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Title: Catecismo de la lengua guaraní (1640)
Title: (Catechism of the Gurarani Language)
Subject: Guarani culture, etnography, linguistics, history
Year: 2008
Author: Antonio Ruiz de Montoya
Editor: Bartomeu Melià
Format: 14,5x20
Pages: 472
Publisher: CEPAG
ISBN: 9789995349042
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Antonio Ruiz de Montoya

Catecismo de la lengua guaraní (1640)
(Catechism of the Gurarani Language)

Bartomeu Melià s.j.:
Título: Why a new Catecismo de la lengua guaraní, printed in Spain in 1640, that could fulfill its task only if it were shipped to Paraguay? The author of the Catecismo, Father Antonio Ruiz de Montoya, born in 1585 in Lima and Jesuit since 1606, had come to Paraguay in 1612 as recently ordained priest. He had worked in the Guarani mission and founded reduction-villages in Guairá (today in the Brazilian State of Paraná) that were in 1628-1630 attacked and destroyed by the “paulistas” who took thousands of indios captives to Brazil. Montoya had to make an exodus with the 12.000 survivors, passing rivers, cataracts and woods, a dreadful march down the Paraná River that resulted in huge mortality due to disgraces of starving, diseases and shipwrecks – only 4.000 people made it to their destiny. The assaults of the "bandeirantes" of São Paulo continued in the south and put an end to the recently founded villages of Tapé. The solution could be to travel to the court in Madrid and to ask for the license of Guarani having fire arms to defend themselves. Since September of 1638, Montoya was in Madrid, mainly for this goal.
Título: During this time, he dedicated himself also to the publication of his monumental linguistic work, composed of the Tesoro de la lengua guaraní (1639), the Arte y Bocabulario de la lengua guaraní (1640) and the Catecismo en la lengua guaraní (1640). It is very likely that Montoya had started the elaboration of his Catecismo when he was still in Guairá; after all, this was a period of relative tranquility and great dedication to the language. Possibly the work was already well advanced in 1616 when he concluded Arte y Bocabulario. On his arrival at Paraguay, Father Antonio Ruiz de Montoya had started immediately to preach and teach the catechism in Guarani (Cartas Anuas I:176). The definitive text "read and examined by persons competent in the said Guarani language, of our religion [i.e. by Jesuits] as well as from outside” is the one approved by the provincial superior Diego de Boroa in Buenos Aires, on October 4, 1637, when Montoya started his journey to Madrid.
Título: The Catecismo of Montoya goes beyond its first purpose, the teaching faith: it announces also a program of bilingual education, or rather the teaching of Spanish as a second language. It is the first bilingual book in the history of Paraguay and maybe the only one of the colonial period. In the schools the Catecismo by Montoya could serve as “cartilla”, because we have to remember that cartillas, which are a method of learning to read that continues the first alphabetization, contained a more or less extensive text of the doctrina. Montoya’s text must have fulfilled the same purposes. The process of introducing Spanish in Paraguay and concretely in the Jesuit Reductions was unsuccessful. What developed most was in fact the strengthening of Guarani that became a written language and in which numerous documents and literature works were produced and even published.
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