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Umas páginas do passado: O português em Hispania nos primeiros dez anos


     From the First Article about Portuguese: 2 (1919): 87-93


     The word �importance� is used here entirely in relation to commercial, diplomatic and other international transactions. The Portuguese language is used chiefly in Portugal and in Brazil. It is also used in certain islands of the Atlantic, such as the Azores and Madeira islands, and in the Portuguese colonies of South Africa and Asia. The total number of people speaking it is estimated at more than twenty millions. Of these about five and a half millions live in Portugal, and about fifteen millions live in Brazil. Brazil was originally a Portuguese colony and the language of that country is, and always has been Portuguese. What is here said refers almost exclusively to the importance of the Portuguese language in connection with the commercial and other relations between Brazil and the United States.

     Of late years much has been said of the importance of our trade with Central and South America, and there has been much talk of a general awakening to the necessity of getting in touch with the people of those countries, of cultivating friendly relations with them, and of meeting the general requirements of a stable international commerce. Ideas about how we are to get in touch with them seem to be rather hazy on the whole, but it is pretty generally recognized by those whose judgments is worth most that the establishment of business relations with those countries calls for a knowledge of their languages.

     Unfortunately, most of our people have the erroneous idea that the language of all South America is Spanish; and if perchance some of us have heard that Portuguese is the language of one of those countries, we seem disposed to think that any country of that continent using any other language than Spanish is negligible, or, on a pinch, that Spanish will do just as well, or that there must be some way to do business without bothering about the language. In other words, the matter of the language in connection with our efforts to do business with South America has not been given the attention to which it is entitled.

     So long as no serious thought is given to either the commerce, politics, literature or other human concerns of South America, there is no particular object in trying to awaken an interest in the languages of that continent. But if we are really in earnest, if we are really interested in, or wish to inform ourselves about, trade, industries, or anything else directly related to the people of South America, this matter of language thrusts itself into the foreground from the very outset. [...] intelligent people we should recognize the importance of the language and should face the problems it presents. For we cannot get into real touch with any people unless we can use their language, or they can use ours, with some sort of facility.

     ...Brazil is by far the largest country in South America; that it occupies about half of the continent, and that its foreign commerce is half as much as that of all the Spanish-speaking countries of that continent combined... [594]

     It is not my purpose to urge the importance of Portuguese in the abstract, or even in comparison with Spanish, though much might be said in its favor, but I do insist that in carrying on any considerable business in Brazil, Portuguese is the language to be used, and that no other language can possibly take its place.

     If anyone thinks Spanish will do just as well in Brazil as Portuguese he is mistaken; and if any one really thinks that bad Spanish is good Portuguese, he is ignorant as well as mistaken...

John Casper Branner

Stanford University

     From the first Article on Luso-Brazilian Literature: 7 (1924): 310-16


     In the Introduction of the recent edition of Taunay's Innocencia (D. C. Heath & Co.), reference is made (page XXII) to a forthcoming volume containing material by Taunay hitherto unedited, largely descriptive of regions traversed and characters encountered by him on his return to civilization after the calamitous invasion of Paraguay by Brazilian troops in 1867 (�a retirada Laguna�). Portions of this book now published by Taunay's son under the title Viagens de Outr'ora (Weiszflog Immãos, São Paulo) furnish interesting and valuable data covering the sources of various characters in the novel. Taunay's post as secretary to a command of engineers in the Paraguayan campaign warranted his being chosen as bearer to Court of the official correspondence of the expedition, and on the 17 to June, 1867, he set off eastward, arriving at Rio de Janeiro August 1st, following. It is the diary of this toilsome journey of a thousand miles through the wilderness, under the sub-title �Viagem de regresso de Matto Grosso á Corte�, that places before us the material above alluded to, and gives us the atmospheric background for the whole of Innocencia...

     Some of the characters drawn in the novel are composite pictures, others are true portraits, as in the case of O Pauda and Major Taques, while still others appear to have been modified appreciably from the originals. Thus Cyrino, the hero of the story, has undergone a complete metamorphosis and is glorified at the hands of Taunay, for the original of this character was, as we now learn, grossly ignorant, bombastic and coarse, and even charged with transporting at one time the epidemic of cholera morbus from Paraguay to Rio...

