Eggleston, Aaron by wfq74180

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									                                    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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