LITHUANIAN QUARTERLY JOURNAL OF ARTS AND SCIENCES
Volume 33, No.2 - Summer 1987
Editor of this issue: Antanas Klimas
Copyright © 1987 LITUANUS Foundation, Inc.
Sabaliauskas, A. Baltų kalbų tyrinėjimai 1945-1985.
Pp. 1-124. 1985. Vilnius, Mokslas.
In the preface, the author writes that the purpose of this book is to review briefly the investigations of the Baltic languages which have appeared in Lithuania, Latvia, the other Soviet republics and abroad. In the last four decades a great number of investigations of the Baltic languages have been published especially in the Baltic republics. Sometimes only two or three articles published by a certain linguist have been chosen as examples. The author notes also in the preface that not all of the works appearing at the end of 1985 are included. For example, the most important Baltistic event of 1985, the International Conference of Balticists which took place in Vilnius on October 9-12 is not discussed . . . the abstracts of this conference alone number more than 150.
The book is divided into the following chapters: (1) General problems, (2) the Lithuanian language, (3) the Latvian language, (4) the Old Prussian language, (5) the Jatvingian problem, (6) Other extinct Baltic languages. There is also a list of abbreviations and an index of proper names.
Sabaliauskas considers V. Mažiulis' book. The relationships between the Baltic and the other Indo-European languages (declension), the most important work on general Baltic problems published in Lithuania (Vilnius, 1970). The theses of this book are based on rich factual material from the languages mentioned in its title and the system of declension of the Baltic languages and problems of the vocalism of these languages are considered in detail.
The history of the Baltic languages and their development up to the 7th century A.D. are discussed in Z. Zinkevičius' book, The origin of the Lithuanian language (Vilnius, 1984). This is the first volume of a planned five-volume work, The history of the Lithuanian language, which will discuss the migrations of the Indo-Europeans, their dialects, the Baltic linguistic system and its development, and will give characterizations of the various Baltic languages.
An important pedagogical contribution is J. Kabelka's Introduction to Baltic philology (Vilnius, 1982) designed for students in the upper level schools (aukštosios mokyklos). This is the first such work published in Lithuanian and is more broadly oriented than its predecessors.
Sabaliauskas mentions also, perhaps a little too briefly in this reviewer's opinion, the path-breaking work by Jonas Kazlauskas, Historical grammar of the Lithuanian language (Vilnius, 1968). this book considers questions of the vocalism, accentology, and the relative chronology of the Baltic languages.
Also mentioned are Simas Karaliūnas' study of Baltic and Slavic relationships which appeared in the journal Lietuvių kalbotyros klausimai, pp. 7-100, Vol. 10, 1968 and his important study of the Baltic verb which appeared in the same journal, pp. 7-150, Vol. 14, 1973. I might mention here that a Lithuanian language version of Karaliūnas' dissertation, a further study of the Lithuanian verb is scheduled for publication in 1987.
In 1945 Janis Endzelins published his Introduction to Baltic philology (Riga) and in 1948 his book, The sounds and forms of the Baltic languages (Riga). This latter book, according to Sabaliauskas, is the first concise Baltic comparative grammar, reflecting the most important results of Baltic language investigations (including the author's own important work) available at the time of publication. The book was translated into Lithuanian by a group of Vilnius university students and published in 1957. The author of this review and Prof. Bemjaminš Jegers later translated this book into English and it was published in 1971 by the Mouton Publishing Co. (Paris The Hague) with the title Comparative Phonology and Morphology of the Baltic Languages. Latvian Balticists have done a great service for Baltic philology by preparing for publication Janis Endzelins' Collected Works (Riga, Vols. 1-4, 1971-1982).
Sabaliauskas mentions also the important works of the famous Russian linguist, Vyacheslav Ivanov, one of whose recent books is entitled, The Slavic, Baltic and early Balkan verb (Moscow, 1981). The most impressive work by this author (in collaboration with the famous Georgian scholar Tamaz Gamkrelidze) is the two-volume book, The Indo-European language and the Indo-Europeans (Tbilisi, 1984).
As far as the Lithuanian language is concerned the most important works appearing in Lithuania are the Academy grammar of Lithuanian and the impressive Academy Dictionary of Lithuanian volume 13 of which appeared in 1984 and which, when finished, will number 20 volumes.
Among the foreign works devoted to Lithuanian, Sabaliauskas mentions A. Klimas' article 'Some attempts to inventory Lithuanian phonemes' published in Baltic linguistics (University Park and London, pp. 93-102, 1970). He also mentions Janina Reklaitis' doctoral dissertation, Theory of analogical change: Application to Lithuanian (Stanford, 1980).
Among the foreign works devoted to the study of the Latvian language Sabaliauskas notes the impressive three-volume book, A grammar of modern Latvian written by T. Fennell and H. Gelsen and published in 1980 by the Mouton Publishing Company (The Hague Paris New York). He also mentions Valdis Zeps' impressive work, Placenames of Latgola: A dictionary of East Latvian toponyms (Madison, 1984).
Whereas in Lithuania the most important work on Old Prussian is V. Mažiulis' Monuments of the Old Prussian language (Vilnius, Vol. I, 1966, Vol. II, 1981), the most important work coming out in the Russian Republic is V.N. Toporov's Prussian language: Dictionary (Moscow, Vol. 1,1975, Vol. II, 1979, Vol. II, 1980, Vol. IV, 1984), which contains essentially all the information available on the Old Prussian language. At least three more volumes of this book are to be published.
In short this is an extremely handy reference tool for anyone interested in publications on the Baltic languages in the years in question. I recommend the book for all Balticists, Slavicists and Indo-Europeanists and even for non-specialists who wish an overall view of the Baltic field in recent years. The author is to be congratulated on having produced this useful little book.
William R. Schmalstieg
The Pennsylvania State University