Read also:
Wolf Dietrich (Romance Linguistics Institute - Universität Münster). Linguistic contribution of the Antonio Ruiz de Montoya's work for the study of the body (Foreword to the book Decir el Cuerpo (Saying the body. History and Ethnography of the Body among Guarani Peoples) by Graciela Chamorro).
"The cultural ecology of the Guarani peoples is their
language and religious tradition (...) The Guarani
peoples are really 'theologians of the jungle'".
The video of the interview with Bartomeu Melià
- the editor of the book, awarded with the "Bartolomé de
las Casas" prize for working to defend the indigenous peoples
of Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina and Bolivia. (15:27)
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Title: Arte, vocabulario, tesoro y catecismo de la lengua guaraní
Título:Coleção de 4 volumes
Título:(Art, Vocabulary, Treasure and Catechism of the Guarani
Título:Language -Kit of 4 volumes
) 1st ed.: 1639-1640
Subject: Guarani culture, etnography, linguistics, history
Year: 2011
Author: Antonio Ruiz de Montoya
Editor: Bartomeu Melià
Dimensions: 20x14,5x10,5 cm / 7.9x5.7x4.1 inches
Pages: 1794
Shipping Weight: 5.1 pounds / 2.4 kg
Publisher: CEPAG
ISBN: Vol. 1: ISBN: 9789995349127
ISBN: Vol. 2: ISBN: 9789992584920
ISBN: Vol. 3: ISBN: 9789995349110
ISBN: Vol. 4: ISBN: 9789995349097
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Antonio Ruiz de Montoya

Arte, vocabulario, tesoro y catecismo de la lengua guaraní
(Art, Vocabulary, Treasure and Catechism of the Guarani Language - Kit of 4 volumes) 1st ed.: 1639-1640

José Maria Rodrigues:
Título:«Antonio Ruíz de Montoya, today considered one of the most shrewd linguists who ever worked  in South America, gained his deserved reputation due to the composition and publication of an extensive and important oeuvre, really monumental, that comprises the main aspects of the Guarani language» (Melià, Arte de la lengua guaraní, 2011:9)
Título:Antonio Ruíz de Montoya was born in 1585 in Lima (Peru), a capital that saw him for the last time in 1652, already in fame of holiness. Bartomeu Melià was born in 1932 in Porreres, Mallorca (Spain), a country that now, 2011, receives him with open arms to grant him a reward – the Prémio Bartolomé de las Casas – for his dedication to the causes of the indigenous peoples of Paraguay, Brazil, Argentine, and Bolivia. Montoya and Melià, men of their respective times, united by one ideal, by the struggle for the defense of the Guarani language and nation; one order, the Society of Jesus; one langue, Guarani; one country, Paraguay.
Título:Two lives, many gifts and one destiny to unite them. They meet in Paraguay, despite of the 342 years that separate the arrival of Montoya at Loreto in 1612 and the arrival of Pa’i Melià at Asunción in 1954. The former had the Guarani people of his time as teachers, the latter had the good luck to count on the help of two distinct masters, León Cadogan and Father Antonio Guasch, who taught him the secrets of the Tapé Avirú that leads to the soul of the Guarani people.
Título: Between 1639 and 1640, at the court of Felipe IV, Montoya presented a complete oeuvre – Tesoro (1639), Arte, Vocabulario y Catecismo (1640) de la lengua guaraní. It is the same oeuvre that Father Melià delivers in 2011 to His Royal Highness, the Prince of Astúrias Don Felipe de Borbón y Grecia, at the occasion of receiving the Prémio Bartolomé de las Casas. Almost 372 years after the world had glimpsed for the first time the monumental work of the Montoya, Bartomeu Melià pays tribute to this genial and fearless linguist, reediting his complete work and sharing with him the award at Zarzuela Palace in Spain. Once again, these two illustrate Jesuits “meet” and speak the same langue: Guarani.
Título: After this short introduction I will restrain myself to share some thoughts on each of the books that belong to this luxury edition, published for the first time in Paraguay by Fr. Bartomeu Melià, on the occasion of the festivities of the Bicentenary of the Paraguayan Independence.

