authorPedro Beltran de Santa Rosa
lifeca. 1690 - 1760
titleArte del idioma maya
ms. finished1742
contentMorphology-centered grammar. Extensive sections on particles and lexical fields.
size210 pp.
commentDivided in numbered articles and paragraphs. Written in the Convento Capitular de San Francisco, Mérida, Yuc. No ms. extant

Beltran de Santa Rosa, Pedro 1746, Arte del idioma maya, reducido a sucinctas reglas, y semilexicon yucateco. México D.F.: Viuda de d. J. Bernardo de Hogal.


Beltrán de Santa Rosa María de Lima, Pedro 1859, Arte del idioma maya reducido a sucintas reglas y semilexicon yucateco. Mérida, Yuc.: J.D. Espinosa. (2nd edition).

Some corrections made by the author to the first edition.

Bolles, David 2001, Arte de el idioma maya reducido a succintas reglas, y semilexicon yucateco por el R. P. Fr. Pedro Beltrán.

Unchanged HTML copy of the ms.– There is also a downloadable, but not searchable pdf edition.

Beltrán de Santa Rosa, Pedro 2002, Arte del idioma maya reducido a succinctas reglas y semilexicón yucateco. Edición anotada y crítica de René Acuña. México D.F.: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Instituto de Investigaciones Filológicas (Fuentes para el estudio de la cultura maya, 17).

Critical edition based on the first edition of 1746, on a copy manually emended by Beltrán himself, conserved in the John Carter Brown Library. Original pagination; Spanish orthography lightly modernized.

secondaryEdition by Acuña, pp. 15-26

Beltrán's biographical dates are unknown. He was born and lived in Yucatán and enjoyed a bilingual and bicultural education (possibly by a Spanish father and a Maya mother). He became a Francsican. From 1742 on, Beltrán was profesor de lengua maya in the college of Mérida. There is no trace of him after 1757.

Beltrán does not know Coronel. His grammar is explicitly based on San Buenaventura 1684, but often critical of it. Part of the differences is due to diachronic change. Occasionally, Beltrán is also critical of Latin-based descriptions of Maya, although in general he uses concepts of the Latin tradition.

For the lexical part of his book, Beltrán uses the Viena Bocabulario and the Calepino de Motul.

Contents of the 1st edition of 1746 (original pagination)
1Abecedariopronunciation of letters
15partes de la oración y, primero, del nombrecase, gender, number, comparison
28pronombrefour paradigms of personal pronominal elements plus reflexive pronoun
313verbogeneral rules for conjugation; particular rules for each of the four conjugations
432sinalefa y syncopaapocope of word-final vowel; syncope of internal vowel
532exemplares de las conjugaciones
41Conjugación primeraparadigms of intransitive verbs
45Conjugación segundaparadigms of derived transitive verbs
50Conjugación terceraparadigms of transitive root verbs
53Conjugación quartaparadigms of transitivized verbs
656verbos irregularespronominal elements and verboids as predicates; irregular verbs
775mutanzas de los verbosdependent state conjugation
878explicación de los tiempostense and aspect marking in different interclausal relations
984verbos de las quatro conjugaciones con pretéritos y futurosalphabetical lists of verbs of the four conjugations with their past and future forms
10125preposiciones, adverbios y conjuncionesalphabetical list of prepositions, adverbs and conjunctions with their use
11153los números, tabla de multiplicar, y partículas para contarnumerals, multiplication, numeral classifiers
12164partes del alma y del cuerpo, y sus enfermedadeslexical fields of body-part (Mayan lemmas), cognition, emotion and disease (Spanish lemmas) terminology
13172parentezcos y sus gradoskinship terminology (Spanish lemmas)
14176animales y avesanimals (Spanish lemmas)
15179cosas manuales de una casahousehold items and other vocables (Spanish lemmas)
187días festivosholidays
188advertencia finalcorrection concerning Beltrán's predecessors

Occasionally, Beltrán marks features of Mayan vowels by acute, grave and circumflex accents, but does not explain these symbols. They bear no simple relation to phonological features of modern Maya.

Some articles are highly original, among them #1, 4, 5 and 11. In article 5, Beltrán recognizes that several classes of verbs have a regular contrast between transitive and intransitive conjugation. #11 contains the first description and inventory of numeral classifiers.