Quot homines tot artes: New Studies in Missionary Linguistics
  • ISSN 0302-5160
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9781
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Some fundamental typological peculiarities of Guarani, namely the inclusive-exclusive distinction, transnumerality, the nominal tense, the (non)-distinction of subjects and objects, and duality (active-stative alignment) are presented and analyzed from both a modern and a historical perspective: first, to better understand the features of Guarani; second, to illuminate the difficulties missionaries faced when trying to cope with language structures that drastically differed from their training in Latin grammar. Using the missionaries’ grammars as first-hand testimony, the conclusion is reached that we have not significantly advanced beyond these works from the 17th and 18th centuries. Although none of the Jesuit padres arrived at a clear understanding of all the peculiarities of Tupi-Guarani that are dealt with in this paper, they made substantial contributions to describing the unusual features of this language family adequately, and thus went deliberately beyond the framework of Latin school grammar.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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