A Philological Sencelles: a sea of words




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A Philological Sencelles: a sea of words

Sencelles has written an important page in the process of recovery and dignity of the Catalan language. For more than a century some Sencellers have dedicated earnestly to promote and create Antoni M. Alcover ‘s  grand work of Romance philology: the Diccionari Català-Valencià-Balearic. Having achieved this, however, these lands have also welcomed its continuation: all those who have participated in the process of the normalisation of the language. This is, therefore, a route to discover the role of the municipality in this task of dignifying its culture.


Can Ramis

The Molinas family, owners of Can Ramis, are one of the main descendants of Sencelles. They maintained a close relationship with Msgr. Antoni M. Alcover from before the very beginning of the endeavor of the Catalan-Valencian-Balearic dictionary (1901). This relationship was so close that not only did Msgr. Antoni M. Alcover stay at Can Molinas when he came to Sencelles, but also appointed Mr. Sebastià Molinas as correspondent for the Obra del Diccionari. He was also one of the important subscribers to the Bolletí del Diccionari de la Llengua Catalana. The close connection he had with the family’s descendants from Sencelles, is strongly felt through the obituary that Msgr. Antòni M. Alcover dedicated in 1917 to Bartomeu Molinas i Amengual: “Our dearest friend, you always stood by us in all our religious and linguistic struggles, spurring us on to carry forward the Obra del Diccionari and Grammar.Three or four years ago he became ill, and had to retire to Sencelles, where, far from recovering, his health declined until March 14th when he passed away from this life, leaving behind an honorable memory for his civic and priestly virtues, while always building, never destroying, God’s land”.


Msgr Bartomeu Oliver's Home

The teacher Msgr. Bartomeu Oliver Amengual (Sencelles 1903-1993) was a firm defender of the Mallorcan language and culture, as well as a founding partner of the l’Obra Cultural Balear. In fact, one of the “Awards December 31st”  is named after him. The philologist Aina Moll, in an article dedicated to Msgr Oliver in the local magazine Sa Sella (1993, n. 30, p.18) says: “He considered himself, but ‘a plain soldier’ in the fight for our identity, he was mainly attributed for the task of stimulating others and supporting entities useful to our language: l’Obra del Diccionari and related activities, such as  l’Obra Cultural Balear”. Whenever Francesc de B. Moll stayed at his daughter’s house in Biniali, he would always take the opportunity to go and visit Msgr Oliver in Sencelles.


Municipal Archive

The Sencelles Municipal Archive was located at the beginning of the 20th century in the Town Hall itself. From the year 1902, the seminarian Bartomeu Llabrés from Sencelles dedicated to emptying all the old documentation in order to fill the slips with information about the words that were to go into the pigeon-holes. This would be a considerable database for the future Dictionary. All this archival-based information that the collaborators were collecting served to document the antiquity of each and every word contained in this great treasure that is now the Catalan-Valencian-Balearic Dictionary.


Cal vicari Miquel Lluís Morey

A la casa del carrer Rafal, n. 32 hi visqué el vicari Miquel Lluís Morey i Fiol, aleshores també corresponsal de l’Obra del Diccionari, juntament amb Sebastià Molinas i Amengual. Ara bé, la seva gran aportació va ser sobretot com a col·laborador en la recopilació de cèdules amb cada un dels mots que havien d’anar a la calaixera. Els altres col·laboradors sencellers en els primers anys del projecte foren Bartomeu Cirer, Antoni Llabrés i Bartomeu Llabrés.


The Well of Judí

In the Bulletin of l’Obra Cultural Balear, which Msgr Alcover began to publish in 1901 to 1926, contains a large number of articles on philology – especially dialectology -, of which some studies on toponymy stand out. Specifically, in volume XIV, from the year 1926, he dedicates one to the explanation of the Jewish place name: “Rah. Judí” according to the Quadrado code. On the other hand the Bofarull code writes “Rah. Jucli” In Medina, believes that this is “Jucli”, and should be read “Judí”, and that this form isn’t Arab, since jueu (jew) in Arab is jahúdí. Judi is a Romance form derived from Judaeus, where the diphthong -ae-, which sounded -aj- in Latin, it monophthongised and was reduced to -e-, that  became a very closed sound in Spanish, sounding as -i-; in Spanish the final -u- is an open sounding -o-, and we have judio, in our language, at least in Mallorca, the said -u- is lost, and the result is Judí. The pronunciation of this word was used to name the farmstead, located between Sencelles, Sineu and Lloret de Vista Alegre with the name of Es pou Judí. On the Map of Mallorca by Cardinal Despuig, it appears as an enclosure of houses and the stream that runs past it towards Costitx, on the map is called Judí”.


So n’Antic

According to Sara Pavia Moll, the old house of So n’Antic became a center for meetings and gatherings of intellectuals animated by the owners, the Jaquotots’ family. The family of the philologist Francesc B. Moll would also attend these meetings, and the Massot Villalonga sisters too, participated in these gatherings, their property was next to So na Rossa. Other participants were Andreu Muntaner, Joan Mascaró amongst others.


Plaça Aina Moll

In 1964, the philologist and general director of Linguistic Policy of the Generalitat of Catalonia, Aina Moll Marquès (1913-2019), daughter of Francesc B. Moll (1903-1991), bought a farm in Terrer Blanc, specifically at a place known as Penya de na Cristiana. After renovating it, she went there to live. She tells about it herself in her speech for the Town’s festivities in Biniali, 2008: “From an aesthetic point of view, however, it was worth a treasure. It was a Pujolet (small hill) that corresponded very well to the name Terrer Blanc (White Mound), with large impressive rocks, and a beautiful view of the Serra Tramuntana ”. In addition to living there, she was also very productive with her writing; preparing philological and didactic materials, conferences, etc.). Likewise, her father wrote many pages dedicated to this emblematic place, as he himself writes in his memoirs. The Town Council of Sencelles dedicated the old square of Sant Ferran de Biniali to Aina Moll.