The Malaysian Glossary by the Knight Pigafetta

Luís Filipe F. R. Thomaz


Of the many texts that narrate the first circumvention of the globe, it is, in fact, Antonio Pigafetta’s that is the most complete, rigorous, and reliable. Among its peculiarities is the inclusion of small glossaries for four different languages from tribes the travellers met. One is comprised of only eight words, from indigenous people of Brazil in the región of Guanabara; another, somewhat more developed, is from the “Patagonian Giants”, neighbouring the Strait of Magellan; the third is an Austronesian language of the natives of Cebu, in what is now the Philippines; and, finally, there is an extensive glossary of 426 Malay terms used throughout Insulindia, or present-day South-East Asea, as a lingua franca or trading language. The following is a detailed notation for the Malayan glossary.


Antonio Pigafetta; first circumvention of the globe; Renaissance travel writing; Malayan glossary; 16th century

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