Grammars and Vocabularies

What was the Kapampangan language like in the early days, before it absorbed influences from Tagalog, Spanish and English? Fortunately for us, 17th- and 18th-century Spanish missionaries documented it for future generations when they wrote Kapampangan dictionaries and grammar books. Their purpose was actually to prepare newly arrived missionaries from Spain before they were sent to Pampanga, but they have unwittingly done all of us a big favor by preserving not just Kapampangan words in their pristine form but also valuable anthropological data about our ancestors’ lifestyle, belief system, values and yes, even sex life. Among the books the Center already translated are: Francisco Coronel’s Arte y Reglas de la Lengua Pampanga (1621), Alvaro de Benavente’s Arte de Lengua Pampanga (1699), and Diego Bergaño’s twin books Arte de la Lengua Pampanga (1729) and Vocabulario en la Lengua Pampanga en Romance (1732).

Luther Parker Collections

Luther Parker was among the earliest American teachers to arrive in the Philippines at the start of the American colonial period. He was assigned to Masantol in 1901 and Bacolor in 1904, where he became principal of the Bacolor Trade School from 1908 to 1910. It was during his stay in this historic town that he developed a keen interest in Kapampangan history and culture. His first research was on the foundation dates of all towns and churches in Pampanga and list of priests from 1572 to 1905. Parker also proposed to James Robertson (of the Blair and Robertson fame) to convince Gov. W. Cameron Forbes to order every municipality in the Philippines to compile its own local history . Parker compiled his own for Pampanga, mostly written in Spanish by prominent Kapampangans like Dr. Felino Simpao of Guagua, Manuel Gatbonton of Candaba and Don Mariano Vicente Henson of Angeles. He deposited these at the National Library (headed at the time by Robertson). Eventually, after World War II, the Luther Parker Collections were transferred to the UP Library. In 2002, the Center obtained a copy (both photocopy and microfilm) of the entire Luther Parker Collections. Later, it started translating them to make them accessible to students and researchers.