· Biography
   · FAQ
   · Characters
   · Places
     · Ancient period
     · Spanish and
     · Portuguese
     · linguists
      · Fernando Di
      · Cordova
      · Covilham
      · Libertas
      · Cominetus
      · Arias Mantanus
      · Del Rio
      · Lope de Vega
      · Missionaries
      · Antonio
      · Fernandez
      · Carabantes
      · Pedro Paez
      * Hervas-y-pandura
     · Italian
     · Linguists
     · French Linguists
     · Linguists of
     · the Teutonic
     · race
     · British and
     · Irish linguists
     · Slavonian
     · linguists
     · Other linguists
   · Highlights
   · Language table

Learn That Language Now -- Learn a New Language 3 Times Faster
Home > Mezzofanti > Eminent linguists > Spanish and Portuguese linguists > Hervas-y-pandura

By far the most eminent linguist of the Peninsula, however, is the learned Jesuit, Father Lorenzo Hervas-y- Pandura. He was born in 1735, of a noble family, at Horcajo, in la Mancha. Having entered the Jesuit society, he taught philosophy for some years in Madrid, and afterwards in a convent in Murcia; but at length, happily for the interests of science as well as of religion, he embraced a missionary career, and remained attached to the Jesuit mission of America, until 1767. On the suppression of the order, Father Hervas settled at Cesena, and devoted himself to his early philosophical studies, which, however, he ultimately, in a great measure, relinquished in order to apply himself to literature and especially to philology. When the members of the society were permitted to re-establish themselves in Spain, Hervas went to Catalonia; but he was obliged to return to Italy, and settled at Rome, where he was named by Pius VII, keeper of the-Vatican Library. In this honourable charge he remained till his death in 1809. Father Hervas may with truth be pronounced one of the most meritorious scholars of modern times. His works are exceedingly numerous; and, beside his favourite pursuit, philology, embrace almost every other conceivable subject, theology, mathematics, history, general and local, palaeography ; not to speak of an extensive collection of works connected with the order, which he edited, and a translation of Bercastel's History of the Church, (with a continuation), executed, if not by himself, at least under his superintendence. Besides all the stupendous labour implied in these diversified undertakings, Father Hervas has the still further merit of having devoted himself to the subject of the instruction of the deaf-mute, for whose use he devised a little series of publications, and pub- lished a very valuable essay on the principles to be followed in their instruction. Our only present concern, however, is with his philological and linguistic publications, especially in so far as they evince a knowledge of languages. They form part of a great work in twenty-one 4to. volumes, entitled Idea dell' Universo ; and were printed at intervals, at Cesena, in Italian, from which language they were translated into Spanish by his friends and associates, and republished in Spain. It will only be necessary to particularize one or two of them—the Saggio Prattico delle Lingue, which consists of a collection of the Lord's Prayer in three hundred and seven languages, together with other specimens of twenty-two additional languages, in which the author was unable to obtain a version of the Lord's Prayer, all illustrated by grammatical analyses and annotations ; and the Catalogo delle Lingue conosciute, e Notizia delle loro Affinità e Diversita. In the compilation of these, and his other collections, it is true, Hervas had the advantage, not alone of his own extensive travel, and of his own laborious research, but also of the aid of his brethren; and this in an Order which numbered among its members, men to whose adventurous spirit every corner of the world had been familiar :— " In Greenland's icy mountains, On India's coral strand, Where Afric's sunny fountains Roll down their golden sand." But he, himself, compiled grammars of do less than eighteen of the languages of America; which, with the liberality of true science, he freely communicated to William von Hum-boldt for publication in the Mithridates of Adelung. He was a most refined classical scholar and a profound Orientalist. He was perfectly familiar, besides, with almost all the European languages; and, wide as is the range of tongues which his published works embrace, his critical and grammatical notes and observations, even upon the most obscure and least known of the languages which they contain, although in many cases they have of course all the imperfections of a first essay, exhibit, even in their occasional errors, a vigorous and original mind. The name of Father Hervas-y-Pandura is a fitting close to the distinguished line of linguistic " Glorias de Espana."

Copyright 2009 - All rights reserved
No part of this website may be copied by any means without my written authorization.
Printed from