Linguistic Expression of Power and Subalternity in Peixoto’s Obra Nova de Língua Geral de Mina (1741)

Faculty/Professorship: Romance Literary Studies: Hispanic Literatures  
Author(s): Rodrigues-Moura, Enrique  ; Märzhauser, Christina
Title of the compilation: Language Dynamics in the Early Modern Period
Publisher Information: Bamberg : Otto-Friedrich-Universität
Year of publication: 2022
Pages: 207-223
Source/Other editions: Language Dynamics in the Early Modern Period. Bennett, Karen; Cattaneo, Angelo (Hg) New York ; London : Routledge, 2022. S. 207-223. - ISBN: 978-0-367-55214-5 (hbk) ; 978-0-367-55215-2 (pbk) ; eISBN: 978-1-003-09244-5.
is version of: 10.4324/9781003092445-15
Year of first publication: 2022
Language(s): English
Licence: Creative Commons - CC BY - Attribution 4.0 International 
DOI: 10.4324/9781003092445-15
URN: urn:nbn:de:bvb:473-irb-542376
Märzhäuser and Rodrigues-Moura centre their analysis on a 1741 manuscript by a Portuguese clerk, António da Costa Peixoto, who lived and worked in the Vila Rica region. His Obra Nova de Língua Geral de Mina (‘New work on the general language of Mina’) – essentially a glossary of terms supplemented by short dialogues in LGM with translations to Portuguese – is interesting not only linguistically, but also because of what it reveals about the society in which it was used. From the discussion of this manuscript, we learn, for example, that some slaves managed to buy their freedom and engage in petty trade, enjoying an unexpected degree of agency in their relationships with the Europeans in the town. Indeed, the very fact that Peixoto took the trouble to learn this African language – and that he recommends that his fellow Europeans do the same in the interests of social peace – suggests that Gayatri Spivak’s famous question ‘Can the subaltern speak?’ (Spivak, 1994) deserves an affirmative answer in this particular case. (Karen Bennett)
GND Keywords: Minas Gerais; Mundart; Geschichte 1741
Keywords: António da Costa Peixoto; Obra Nova de Língua Geral de Mina; African language; Gbe (Fon); Brazil – Colonial Brazil; enslaved people
DDC Classification: 460 Spanish & Portuguese languages  
RVK Classification: IR 2764   
Peer Reviewed: Ja
International Distribution: Ja
Type: Contribution to an Articlecollection
Release Date: 20. June 2022

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