406); nombres nominales (Nouns derived from other nouns, “los que se derivan de otros nombres”; § 441 sq.); verbos nominales (Verbs derived from nouns, “los que se derivan de nombres”; § 463).
Corpus illustratifNahuatl examples. Words are sometimes untranslated for reasons of space. Therefore, the author included a vocabulary at the beginning.
Indications compl.
Influence subieAldama seems to know the works of most of his predecessors and he says that he is a disciple of Molina, Carochi, Ribera, Vetancurt and Manuel Pérez. In the prologue (§ I) he tells that he particularly followed Carochi for the description of the adverb. He also admits that he sometimes changed some aspects (“abreviado un poco, y mudado algunas doctrinas de un lugar à otro”).
Influence exercéeAldama's theory about derivation is interesting. He translates the form in Nahuatl tlaqualchihualiztli: “guissacion”, which is a “barbarism”. In Spanish “comida” is derived from “comer”, and it does not mean “acto de comer”, but in Nahuatl more forms can be derived, compared to Spanish and Latin (§ 430-431).
Renvois bibliographiquesAldáma y Guevára J. A. 1755; Clavijero F. X. 2004 {[1780]}; Hernández de León-Portilla A. 1988; Launey M. 1995; Suárez Roca J. L. 1992; Veigl F. X. & Eckart A. 1798; Zwartjes O. & Flores Farfán J. A. (éd.) 2017

Zwartjes, Otto

Création ou mise à jour2017-05