Collection ID: 0002 | Metadata type: TEI | TEI XML | Data

Ms. Coll. 700 Item 159 Vocabulario de la lengua de los indios viceitas y blancos en Costa Rica


Vocabulario de la lengua de los indios viceitas y blancos en Costa Rica


Other related names

Call number

Ms. Coll. 700 Item 159
(3420 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104-6206., University of Pennsylvania, Rare Book & Manuscript Library)

Alternate identifiers


University of Pennsylvania


Spanish and an Indian language (or dialect) of the Talamanca region of Costa Rica, probably Bribri and possibly also Cabecar


Written sometime between the publication of the 1857 edition of Die Republik Costa Rica in Central-Amerika, by Moritz Wagner and Karl Scherzer, and C. Hermann Berendt's death in 1878.
between 1857 and 1878


C. Hermann Berendt's transcription of 182 vocabulary entries, including numbers, from the list that Karl Scherzer attributed to the Blanco, Valiente, and Talamanca tribes, in his article entitled Sprachen der Indianer Central-Amerika's (Sitzungsberichte der kaiserlichen Akademie der Wissenschaften, philosophisch-historische Classe, 15. Band, Wien, 1855, p. 28-37). The name Viceita, which Berendt substitutes (title and cover), is often associated with the Bribri, and sometimes also with the Cabecar Indians. Scherzer's article comprised a comparative table of languages of Indians of Central America, and he described the above-named tribes as inhabiting the eastern coast of Costa Rica between Rio Zent and Boca del Toro. Scherzer provided the Indian equivalents of German vocabulary arranged in the order of Albert Gallatin's comparative Indian vocabulary. This manuscript is Berendt's revised version of Ms. Coll. 700, Item 158. It comprises vocabulary entries in Spanish followed by the Indian word in the spelling according to Berendt's analytical alphabet (omitting the spelling according to Scherzer, which Berendt had included in the earlier version). In this revised version of the manuscript, Berendt presents the entries in the alphabetical order of the Spanish entries, and places the list of numbers at the end (p. 10). The notes appended to the vocabulary in the earlier version appear here in revised form as a more formal preface (p. iii-vii), although still with corrections, and some passages stricken. As in the earlier version, Berendt makes reference in the preface (p. iii) to the later publication of this same vocabulary in a book that Scherzer co-authored with Moritz Wagner, Die Republik Costa Rica in Central-Amerika (Leipzig, 1857; p. 573-576). He explains that in the latter work Scherzer reported his source to be a certain Indian by the name of Tomas Ottárola of the Blancos tribe, who was born in San José and lived at the time in Orosi; and that at one point in a note (Wagner/Scherzer, p. 563) he refers to the vocabulary as being the language of the Viseitas (Viceitas) and Blancos. The date 1853 that Berendt gives in his title appears to be a reference, also based on the same work, to when Scherzer actually collected the vocabulary during his travels. In further remarks pertaining to the specification of the Indians and the language in question, Berendt provides additional quotations from Wagner/Scherzer (p. v-vi); refers to a communication he had from Philipp J. J. Valentini (p. v, and stricken passage p. vi); and cites (p. vi) an article by Alexander von Frantzius (Die Säugethiere Costaricas, Archiv für Naturgeschichte, Jg. 35, 1869, p. 286). He also sketches in pencil the location of the river Zent, in the vicinity of the rivers Matina and Chirripo (p. vi).



10 leaves : 204 x 126 (150-153 x 95) mm. bound to 204 x 126 mm


Paper, ii + 10 + iii leaves; [i-iii], iv-vii, [viii (blank)], [9], 10-18, [19, 20 (blank)]; contemporary pagination in ink, with roman numerals upper center and arabic numerals upper outer corners.




Contemporary paper covers; sewn. Gatherings almost or completely detached from each other.


  • Written in 20 lines, with preface (p. iii-vii) in long lines, and vocabulary (p. 9-18) in 2 columns, with Spanish on the left and the Indian language on the right.
  • Script

  • Written in the hand of C. Hermann Berendt.
  • Provenance

    Subjects topical




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