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

Ms. Coll. 700 Item 124 Vocabulario de la lengua popoluca de Matagalpa, 1855


Vocabulario de la lengua popoluca de Matagalpa, 1855


Other related names

Call number

Ms. Coll. 700 Item 124
(3420 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104-6206., University of Pennsylvania, Rare Book & Manuscript Library)

Alternate identifiers


University of Pennsylvania


Spanish and Matagalpa


Written in Masaya, Nicaragua, in March 1874.


C. Hermann Berendt's copy of a vocabulary of 94 words, and several phrases, in Spanish and Matagalpa, also known as the Popoluca or Chontal language of Matagalpa, Nicaragua, which were collected by Victor Noguera. In a copyist's note (Advertencia; p. III-V), Berendt specifies that the language was found in the city of Matagalpa and the towns of San Ramón, Muy Muy, Sébaco and others in the department of Matagalpa, as well as towns in the then department of Segovia, including Telpaneca, Palacagüina, Yalagüina, Somoto Grande (today Somoto), and Totogalpa (all today in the department of Madriz), and Condega (today in the department of Estelí); also, according to Noguera, the geographical names still used in the language indicated that it must have extended at one time into the department of Chontales. Berendt states that the original name of the people who spoke the language is unknown and that the term Popoluca, which was applied to them, and also at that time used by the Indians themselves, was adapted from the Nahuatl language, in which it simply referred to a non-Nahuatl person or language, similar to the Nahuatl word Chontal, meaning stranger. A clipping of a printed footnote included in the manuscript (tipped in between p. II and III) reiterates this point in a broader context, indicating that the terms Popoluca and Chontal were used in this way to refer to various peoples and languages in Mexico and Central America (the footnote appeared on p. 71, in the article "Zur Ethnologie von Nicaragua," based on a communication by letter from Berendt, in the September 1874 issue of Correspondenz-Blatt der deutschen Gesellschaft für Anthropologie, Ethnologie und Urgeschichte). Berendt's annotations include pencilled notations about similarities to other languages, with his findings summarized in a separate note (p. VI): 3 words are Mexican (Nahuatl), and 9 words are at least possibly related to words in Ulva, Lenca, Miskito (Moskito), Jicaque (Xicaque), or Maribio (Subtiaba). In a footnote to the listing of phrases Berendt indicates that Noguera produced these from memory, having lost several leaves of phrases that he had recorded in 1855 (p. 6). A folder shelved with the manuscript contains the following related items: 1 bifolium has a draft of the title page and copyist's note, along with biographical information about Victor Noguera; a version of the vocabulary list; and a note in Spanish (apparently a statement from Noguera, with what looks like his name beneath) concerning the physical appearance of the Indians called Popoluca in the departments of Segovia and Matagalpa. An additional 2 bifolia contain another version of the vocabulary list, in 3 columns, with the Spanish, the Matagalpa, and then a 2nd column for a different orthography of the Matagalpa, the latter apparently the rendering using Berendt's analytical alphabet, which is also the orthography used in the manuscript proper. For Berendt's comparison of some of the words in Noguera's list with the equivalents in languages called Chontal or Popoluca, found in the Mexican states of Oaxaca and Tabasco, and the town of Oluta in Veracruz, see Ms. Coll. 700 Item 125.



12 leaves : 205 x 129 (160 x 95) mm. bound to 210 x 134 mm. +


Paper, 12; fol. i (paper endleaf) + 12 + i (paper endleaf); [i-vi], [I-III], IV-V, [VI], [1], 2-6, [7-12]. P. i-vi, II, and 7-12 are blank. Contemporary pagination in ink, with roman numerals upper center and arabic numerals upper outer corners. Fragment of a printed leaf tipped in between p. II and III.




Contemporary half-calf; covers detached.


  • Written in 20 lines; notes written in long lines, and vocabulary written in 2 columns, with Spanish on the left and Matagalpa on the right.
  • Script

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

    Subjects topical




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