Spelling in this edition

The spelling used throughout this edition is based on Mettmann's, but with modifications designed to make the performer's life easier—especially the majority who will come to the Cantigas de Santa Maria with limited prior knowledge of the language. Mettmann stated in his first edition (Coimbra, 1959) that he had two main goals: "a fluidly readable text and philological precision". The first goal of readability tends to push any edited text away from faithfulness to the original manuscripts, and the second back towards it, and Mettmann certainly had his work cut out in reconciling the two. Fortunately, in an edition for performers the philological aspect really isn't so important, and that means I have had a bit more freedom to simplify the spelling.

The good news is that you really don't need to study this page if you are new to the Cantigas de Santa Maria: just go straight to the Pronunciation guide to get started. However, if you have seen the Cantigas before with different spelling, and are curious about what I have changed and why, then this page will tell you everything you need to know (and possibly a lot more).

Marking of stress, hiatus and vowel quality

The most pervasive difference in spelling from Mettmann's edition is my use of diacritics to mark unpredictable word stress, hiatus between adjacent vowels, and vowel quality in the letters e and o, as seen in words such as ángeos, porê, María, grorïosa, nïú, quér, poder vs. podér, fora vs. fóra, and so on. The accentuation system I have settled upon isn't exactly like either modern official Galician orthography, or the standard Portuguese system, but combines features of both in a way that I believe is most helpful for speakers of other languages. In general I have worked on the principle that it is better to use too many accents than too few, given that most performers won't be linguistic experts and will appreciate all the hints they can get. My goal has been both to identify vowel quality and stress unambiguously in combination with some easily learnt rules, and also to make the syllables in every word as obvious as possible when the red bullets are not displayed, all without inventing something too ugly and heavy-handed in the process.

With regard to vowel quality marking on e and o—i.e. indicating the difference between close (high-mid) [e] [o] and open (low-mid) [ɛ] [ɔ]—the main difference from the modern Portuguese system is that open vowels (which are almost always stressed) take the acute accent even when the stress position is predictable from the word ending, for example in féro, fóra. In the rare cases where I mark an open vowel that does not carry primary stress, this takes the grave accent, for example apòstamente, fèramê.

In full, the stress-marking system is as follows:

  • non-contrasting vowels a i u with unpredictable stress are marked with the acute accent only: á í ú;
  • close e [e] and o [o] with unpredictable stress are marked with circumflex: ê ô;
  • close e [e] and o [o] with predictable stress, or no stress, are not marked: e o;
  • open e [ɛ] and o [ɔ] with primary stress (predictable or not) are marked with acute: é ó;
  • open e [ɛ] and o [ɔ] with secondary stress are marked with grave: è ò.

So e ê o ô are always close, and é è ó ò are always open.

There is only one word in which I have used the circumflex on a monosyllable, and that is to distinguish the preposition en from the adverb ên. In all other cases, remember that the primary purpose of the accents is to discriminate between sounds, not word meanings, and I have applied them consistently on that basis. Consequently, the 3rd person verbs can and could are póde and pode in this edition, where modern Portuguese has the same vowel contrast but writes pode and pôde instead. Note also that in the language of the Cantigas, the open/close contrast in e and o is neutralized before a syllable-final nasal consonant (spelled with a following m or n, or with a tilde over the vowel) such that [ɛ] and [ɔ] cannot occur. In this case, the resulting close vowel is still, consistently, written with the circumflex when stress is not predictable, hence porê not poré.

As for marking hiatus—i.e. distinguishing two full vowels in separate syllables from a single-syllable diphthong—the cleanest possible system would keep this quite separate from stress marking, since these two aspects of pronunciation are entirely independent. The trema (two dots) is the natural candidate, as in nïente with three syllables and empérïo with four. Unfortunately, strict adherence to such a system would also mean writing e.g. Marïa, havïa, since the i in these words has predictable stress (being the penultimate syllable in a word ending in -a) and therefore should not take the acute accent according to the rules listed above. Although that would work, and quite unambiguously, I suspect that it would readily attract the label ‘ugly’, and given the frequency of such words, could quickly become tiresome and intrusive. I have therefore chosen to adopt the official Galician (and Castilian) system and use the acute accent in cases of stressed hiatus, writing María, havía instead.