The book Arte (1640), the first grammar of the Guarani language, where Montoya demonstrates brilliantly his facet as a grammar scholar, is a reference work that served as the fundamental base for all posterior books of its kind, e.g. the grammars of the Fathers Guasch and Melià, among others. The systematization of a language is a difficult task, and Montoya, though he did not have a specific academic training, resorts to his knowledge of Latin, and, probably inspired by the method of the Portuguese Jesuit Manuel Álvares (1526-1583) “that had become compulsory in nearly all schools of the Society of Jesus, in  Europe as well as America” (Arte, 2011:16), boils down the Guarani language to a set of rules that reflect the language’s syntactical and phonological structure, starting from speech samples of its time. It is important to highlight that this work, a milestone of Guarani and written nearly 400 years ago, presents the word classes and/or sentence parts – their natures and functions – in the same way we do today, a prove of its great actuality. It is worth mentioning that the author, going beyond theoretical considerations and proposing in sagacious observations the fitting complementation for the study and learning of Guarani, situates its grammar on the same level as Spanish and Portuguese whose first grammars were written in 1492 (Antonio de Nebrija) and 1536 (Fernando de Oliveira). In short, in consonance with tradition, the grammar of Montoya is organized around a fundamental unit, the word; and from the morphological analyses of the elements that compose it – roots, particles etc. – the user comes to a precise knowledge of the flexion forms (conjugation and “declination”), of the formation and the different categories of words. The transliteration of the Guarani text to a modern orthography evidences the undeniable value of the work and shows clearly the great accuracy of Father Montoya.

About the Vocabulario (1640) that complements the Arte with a bilingual version Spanish-Guarani and whose new edition was published in 1993 we emphasize a characteristic that seems to have passed unnoticed in most of the reviews of this work: its value as a phraseology tractate. In those days Montoya was already aware of the importance of a vocable when introduced in a context, as claimed by Firth (1957:11): “you shall know a Word by the company it keeps”. In this sense, Father Montoya chooses phrases, refrains, fads, proverbs and other units that show in the Guarani language a certain degree of fixation or idiomatic character – total or partial – and presents them in a kind of encyclopedia, verbi gratia: Che poity hovasávo; teko katukue; kuarasy reikieha; aguyjete’i che reko etc. The result is much more than a mere vocabulary of the most frequent words in those time’s language. It represents a phraseology work in which the vocables come to life in the phraseological units, and the meanings and senses arise from the context. Albeit Father Montoya not always seems to have paid attention to the phraseological elements, he did it in a proficient and systematic way, integrating the phraseology in the first bilingual dictionary of the Guarani language. The importance of this act due to its pragmatic and social dimensions cannot remain unaware, not only from the tradutological view point, given it denotes the mastery of the phraseology of the source language, Spanish, and the goal language, Guarani, nor  from a didactical perspective, mainly for the teaching/study of Guarani as a second and/or foreign language.

Last not least, and being the first of the four books published by Montoya, we highlight the Tesoro de la lengua guaraní (1639), not only as the first grand dictionary of Paraguay’s autochthon language, but as a true encyclopedia of this language. Aware that “verba volant” and “scripta manent”, Montoya wrote a bilingual lexicographic work – Guarani/Spanish – that meets its match only in the Tesoro de la lengua castellana o española – monolingual – by the scholar Sebastián de Covarrubias, published in 1611. This masterpiece of Spanish lexicography which served as reference for the recompilation of the Diccionario de Autoridades de la Real Academia Española (1726-1739) has in its Guarani homonym its most faithful counterpart. Only 28 years separate the two publications, and this shows how avant-garde Montoya was in his time. The Tesoro de Montoya, whose new edition displays an up-to-date orthography of Spanish as well as of Guarani, does not limit itself to present a list of vocables in their respective Guarani translation. Like the Vocabulario, it contextualizes the words through speech sample and remits us to concrete situations and uses of the language. Furthermore we have to stress that the meticulous and patient description which Montoya offers of certain words in numerous examples sketches with great clearness and richness of details the modus vivendi of those days’ Guarani people. For all that, this oeuvre is without any doubt an invaluable piece of Latin-American lexicography

With respect to the Catecismo (1640), my scarce knowledge of faith education allows me only to mention the brilliant introduction to the new edition that amounts to a true review of the book. As the Arte, this work is bilingual (Guarani/Spanish), preserves the original characteristics and content in a facsimile edition, and presents a transliteration of the text (by Melià and Angélica Otazú) in Guarani and Spanish, in a modern orthography of both idioms. (See the 2008 edition)

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