O Léxico de Guimarães Rosa

Nilce Sant’Anna Martins is a former Professor of the Universidade de São Paulo, and she has made an unimaginable effort: she has “translated” Guimarães Rosa’s neologisms. In her “O Léxico de Guimarães Rosa,” published in 2001, you can find definitions and explanations for over 8,000 of Rosa’s words— approximately 5,000 of which are words that appear only once among all of Guimarães Rosa’s romances, stories, and short novels.

It took her eight years to complete the work, but she describes it as having been a unique opportunity to immerse herself in the fantastic world of Rosa. Although, she adds, the work is not finished with the publication of her dictionary, for even words that sound “regular” can contain mystery.

For example, the word “favoroso” (an important and recurrent word in “O Recado do Morro”) has not yet been fully understood: it can refer to “favor” [“favor”, in English], “favorecimento” [“partiality”], or even “favorito” [“favorite”], but even Nilce can’t be sure of it.

All the more reason for us to keep digging through Guimarães Rosa’s amazing world!

By Amália Dos Santos, USP


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