A first survey of the history of Angolan lexicography

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This paper is a first attempt to provide an overview of the main lexicographic works of the most spoken Angolan languages of African origin, which were written by missionaries of Portuguese Patronage and laymen who were living in the current territory of Angola (western Africa), from the beginning of Portuguese colonization until its independence in 1975. The current Republic of Angola encompasses old African kingdoms, specifically those of Kongo, Lunda, Matamba, Ngola-Ndongo, and Benguela, and has almost 50 African languages, but Portuguese is the only official language. The Angolan languages of African origin most studied and described by the Portuguese were initially Kimbundu, and, more recently, Umbundu and Nyaneka. The first dictionary of a Bantu language was written in mid-1648 by Italian and Spanish Capuchins led by the Portuguese-Congolese mestizo secular priest Manuel de Roboredo (later, Francisco de São Salvador, O. F. M. Cap., d. 1665). However, the regular linguistic description of the Angolan languages was initiated at the beginning of the 19th century by the Italian Bernardo Maria [Cassaro] da Cánicáttì, O. F. M. Cap. (1749-1834). In addition, after the "re-establishment" (which was never officiálly assumed) of the religious orders in Portugal (ca. 1870), the Portuguese Province of the Congregatio Sancti Spiritus (C.S.Sp.) [Congregation of the Holy Spirit] was formed in 1867 mainly because of the evangelization of Angola. In point of fact, the most relevant dictionaries of the Angolan languages in the 20th century were written by the Holy Ghost Fathers [João] Albino Alves [Manso] (1908-1956) (Kimbundu, 1951), António Joaquim da Silva (1909-1995) (Nyaneka, 1966), and José Francisco Valente (1912-1993) (Umbundu, 1972). There are also relevant lexicographic works by laymen, such as the Brazilian Doctor Saturnino de Souza e Oliveira (1820-1871), the Angolan poet, writer, and journalist Joaquim Dias Cordeiro da Matta (1857-1894) for Kimbundu, and the Portuguese medical officer José Pereira do Nascimento (1861-1913) for Umbundu.
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Fernandes, Gonçalo, Carlos Assunção, Orquídea Ribeiro, Ezra Nhampoca e Sónia Coelho. 2022 [2021]. A first survey of the history of Angolan lexicography. Moenia: Revista Lucense de Linguística e Literatura, 27. Monográfico: Dimensión linguística de la colonización: la linguística misionero-colonial. https://doi.org/10.15304/moenia.id8097