Worlds in Negotiation: A Study of the Metalanguage in the Tupinamba/ Nheengatu Tradition Cristina Altman University of São Paulo email@example.com This ongoing study on the Tupinamba/ Nheengatu descriptive tradition (16 th –19 th centuries) is part of a larger study on linguistic historiography in Latin American context, whose theme focuses on the tension between the perception of the linguistic diversity and its standardized modes of representation. In fact, thinking in a homogeneous way about a very heterogeneous situation seems to have been our colonial inheritance. It can be seen in the 16 th century missionaries’ decision to use ‘the most widely spoken language’ along the Brazilian coast as their instrument of catechization; or in the decision of the Portuguese crown, in the 18 th century, to declare the Portuguese language the only and the official language in both the states of Maranhão and Grão Pará and in the state of Brazil; and in the recommendation of the scientific missions of the 2 nd Empire, in the 19 th century, on the need to adopt the Tupi-Guarani based língua geral throughout the hinterland of Brazil, as a strategy which would integrate both peoples and territories. Under the cover name of Documenta Project (ALTMAN & COELHO 2006), we have been collecting and organizing materials that describe the languages spoken in colonial Brazil, with particular interest in the metalinguistic terms used by their authors. In the present paper I concentrate on two small corpora of the Tupinamba/ Nheengatu tradition that contrast in terms of the period in which they were written and the type of education received by their authors. I will be considering, on the one hand: ANCHIETA 1990, FIGUEIRA 1621, Vocabulário da Língua Brasílica (VLB) (=Ayrosa 1938 ), ANONYMOUS 18 th cent. (=Coimbra Codex 69), ANONYMOUS 1795 (= AYROSA 1934 ); and on the other: FARIA 1858, GONÇALVES Dias 1858, HARTT 1937, COUTO DE MAGALHÃES 1876, SYMPSON 1877 and BARBOSA RODRIGUES 1890. Although the majority of the documents assembled attest the viewpoint of the European colonizer, as expected, my working hypothesis in the present study is that there must be certain remnants of the colonized Other within the texts. As a matter of fact, together with the terms unequivocally employed as a technical metalanguage, we came upon various terms that represented the descriptive tradition adopted by the author(s), while excluding others; or terms employed to describe their view of the language in question (or the intellectual climate of this time); terms describing their opinion of other languages, and∕or terms that added complementary information about them; in addition, terms that corresponded to the denomination of the language(s) described; terms used for the characters and the places of the time; terms referring to the procedures regarding the descriptive tradition adopted; and terms related to (explicit, implicit) theories regarding didactics, translation, sociolinguistic features; and to historical or anthropological events (Cf. also ZWARTJES, COORD., & FLORES & ALTMAN 2006).