LITHUANIAN QUARTERLY JOURNAL OF ARTS AND SCIENCES
Volume 40, No.1 - Spring 1994
Editor of this issue: Antanas Klimas, University of Rochester
Copyright © 1994 LITUANUS Foundation, Inc.
Lietuvių kalbos žodynas. XV tomas: Šliup-Telžti, Vilnius, "Mokslas," 1991. (Dictionary of Lithuanian, vol. XV, Vilnius, "Mokslas," 1991). Editor-in-chief: K. Ulvydas; editors: S. Kėžyte, J. Paulauskas, K. Ulvydas, V. Vitkauskas, K. Vosylytė. 1,188 pages.
Although, as we have seen above, the publication date of this volume is 1991, in fact this volume of the Academic Dictionary of Lithuanian, ADL, or LKŽ for short, appeared at the very end of 1992. This is due to the fact that, since 1988. there have existed unusual circumstances in Lithuania which re-established its independence on March 11, 1990, but had to suffer through all kinds of political and economic difficulties. As a matter of fact, this volume was ready for publication as early as 1988, or thereabouts, but it came out several years later. One has to remember that in January of 1991, Russian troops had occupied, among other buildings, the Lithuanian Press Center where many publications such as this Dictionary were printed.
For letter 'š', we find 627 pages (1-627), and for the beginning of the 't', 560 pages (628-1188). Since there are very many words in Lithuanian beginning with 't', we can assume that the entire volume XVI will be devoted entirely to the remainder of the letter 't' words.
This volume contains about 22,500 words. If the remaining five volumes of the Dictionary will be of approximately the same size, this important dictionary of Lithuanian (ADL or LKŽ) will have about 400,000 wordsalmost the same number of words as we can find in the first edition (also 20 volumes) of the famous OED (Oxford English Dictionary).
As with most of the earlier volumes, this volume too, is a real treasure of the Lithuanian lexical system. Since Lithuanian, as is commonly known, is the most archaic of all the living Indo-European languages, these are important treasures not only for Lithuanian and Baltic linguistics, but also for the general field of comparative-historical Indo-European linguistics as well. Although, to be frank, Lithuanian is no longer as important as it was for general linguistics, especially at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century.
There are, for example, these ancient Proto-Indo-European roots *teis-/ *tois-/ *tis- which, eventually gave the multitude of important Lithuanian roots, such as teis-/ ties-/ tais-/ tis-, and which can be found in such important Lithuanian words, just to give a few samples, as teisus 'right', tiesus 'straight,' teisti 'to judge,' teisė 'law,' taisyti 'to correct', taisyklė 'rule,' and many many others. Many of the words derived from this root will be found in this volume, others will be listed in volume XVI.
Now, the most prolific of the words derived from this root (i.e., PIE *teis-/*tois-/*tis-, Lithuanian teis-/ties-/tais-/ tis-) is the Lithuanian verb taisyti which alone has acquired 40 meanings. Therefore, 46 large pages of this volume are devoted to the verb taisyti and its derivatives. Thus, we do get the following spread of this verb, with pages and pages of illustrative phrases, sentences, riddles, proverbs, etc.:
Total 298 meanings
What is very important is the fact that each of these meanings is copiously illustrated with material taken from the huge collections of Lithuanian folklore: songs, fairy tales, riddles, proverbs, sayings, etc. Also from Lithuanian literature, starting with the very beginnings of the 16th century right through the modern usage. To my mind, the most important, and the most interesting are the illustrations from the old folksongs, the tales, legends, the riddles, and the proverbs. This way this Dictionary (the ADL, or LKŽ) becomes a treasure trove of the whole Lithuanian lexical system, old and new, ancient and modern.
Of the nouns in this volume, the man's best friend "dog" (Lithuanian šuo) gets most pages 26. And here, too, there are all kinds of very interesting phrases and sentences, connected with this most beloved of all domestic animals.
As we have mentioned above, there should be at least five more volumes of this huge dictionary, this ADL or LKŽ and one would wish they would be coming out more frequently than this volume XV which appeared almost six years after the preceding volume, vol XIV.
The problem here is not the lack of good editors and other specialists in lexicography and lexicology because it is known that several further volumes are ready for the printing press. It is the lack of paper, and of finances for this huge dictionary. However, there is talk in economic circles that Lithuania, just like her neighbors Estonia and Latvia should really forge ahead economically in 1994 and 1995. Then, we hope, the last five volumes should come out still in this century.
University of Rochester