Edited by Otto Zwartjes and E.F.K. Koerner †
[Historiographia Linguistica 36:2/3] 2009
► pp. 363–392
Portuguese and Other European Missionaries in Africa
A look at their linguistic production and attitudes (1415–1885)
This study looks at some of the works produced by Catholic missionaries in Africa from the pre-dawn of the Modern Era (Fall of Constantinople, 1453), in particular the Fall of Ceuta (1415), to the Berlin Conference (1884–1885). Particular emphasis will be placed on the linguistic production of a few Franciscan, Augustinian, Capuchin, Dominican, and/or Jesuit clerics, working under the aegis of the Portuguese Crown, who – with the invaluable help of native assistants, usually members of the clergy or closely affiliated with the Church – compiled the first grammars, word lists, glossaries, and dictionaries of the indigenous languages with which they worked and interacted on a daily basis. Their endeavour, though meritorious and not always free from preconceived ideas of the ‘other’, paved the way for future studies in the field.