Maro Beath Jones

Pomona College     First Book Review of a Portuguese Text: 5 (1921): 264


     Antología Portuguesa, organizada por Agostinho de Campo. Aillaud e Bertrand, Lisbon.

     This collection of books continues to appear. Concerning the purpose of the editor, to make available to the young people of Portugal selections from the best Portuguese writers, a note appeared in HISPANIA, October, 1920. Their inexpensive but thoroughly scholarly form makes them very useful to American students of Portuguese. Two of the latest volumes are TRANCOSO. Historias de proveito e exemplo, and HERCULANO, Quadros literarios do historia medieval, peninsular e [595] portuguesa. Trancoso was a writer who was active during the last third of the sixteenth century and introduced the Portuguese to a knowledge of the Italian nouvelle. The short and anecdotal form in which he retells the stories makes them useful to the student. Alexandre Herculano was a novelist who began about 1840 to publish romantic and historical novels based on the past. The selections from his books give some of the best episodes and descriptions that he wrote. The student of Spanish will find his narrative of Roderic the Goth, of Pelayo, and of the Arabs in Cordoba doubly interesting.

Alfred Coester

Stanford University

     From the First Article on Portuguese Linguistics 4 (1921): 168-74


     Four months after the overthrow of the monarchy in Portugal a ministerial decree from the Interior Department of the new republic instituted a commission, whose purpose was �se simplificarem as grafias correntes, entre si contraditórias, regularizandoas em obediência ao princípio capital da simplificação�. The findings of this commission, under report dated August 23, 1911, and appearing in the �Diário do Governo� nine days later on September 1st, form the basis of the new Portuguese orthography (ortografía portuguesa oficial), which has been in official use in Portugal since the latter date.

     Although the question of a simplified orthography had for decades occupied the attention of publicists and philologians, preeminent among them José Leite de Vasconcellos, Candido de Figueiredo, and Aniceto dos Reis Gonçalves Viana, not until the advent of the republic with its clean sweep in matters governmental, did the reform become possible in official circles.

     Following are the main features of the revised system:

     1. Simplification of Spelling

     1. Double consonants are done away with, except as required in pronunciation:

                            addição> adição,                            
chamma > chama,
official> oficial,
metter > meter,
illustrado> ilustrado,
appellar > apelar,
accesso> acesso.

     2. Mute consonants suppressed, except where pronunciation of preceding vowel would be influenced thereby:

                                escripto> escrito,                              
lucta > lucta,
somno> sono,
signal> sinal,
funcção> função,

but direcção remains direcção (c not pronounced but e remains open -without this diacritical c, e as unstressed would be surd);


auctor > autor,


but actor remains actor (c not pronounced, but a remains open -without this diacritical c, we should have closed a as in English �above�);

                                descripção > descrição,                              

but adopção remains adopção (p not pronounced, but o remains open without this diacritical p, o as unstressed would be surd, i. e. English �oo� as in �moon�); likewise, to conform orthography to pronunciation:

                             prompto> pronto,                            
assumpto> assunto...

Maro Beath Jones

Pomona College [596]

     From the First pedagogical article: 10 (1927): 265-69.


     A severe handicap to the teaching of Portuguese in American schools has been remedied by the publication of an elementary annotated text and a Portuguese grammar upon modern pedagogical lines. There are, quite naturally, a number of grammars us able by English speaking students, but none can compare in simplicity, accuracy or completeness with the recently published Hills, Ford, Coutinho Grammar (D. C. Heath and Company, 1925). This follows in general the pedagogical plan of the well-known Spanish grammar of the first two authors above, and should be in the hands of every teacher and student of Portuguese.

     As a supplementary grammar, especially adapted for review work, there is the Portuguese volume of he unique Gaspey-Otto-Sauer series, written by Louise Ey, of the Colonial Institute and Upper Commercial School of Hamburg (Julius Groos, Heidelberg, 1911). This is more compendious than the ordinary elementary textbook, with a plethora of exercises and extracts for translation...

Maro Beath Jones

Pomona College