Vanished Worlds, Enduring People

Language and Education

Alonso de Molina. Aqui Comienša un Vocabulario en la Lengua Castellana y Mexicana. Mexico, IuŃ[n] Pablos, 1555. [view first image] | [view second image]

Molina (d. 1585), a Franciscan priest who came to Mexico as a youth, compiled this Spanish-Nahuatl dictionary for the use of the clergy. It is the first known dictionary published in the Americas. This unique copy contains handwritten definitions in the Matlatzinca language added by Father Andrés de Castro, a Franciscan missionary who preached in the Matlatzinca language. The resulting tri-lingual compilation is still studied by scholars interested in how languages change over time.

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