POSTPONED-"Vale poco” [of little value]- a Forgotten Spanish-Chinese Dictionary in a Manila archive

Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 4:30 pm
216 Aaron Burr
East Asian Studies Program
Department of Spanish and Portuguese

In April 2017 researchers from National Tsing Hua University (NTSU) of Taiwan in search of Chinese materials in the Archivo de la Universidad de Santo Tomás (AUST) in Manila “re-discovered” an obsolete Spanish-Chinese dictionary. Its 1944 catalog description—vale poco, of little value—sparked their curiosity. It turned out that the Dictionario Hispanico-Sinicum was comprised of four columns: one each for the Spanish word, its counterpart in Chinese characters, the pronunciation of the Chinese word in romanized Hokkien (Minnan), and the pronunciation in romanized Mandarin. Internal evidence shows that the dictionary was produced in Manila somewhere between 1624-1642. It is thus among the earliest written sources not only for Hokkien, but also for Western-Chinese lexicography; it also “represents an early chapter outside the mainstream of historical lexicography,” according to a German sinologist. Tagalog words in the dictionary also showed that the Manila Chinese had also accepted local words in their language. NTSU, in collaboration with the University of Santo Tomas, published a limited edition of facsimiles of the Dictionario in February of 2019. 

Regalado Trota José is the Director of the Archives of the University of Santo Tomás in Manila. His publications include, Simbahan: Church Art in Colonial Philippines, 1565–1898 (Manila: Ayala Museum, 1991), Faith, Power + Faith + Image (Manila: Ayala Foundation, 2004), and Images of Faith: Religious Ivory Carvings from the Philippines (Pasadena: Pacific Asia Museum, 1990). He was the associate editor of the volume on Architecture of the revised edition of the Cultural Center of the Philippines Encyclopedia of Philippine Art (Manila: Cultural Center of the Philippines, 2018).

Event category: 

Upcoming Events

Smiling behind the mask: Tokyo Olympics and its volunteers

Wed, Oct 13, 2021, 7:00 pm
Location: Virtual, ZOOM

A Book Talk and Conversation with Rey Chow

Wed, Nov 3, 2021, 4:30 pm
Location: ZOOM

Postponed: The Subjunctive Mode, CGI, and Digital Editing: Documentaries on the Yongsan Massacre and the Sewol Ferry Disaster

China's Viral Villages: Digital Nationalism in Times of Crisis

The Cornucopian Stage: Dramas of Endless Surplus in Early Modern China

Wed, Nov 17, 2021, 4:30 pm
Location: Virtual Lecture

Race of the Invisible Color Lines: Taiwanese Han among the Nanyang Chinese in Colonial Asia, 1895-1945

Manufacturing a Bestseller: Necessary Knowledge for Young Students and the Commercial Publishing in China, 17th to early 20th Centuries

The Annual Jansen Memorial Lecture: Digital Hormones: Robotics, Emotions, and Techno-Spirituality in Japan