Eggleston, Aaron The Fate of Condemned 18th Century Portuguese Loanwords Faculty Mentor: Christopher Lund, Spanish and Portuguese In 1760 a book was published in Lisbon, Portugal entitled Infermidades da lingua, e arte que a ensina a emmudecer para melhorar (Sicknesses of the tongue, and the art that teaches it to be silent for improvement), in which the use of certain words and phrases in the Portuguese language was strongly denounced. In the title of the work in question and throughout the text, the author describes his vast inventory of words and other expressions as “sicknesses” to the Portuguese language that need to be removed. The author’s prescriptive linguistic view is quite interesting and has been in demand of in-depth research. My research entailed evaluating a large sample of the thousands of condemned words and investigating whether and how they appeared in various dictionaries from the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries. Before commencing on this research project, I suspected that the given author of the text was actually a pseudonym. As I searched for information about the text and its author, I discovered that my suspicions were accurate. Whereas the given author name is Sylvestre Silverio da Silveira e Silva, the true name of the author is Manoel Joseph de Paiva. This information led me to find other works published by Paiva, helping me to get a better feel for his motives for writing his works. Manuel José de Paiva (modern spelling) was a Portuguese Catholic Priest who lived in Lisbon, born December 9, 1706. His first publication was around 1750 of a text entitled Antidoto gramatical, balsamo preservativo da corrupção da lingua latina, ou curioso descobrimento dos principaes erros, barbaridades, e incoherencias do Novo Methodo para aprender a dita lingua (Grammatical antidote, preservative balsam of the corruption of the Latin language, or curious discovery of the principle errors, barbarities, and incoherencies of the New Method to learn the said language). There was at least one other publication between this initial work and Infermidades. Paiva went on to publish at least five other works, mostly scripted comedies more related to religious topics. According to sources, which note no posthumous actions in his behalf, his last work was published in 1786. (Silva 1972)1 The year of his death is unknown. During the next few months of research I studied the initial 104 pages of Infermidades in which Paiva composes a detailed allegory wherein he describes “in a bed of ivory, under a scarlet heaven, lies the human tongue, and who would think that, with such magnificent treatment, it would be found sick?” (Paiva 1760) He continues with an elaborate description of the “contagious disease,” dividing the allegory into Seven Visits made by a doctor who daily comes to the patient’s bedside to form a diagnosis, prognosis, and recommendations for treatment. At the end of the seventh visit the doctor gives his final remedy, which is the abandonment of the words and phrases that thereafter follow, in a more or less alphabetical order. 1 This source is available on microform at the BYU HBLLibrary. Once I generally understood Paiva’s intent, I began the process of searching for samples of condemned words in various dictionaries, the most important of which was one compiled from 1712-1716, which is actually very encyclopedic in form. Fluent Portuguese speakers readily knew only about 15% of Paiva’s condemned words. There were some very interesting definitions of some of the unknown words (e.g. ladrão gayão, or “thief gayão,” had an extensive explanation about a nobleman who was known by this name for his injustices in his dealings with laymen). With other significant statistics pending, I found that a great number of the condemned words are often cited as linguistically popular, vulgar, or colloquial. Many also have meanings connected with poor speech, provocation/altercation, thievery, poverty, poor health, baby talk, degrading of women, and judging others, to name a few. I was also able to find some patterns in the set of words at the morphological level. One example of this is the appearance that Paiva dislikes the suffix -ejo. While searching for the term “lava ejus,” I hypothesized that ejus might actually be a suffix as in another condemned word, “lugarejo.” I found that –ejo is in an archaic suffix that comes from Latin whose use gives a word “a diminutive and, sometimes, a pejorative meaning.” (Costa and Melo 1999) Part of Paiva’s intent, after all, is to expunge the sicknesses of the tongue that hinder Portuguese speakers, and mankind in general, from attaining a purer form of language. As I continue this research, I will discover more information about the author and his other writings, which will further assist in understanding his texts. As part of my research I located another recent publication that extensively references Paiva’s Antidoto. I am continuing to try to contact the author for collaboration. Costa, J. Almeida and A. Sampaio e Melo. Dicionário da Língua Portuguesa. Porto Editora: Porto, 1999. Paiva, Manoel Joseph de. Infermidades da lingua e arte que a ensina e emmudecer para melhorar. Lisbon, 1760. Silva, Innocencio Francisco da. Diccionário bibliographico portuguez 1810-1876. Imprensa Nacional: Lisbon, 1972.
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