LITHUANIAN QUARTERLY JOURNAL OF ARTS AND SCIENCES
Volume 46, No.2 - Summer 2000
Editor of this issue: Violeta Kelertas
Copyright © 2000 LITUANUS Foundation, Inc.
Lalies: Actes de sessions de linguistique et de littërature 19. I: "Lituanien, " by Daniel Petit, 1999. Presses de l'Ëcole normale supërieure, 45, rue d'Ulm, F 75007 Paris.
At times important and relevant publications appear in totally unexpected places. Volume 19 of the journal Lalies is a case in point. This journal normally carries papers of high quality abut specific topics in linguistic and literary studies. This general assessment also applies to volume 19, which contains several interesting papers. But what is of particular interest is that it also offers an in-depth account of Lithuanian grammar.
Section I (pages 5-135) of Lalies 19 simply carries the title "Lituanien" and was written by Daniel Petit. The author is well-known in the field of linguistics: He recently published a hefty tome entitled "*swe- en Grec ancien: La famille du pronom réfléchi. Linguistique grecque et comparaison indo-européenne" (1999). This is a very thorough investigation into the system of the reflexive pronoun in Indo-European languages. That the particular construction of Lithuanian að myliu savo þmonà, 'I love my wife', receives its due attention there goes without saying.
The work now published, although it appears in the volume of a journal, is indeed a monograph in its own right. Petit provides four chapters, which follow an introductory "Présentation de la langue lituanienne. " This introductory section already shows his superb command of the material. The information about the spread of Lithuanian and the number of its speakers, both in Lithuania and abroad, is based on the most recent accounts available. Literature is quoted wherever necessary.
The chapters are devoted to phonology, nominal morphology, verbal morphology, and syntax. Each chapter offers solid information backed up by references to the secondary literature. As the author points out himself, this is not a "learner's" grammar. But it is a first-rate scholarly introduction to the linguistic study of Lithuanian. It is to be hoped that this important piece of research will be widely consulted.
Catholic University of Eichstaett, Germany