See the Pronunciation guide for further details of how to identify word stress, hiatus and vowel quality.

Other spelling modifications

 Spelling changeExamples
1. Double letters become single where they do not represent a distinct sound. This affects bb, cc, ff, gg and pp, (but not ll, nn, rr and ss). peccado → pecado
soffreu → sofreu
appareceu → apareceu
2. Latin, Greek and Hebrew-based spellings are nativized:
  • jh → j
  • ph → f
  • ps → s
  • th → t
  • ch → c or qu when the sound is [k]
  • nn → n when the sound is [n] (originally [-n.n-] in different syllables)
Jhesu-Christo → Jesú-Cristo
psalmos → salmos
Theophilo → Teófilo
patriarcha → patrïarca
Joachin → Joaquí
Archetecrỹo → Arquetecrio
Anna → Ana
3. c' → qu' before e or i when the sound is [k]. ric' e poderoso → riqu' e poderoso
pouc' enante → poqu' enante
4. g' → gu' before e or i when the sound is [g]. log' enton → logu' entô
fog' infernal → fogu' infernal
5. c' → ç' before any vowel when the sound is [ʦ]. vic' e sabor → viç' e sabor
6. g' → j' before any vowel when the sound is [ʤ].

Strictly speaking, changes 5 and 6 are only necessary before a, o, u, but it is perhaps clearer if they are made in all cases.
mong' acorreu → monj' acorreu
long' alá → lonj' alá
eigreg' e → eigrej' e
7. ç → c before e or i.

The letter c in this position is always pronounced ç [ʦ], but the manuscripts employ c and ç more or less randomly.
çeo → céo
guareçer → guarecer
8. Word-initial rr- and ss- are normalised to r- and s-. (Medially, the double letters are strictly preserved.) rrijo → rijo
ssa → sa
9. The original digraphs ll and nn are preserved in the standard spelling, but can be changed to lh and nh or ñ respectively from the Spelling preferences page. opt. fillar → filhar
opt. Sennor → Senhor or Señor
10. Syllable-final -m and -n are normalised:
  • m before b and p inside a word
  • n elsewhere inside a word
  • -n word-final in the standard spelling (with -m in the Spelling preferences).
Word-final -m is very rare in the CSM manuscripts compared with -n (apart from a curious run between about CSM 350 and CSM 400), and this is my only reason for choosing -n here as standard.

Some Greek, Latin and French words are protected from this change, e.g. dominum, requiem, triclinium, Balaam, Monpisler (not Mom-), kyrieleison (never -som). The m is also preserved in the two occurrences of omnipotente. However, Adam → Adán, Beleem → Beleên and Jerusalem → Jerusalên in the standard spelling since variant forms with -n occur in the original manuscripts anyway.
nenbra → nembra
anpar → ampar
conprida → comprida

std. faziam → fazían
std. virgem → virgen
std. dum mõesteiro → dun mõesteiro

opt. virgen → virgem
11. Syllable-initial silent h is written when etymologically justified, and omitted when it is not.

Up until October 2019 my edition omitted this h across the board, because it is rarely used correctly in the manuscripts, and leaving it out is obviously the best way to avoid mispronunciation. However, I've since come to the realization that in a performing edition, the benefit of restoring the etymological h, and thereby matching the familiar modern orthographies of Galician, Portuguese and Spanish for those who know those languages (natively or otherwise) far outweighs the minor inconvenience of having to learn one simple extra pronunciation rule (i.e. h is silent) for everybody else.

See CSM 70:19 for the fly in the ointment.
hũa → ũa and nihũa → niũa
aver → haver and in all other forms of this common verb
ome → hóme
omildade → homildade
ostia → hóstia
12. The letter y is replaced by i in all cases (and by ĩ etc.) since these letters do not represent different sounds.

