Grammar of the Castillan Language


Presented here is the first grammar of the Castilian language. This is also the first grammar of any vernacular language to be printed in Europe. The book was published in 1492, at a time when Castilian was still not considered a “language of culture.” The author, Antonio de Nebrija (circa 1444−1522), had previously written an Introductiones latinae (Introduction to Latin). He concluded that students would be better able to study Latin if there were established rules for their native language of Castilian and if they were taught these rules. The work is divided into five books: “Orthography,” “Prosody,” “Etymology,” “Syntax,” and “Introductions to the Castilian language for those of a foreign tongue who want to learn.” The text is printed in Gothic type with black ink. The first page is printed in red and black. The blank spaces throughout were reserved for enlarged initials, which were never added.

Last updated: July 8, 2015