Penn Library

CULTURAL READINGS: Colonization & Print in the Americas


Molina
Jay I. Kislak Foundation
Alonso de Molina,
Vocabulario en lengua castellana y mexicana.

Mexico: Antonio de Spinola, 1571.

Detail of text

Molina, a Franciscan, produced the first dictionary printed in the New World, and the first systematic approach to an indigenous language. Molina arrived in Mexico immediately following CortÚs's invasion. His dictionary, while useful for missionaries, also served the ends of colonial policy. The Spanish sought to make Nahuatl the single language of communication in Mexico, marginalizing all other spoken and written Indian languages. This attempt to consolidate linguistic difference also effectively cut off the Indians from the language of their new masters.

Religion and Print

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