This does not mean that i and y are used indiscriminately in the original manuscripts. For a start, written i can represent the consonant which Mettmann transcribes as j (= [ʤ]), whereas y cannot. As a result, there seems to be a tendency for the scribe to use y when i might be read incorrectly as a consonant, and to prefer i where the vowel is unambiguous. But on top of that, it is largely a case of some words typically using i, and others y—with exceptions in abundance. My exclusive use of i here is simply because preserving the distinction from y is extremely unlikely to tell the performer anything useful.
amỹude → amĩude
bẽeyta → bẽeita
reyno → reino
foy → foi
paryu → pariu
oya → oía
vỹir → vĩir
vyu → viu
Ysaya → Isaía
ygreja → igreja
y → i
13. Long ĩi and short ĩ (or original ĩy / ) before a, o or e are replaced with a sequence containing the consonant nn / nh / ñ (depending on selected spelling preferences) to indicate the correct pronunciation with [ɲ]:
  • -ĩia- → -iinna- / -iinha- / -iiña-
  • -ĩa- → -inna- / -inha- / -iña-
  • -ĩo- → -inno- / -inho- / -iño-
  • -ĩe- → -inne- / -inhe- / -iñe-
It is quite clear from the variant spellings and the use of rhyme in the Cantigas de Santa Maria that this 'glide consonant' [ɲ] was generally present in these words, as it still is in the modern Portuguese and Galician languages, though now spelled as nh / ñ, e.g. tinha / tiña. Interestingly, the very first edition of the Cantigas de Santa Maria, published by the Real Academia Española in 1889, used this spelling with nn throughout—something which Mettmann quite reasonably described as a "great defect", since the evolution of the glide consonant is of significant interest to philologists, and faithfulness to the forms in the manuscripts is crucial for them. To performers, however, it is likely to be of no interest whatsoever.

Note that ĩi is not affected unless a follows, and neither is ĩu, so my spelling leaves words like vĩir and vĩudo unchanged.

tĩian → tiía
convĩia → conviía
meirỹo → meirio
menĩez → meniez
reỹa → reía
vỹo → vio
14. Vowels with tilde ã, and õ plus a 'yod' become ann, enn and onn respectively (or optionally, as above, with -nh- or -ñ-) to indicate the correct pronunciation with [ɲ].

A yod is an i (originally always y) that begins a rising diphthong, and is therefore a semivowel rather than a full vowel. As with change 13, we know that the pronunciation of these words included the [ɲ] sound from the evidence of variant spellings and rhymes (e.g. estrãya rhymes with aranna in CSM 201, and the word commonly appears as estranna elsewhere).

On the other hand, this process does not apply, for instance, to the imperfect verb form põya, where the y not a yod but a full stressed vowel. This word therefore appears as põía in my edition.
eãyo → eao (eao)
engẽyo → engeo
estrãya → estraa
omãyar → omaar
poçõy' aquel → poço' aquel
testimõya → testimoa

BUT põya → põía (ia)
15. The rare endings -eo and -io become -eu and -iu in 3rd person singular preterite verbs.

For the even rarer subset of these cases where the scribe might be deliberately indicating diaeresis (i.e. an extra syllable) through the use of o, this is marked in the standard way by -eü and -iü.
viveo → viveu
respondeo → respondeu
dormio → dormiu in CSM 372:17
dormio → dormiü in CSM 355:41
caeo → caeü in CSM 222:21
16. Missing u is restored after q. mesqynna → mesquia
17. Roman numerals are expanded into words.

Note that there are just 16 of these, and they only occur in epigraphs.
.XV. → quinze in CSM 333
.XXX. → triínta in CSM 364
.LXXVIIIIª. → septuagésima novena
18. Miscellaneous small changes.

There are just a handful of these: the list on the right is pretty much exhaustive. The objective here is simply aid pronunciation and to remove those jarring little irregularities to which the performer might attribute more significance than they are really due. In every case, the replacement form is well attested in the original manuscripts.
un' → ũ' as elided form of ũa (14 cases)
segund → segú before a consonant (6 cases)
sancta → santa (2 cases)
judeos → judéus (2 cases)
sass → sas (4 cases)
Yoan(e) → Joan(e) in CSM 138
gejũar → jajũar in CSM 15:67
demaes → demais in CSM 182:12
conplida → comprida in CSM 222:1
seyan → siía in CSM 257:16
ũu scolar → u escolar in CSM 291:8
pasqua → pascüa with diaeresis in CSM 333:39
flores → frores in CSM 366:1
rigio → rijo in CSM 366:53
ygleja → igreja in CSM 383:49
uun → u in the epigraphs of CSM 161 and 163
alguun → algũu CSM 123:35
suun → sũu CSM 105:40
connosco → conosco meaning ‘with us’ in CSM 254:26