Arte da Lingoa de Iapam

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Arte da Lingoa de Iapam (日本大文典 nihon daibunten?) (Arte da Língua do Japão in modern Portuguese) is an early 17th-century Portuguese grammar of the Japanese language. It was compiled by João Rodrigues, a Portuguese missionary of the Society of Jesus. It is the oldest complete Japanese grammar, and is a valuable reference for late Late Middle Japanese.[1]


Christian missionary work in Japan began in the 1540s. In an attempt to better communicate, the foreign missionaries attempted to learn Japanese. They created dictionaries and grammars. Early grammars seem to have been written in the 1580s, but are no longer extant.[1]

Arte da Lingoa de Iapam is the oldest extant complete Japanese grammar. Rodrigues published it in Nagasaki over a period of five years between 1604 and 1608. There are only two known copies: one at the Bodleian Library at the University of Oxford and the other in the Crawford family collection.[1][2]

In 1620, after being transferred to Macau, Rodrigues compiled a shorter, simplified version of the grammar entitled Arte breue da lingoa Iapoa (日本小文典 nihon shōbunten?).[1]


The grammar is three volumes in length.

Available Copies[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Nihon Koten Bungaku Daijiten Henshū Iinkai (1986:1417-1418)
  2. ^ a b c d Doi (1955)