On Nahuat-Pipil hermeneutics: a Salvadoran native language under erasure

Lara Martínez, Rafael
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Editorial Universidad Don Bosco
This paper examines how a literary national canon is consolidated excluding the study of the most important Native language of the country. Adapting Natives to a folkloric figure and assimilating Otherness to the Same, Nahuat-Pipil linguistic legacy was ignored during the 20th century. The paper reveals a huge disparity between foreign and Salvadoran linguistics. It outlines a scientific discrepancy, as well as it sketches the nationalistic perspectives that timidly approach the study of the Nahuat-Pipil language: P. Arauz (1926/1960) T. Fidias Jiménez (1935), J. Todd (1953), M. de Baratta (1959), P. Geoffroy Rivas (1961). Salvadoran artistic canon invents the figure of a Native without a mother tongue. Indeed, two foreigners accomplished the main grammatical and mythological compilations: Leonhard Schultze-Jena (1935) and Lyle Campbell (1985). For this reason, the advance of Nahuatl-Mexicano studies —with more than four hundred and fifty works (M. León- Portilla in T. Sullivan, 1976) — has barely affected Salvadoran monolingual canon. At the verge of the civil war, the Native’s image was reduced to an ancient inhabitant of Atlantis (Salarrué, 1974) or to a guerrilla fighter (Dalton, 1974), according to the philosophy and politics of the author. Nowadays, despite a new intellectual sphere, current works on Native linguistics (R. Andrews (2003), M. Launay (1994), J. Lockhart (2001), etc.), and ethno-history (L. Matthew and S. Romero, 2012) have not yet produced a radical change in the viewpoint that Salvadoran intellectual history bestows on Nahuat-Pipil language and literature. As a political being —but barely gifted with language— Nahuat-Pipil research is still missing, despite the rise of Central American Cultural Studies. Its hermeneutics —grammatical categories, syntax and poetics— continue to be unexplored.
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Científica , Nahuat-Pipil , Linguistics , Salvadoran Linguistic , Artistic Canons , Native Linguistics
Lara, R. (2015). On Nahuat-Pipil hermeneutics: a Salvadoran native language under erasure. Revista Científica, 2 (1), Época 2, pp. 17-26.