Portuguese Missionary Grammars in Asia, Africa and Brazil, 1550-1800

| University of Amsterdam
ISBN 9789027246080 | EUR 110.00 | USD 165.00
ISBN 9789027283252 | EUR 110.00 | USD 165.00
From the 16th century onwards, Europeans encountered languages in the Americas, Africa, and Asia which were radically different from any of the languages of the Old World. Missionaries were in the forefront of this encounter: in order to speak to potential converts, they needed to learn local languages. A great wealth of missionary grammars survives from the 16th century onwards. Some of these are precious records of the languages they document, and all of them witness their authors’ attempts to develop the methods of grammatical description with which they were familiar, to accommodate dramatically new linguistic features.

This book is the first monograph covering the whole Portuguese grammatical tradition outside Portugal. Its aim is to provide an integrated description, analysis and evaluation of the missionary grammars which were written in Portuguese. Between them, these grammars covered a huge range of languages: in Asia, Tamil, four Indo-Aryan languages and Japanese; in Brazil, Kipeá and Tupinambá; in Africa and the African diaspora, Kimbundu and Sena (from the modern Angola and Mozambique respectively).

Each text is placed in its historical context, and its linguistic context is analyzed, with particular attention to orthography, the parts of speech system, morphology and syntax. Whenever possible, pedagogical features of the grammars are discussed, together with their treatment of language variation and pragmatics, and the evidence they provide for the missionaries’ attitude towards the languages they studied.
[Studies in the History of the Language Sciences, 117]  2011.  xiv, 359 pp.
Publishing status: Available
Table of Contents
Preface & acknowledgements
Chapter 1. Introduction
Chapter 2. The Indian subcontinent
Chapter 3. Missionary linguistics in Japan
Chapter 4. Missionary linguistics in Brazil
Chapter 5. African languages
Chapter 6. Arabic and Hebrew
Chapter 7. Conclusion
Appendix. Lexicography
Index of biographical names
Index of subjects and terms
“[T]he first complete study and most extensive research to date of Portuguese missionary linguistics, covering three continents, South America (Brazil), Africa and Asia, through the entire pre-modern period (16th-18th centuries). It provides an integrated framework, analysis and evaluation of the first grammars written in Portuguese by missionaries.”
“[...] una investigación rigurosa en las fuentes, coherente en su estructura externa e interna y que, sin lugar a dudas, cumple los objetivos propuestos al principio, pues contribuye a que los aspectos concretos sobre la lingüística misionera portuguesa sean mejor conocidos, integrándolos en su contexto y evaluando sus logros y errores.”
“[...] an insightful and eye-opening study of an area of linguistics which will be somewhat ironically new to many readers.”
“Este trabajo constituye un valioso aporte al campo de la lingüística misionera, tanto con sus contribuciones a la metodología de análisis como al redescubrir antiguos documentos que arrojan luz sobre algunos aspectos lingüísticos y culturales en los complejos vínculos entre Occidente con el antiguo mundo oriental y el nuevo mundo americano.”
“[W]ithout doubt the most comprehensive study to date of a large body of missionary linguistic work. As such it will be of interest to any scholar seeking a better understanding of the content and organization of missionary grammars. [...] For researchers in the field of linguistic historiography, Zwartjes’ detailed study of the terminology used by missionary linguists is of great interest. [...] The fact that terms used by missionaries are often opaque to researchers studying the languages described in these grammars has been a major hindrance to their acceptance as sources of legitimate information. It is to be hoped that this book will be followed by others that not only take a broad view of the field but also examine in detail the vocabulary and conventions used in missionary linguistic work.”
“This volume addresses a long-standing need. [...] This book provides a fascinating window on the development of early grammatical description of non-European languages by missionaries writing in Portuguese. It demonstrates the significant contribution of Portuguese missionaries to the description of these languages, and to the study of Asian languages.”
Cited by

Cited by 19 other publications

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2014.  In Missionary Linguistics V / Lingüística Misionera V [Studies in the History of the Language Sciences, 122],  pp. vii ff. Crossref logo
Cancino Cabello1 , Nataly
2018. La categoría ‘nombre’ en la Grammatica o Arte (1560) de Domingo de Santo Tomás y en el Arte (1571) de Alonso de Molina. Historiographia Linguistica 45:1-2  pp. 1 ff. Crossref logo
Coffey, Simon
2020.  In The History of Grammar in Foreign Language Teaching, Crossref logo
Cravens, Marlena Petra
2020. "Eu mato": The Linguistic and Religious Rewriting of the Tupí under Portuguese Missionary Rule (1555-1630). Tusaaji: A Translation Review 7:1 Crossref logo
Cravens, Marlena Petra
2020. "Eu mato": The Linguistic and Religious Rewriting of the Tupí under Portuguese Missionary Rule (1555-1630). Tusaaji: A Translation Review 7:1  pp. 1 ff. Crossref logo
Fernandes, Gonçalo & Carlos Assunção
2017. First codification of Vietnamese by 17th-century missionaries: the description of tones and the influence of Portuguese on Vietnamese orthography. Histoire Epistémologie Langage 39:1  pp. 155 ff. Crossref logo
Gianninoto, Mariarosaria
2014. The Development of Chinese Grammars and the Classification of the Parts of Speech. Language & History 57:2  pp. 137 ff. Crossref logo
Gianninoto, Mariarosaria
2019. LeTraitéchinois des particules et des principaux termes de grammaire : un exemple de traduction et d’adaptation de la terminologie linguistique chinoise. Histoire Epistémologie Langage 41:1  pp. 97 ff. Crossref logo
Gutiérrez Maté, Miguel
2019.  In It’s not all aboutyou [Topics in Address Research, 1],  pp. 162 ff. Crossref logo
Muru, Cristina
2014.  In Missionary Linguistics V / Lingüística Misionera V [Studies in the History of the Language Sciences, 122],  pp. 203 ff. Crossref logo
Nash, Joshua
2015. On the Possibility of Pidgin English Toponyms in Pacific Missions. Historiographia Linguistica 42:1  pp. 139 ff. Crossref logo
Taylor-Leech, Kerry & Carol Benson
2017. Language planning and development aid: the (in)visibility of language in development aid discourse. Current Issues in Language Planning 18:4  pp. 339 ff. Crossref logo
Triviño, Ascensión Hernández
2016. Tradiciones, paradigmas y escuelas. Historiographia Linguistica 43:1-2  pp. 11 ff. Crossref logo
Van Hal, Toon
2016. Colonialism and Missionary Linguistics. Historiographia Linguistica 43:1-2  pp. 245 ff. Crossref logo
H. Ekkehard Wolff
2019.  In A History of African Linguistics, Crossref logo
H. Ekkehard Wolff
2019.  In The Cambridge Handbook of African Linguistics, Crossref logo
Zwartjes, Otto
2012. The Historiography of Missionary Linguistics. Historiographia Linguistica 39:2-3  pp. 185 ff. Crossref logo
Zwartjes, Otto
2014.  In Missionary Linguistics V / Lingüística Misionera V [Studies in the History of the Language Sciences, 122],  pp. 1 ff. Crossref logo
Zwartjes, Otto
2014. More on “Arabic Linguistic Terminology in Pedro de Alcalá”. Historiographia Linguistica 41:2-3  pp. 247 ff. Crossref logo

This list is based on CrossRef data as of 12 may 2021. Please note that it may not be complete. Sources presented here have been supplied by the respective publishers. Any errors therein should be reported to them.

BIC Subject: CF – Linguistics
BISAC Subject: LAN009000 – LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / General
U.S. Library of Congress Control Number:  2011033750 | Marc record