The first list of Malayalam words at the end of 15th century by a Portuguese seaman

A primeira lista de palavras do malaiala escrito por um marinheiro português no final do século XV

Gonçalo Fernandes About the author


MS-804 from the Municipal Library of Porto, Portugal, is a unique copy of the journal of the first voyage to India under Vasco da Gama’s (ca. 1460–1524) command. It describes the voyage subsequent to the departure from the Tagus River, Portugal, on 8 July 1497 until the return up the shallows of the Grande River de Buba, Guinea, on 25 April 1499. The author of the original of this account is probably Álvaro Velho (fl. 1497/1507), born in Barreiro, but the arguments are still weak, being only achieved by deduction. The copyist is also probably John Theotonius, CRSA. The great merit of this document is the fact that the author was a direct eyewitness of all events. In the last appendix, at folio 45, it has a list of 122 useful daily words and expressions in Portuguese and their translation into Malayalam, a provincial Dravidian language spoken in Kerala State, India. It is a relevant testimony of a variety of Malayalam at the end of the 15th century, despite certain transcription mistakes and the scribe’s censorship of some vulgarisms. In this new semi-diplomatic edition, I applied rigorous transcription criteria and corrected earlier editions, adding English translations and Malayalam equivalences.

Descobrimentos portugueses; Vasco da Gama; Índia; Malaiala; Álvaro Velho; Edição semidiplomática

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