2007 | 20-21 | 107-132
Article title

Spanish in the Czech Lands at the Time of J. A. Comenius

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The significance and propagation of Spanish in the Czech Lands grew in the 16th and 17th centuries. Thanks to the political state of affairs and the dynasticties in place, it was spoken in the court sphere as well as among family members of certain aristocratic families and it was disseminated in communication among the Catholic elites. Its use is on record in official and personal correspondence as well as in journal entries. There is an abundance of books in Spanish in Bohemian and Moravian libraries – both secular and ecclesiastic. Most of them were printed abroad (in Spain, but also in Portugal, Italy and the Netherlands), though some were printed in Prague. Closer investigation has shown that Bohemian-Spanish contacts were more plentiful in concrete cases than was generally adjudged. For this reason, more research is necessary, particularly in the noble families’ archives and in the collections of printed books. Jan Amos Comenius was born into and lived in this environment and although he himself was determined by his non-Catholic religious orientation and his subsequent exile, he also manifested a marked interest in the Spanish and Spanish-American world and its languages. This may be seen in his Janua linguarum, a creative adaptation of a linguistic work by Irish Jesuits, which was published in Salamanca, Spain, in 1611.
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