Pushing Back the Origin of Bantu Lexicography: The Vocabularium Congense of 1652, 1928, 2012

Jasper De Kind, Gilles-Maurice de Schryver, Koen Bostoen

Abstract


In this article, the oldest Bantu dictionary hitherto known is explored, that is the Vocabularium Latinum, Hispanicum, e Congense, handed down to us through a manuscript from 1652 by the Flemish Capuchin Joris van Gheel, missionary in the Kongo (present-day north-western Angola and the southern part of the Lower Congo Province of the DRC). The manuscript was heavily reworked by the Belgian Jesuits Joseph van Wing and Constant Penders, and published in 1928. Both works are currently being digitized, linked and added to an interlingual and multimedia database that revolves around Kikongo and the early history of the Kongo kingdom. In Sections 1 and 2 the origins of Bantu lexicography in general and of Kikongo metalexicography in particular are revisited. Sections 3 and 4 are devoted to a study of Van Gheel's manuscript and an analysis of Van Wing and Penders' rework. In Sections 5 and 6 translation equivalence and lexicographical structure in both dictionaries are scrutinized and compared. In Section 7, finally, all the material is brought together.

Keywords: kikongo, kongo kingdom, congo, angola, capuchins, jesuits, bantu, latin, spanish, french, flemish, authorship, compilation strategy, language, dialect, orthography, base letters, diacritics, phonetics, proto-bantu, translation equivalence, meaning extensions, paraphrases, loanwords, misnamings, retranslations, lexicographical structure, manuscript, database


Keywords


kikongo, kongo kingdom, congo, angola, capuchins, jesuits, bantu, latin, spanish, french, flemish, authorship, compilation strategy, language, dialect, orthography, base letters, diacritics, phonetics, proto-bantu, translation equivalence, meaning extensi

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5788/22-1-1002

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ISSN 2224-0039 (online); ISSN 1684-4904 (print)

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