LITHUANIAN QUARTERLY JOURNAL OF ARTS AND SCIENCES
Volume 28, No.1 - Spring 1982
Editor of this issue: Antanas Klimas
Copyright © 1982 LITUANUS Foundation, Inc.
FROM DONELAITIS TO JABLONSKIS
WILLIAM R. SCHMALSTIEG
Christian Donelaitis' contribution to Lithuanian literature is sometimes compared to that of Dante to Italian literature and his work must be considered in any discussion of the history of the Lithuanian language. He was born in 1714 and he grew up in Lithuanian surroundings, speaking Lithuanian and knowing well the Lithuanian manner of life and customs. He attended the cathedral school in Königsberg (Karaliaučius) and in 1736 entered the University of Königsberg, where he studied theology, Greek, Latin, Hebrew, German and French. In 1740 Donelaitis finished his university studies and taught in Stalupėnai and in 1743 he was appointed as the pastor of Tolminkiemis where he lived until his death. He was a man of broad interests, but is chiefly known now for his poems and fables written in both Lithuanian and German.
His work The Seasons (Metai) in Lithuanian describes the activities of the Lithuanian peasants during the four seasons of the year. Donelaitis' dialect was his native western High Lithuanian, the dialect which had come to be used as the basis of the literary language already in the time of Daniel Klein. Donelaitis himself did not bother about getting his works published and during his lifetime only two verses of Summer's work (Vasaros darbai) were published in 1769 in a brochure about the utility of the separation of pastures. The first edition of Donelaitis' Seasons appeared in 1818 in Königsberg edited by L. Rėza. (Lebedys, 1977, 311.)
His innovations are to be noted particularly in the area of vocabulary and phraseology. Differently from earlier and later Lithuanian authors he did not create fanciful and pretentious new words and phrases, but found a host of lively and expressive words and phrases both for nature and the activities of his beloved peasants, for example, birbino vamzdį 'blew the horn,' supliurpęs 'having gobbled up, having swallowed down,' šliurpdams 'slurping down, gulping down' (Joys of Spring, lines 221, 431 and 589 respectively). Particularly interesting are the forms with a pejorative connotation such as didpilvis 'fat-bellied person,' kuinpalaikis 'old nag (horse)', slunkius 'lazy-bones.' In addition Donelaitis was particularly apt at using expressive folk phraseology, e.g., akis užpylė 'got drunk' (which means literally 'flooded the eyes, poured the eyes full'), iškeli nosį 'you (sg.) boast' (literally: 'you raise your nose'), barzdota gadynė 'ancient time' (literally: 'bearded epoch'), etc. Reflecting the folk speech Donelaitis used the conjunction kad 'that' more than was customary in the religious writings of the period. Likewise he used various kinds of participial constructions quite freely, e.g.,
sun again rising awoke world.
In Clark Mills' translation: 'Now the sun arose again to rouse the world.' In the original, however, atkopdama 'arising' is a kind of participial construction and budino 'awoke, aroused' is a third person past tense. (This is the first line of Joys of Spring, see the translation by Clark Mills in The Green Oak, 1962, New York, Voyages Press.)
As mentioned before, the development of the Lithuanian language was different in East Prussia from its development in the Russian empire. In East Prussia the development was achieved in a more organized fashion, since there were language commissions, the chief function of which was to judge the suitability of each text for the propagation of the Protestant religion. The Lithuanian speaking area of East Prussia was also smaller than that of the Russian empire. In East Prussia there was the tradition of the more authoritative grammars, particularly that of Daniel Klein. (See Jonikas, 1972, 21.)
From the point of view of Lithuanian linguistics the two most important figures of the 19th century were August Schleicher and F. Kuršaitis (Friedrich Kurschat).
August Schleicher, born in 1821 in the family of a physician iri Meiningen, entered the University of Leipzig in 1840 to study theology and oriental studies. In 1841 he studied at the University of Tubingen where he became more and more interested in problems of linguistics, and diligently studied Sanskrit, Persian and the Semitic languages. In 1843 he continued his philological studies at the University of Bonn. Finishing his university studies in 1846 he took three years of leave for scholarly travels to Paris and London. In 1849 wishing to study Czech he arrived in Prague and in 1850 he was invited to teach at the university there.
On May 31st, 1852, having received a small stipend from the Viennese Academy of Sciences, Schleicher went to Königsberg, where he first visited Kuršaitis (Friedrich Kurschat). The latter did not show any great enthusiasm to help Schleicher gain a practical knowledge of Lithuanian, so Schleicher went to see F. Nesselmann, but Nesselmann, a German, could really do nothing more than give some practical advice, recommending a few pastors who might help him in traveling about East Prussia. Schleicher took every opportunity to meet Lithuanians and to talk with them, since he was a gifted polyglot and compared his own ability with that of a parrot.
In October of 1852, having gathered together a great amount of material, and having learned Lithuanian rather well, Schleicher returned to Prague.
In writing his Lithuanian grammar, Schleicher used the earlier grammars of Daniel Klein, K. Milkus and G. Ostermeyer, and the works of Kuršaitis which had been previously published, but he invited the Lithuanian teacher Kristupas Kumutaitis as a consultant to Prague. Schleicher had stayed with him for a long time during his visit to East Prussia and it was from him that Schleicher had learned most of his practical Lithuanian (Kumutaitis lived in Kakšiai [in German Gross-Kakschen] not far from Ragainė). It took Schleicher seven years to write his grammar; he had begun in 1848 before his trip to East Prussia and he finished in the middle of 1855. He worked most intensively, of course, in the last three years. In April of 1856, his grammar, Litauische Grammatik, was published in Prague and 1857 his reader (and glossary), Litauisches Lesebuch und Glossar was published. The two books together were called Handbook of the Lithuanian Language (Handbuch der Litauischen Sprache).
Schleicher's grammar has four major parts; 1) Phonetics, 2) Word formation, 3) Inflection, i.e., noun, verb paradigms, etc. and 4) Syntax. In the first part Schleicher discusses the sounds of Lithuanian, frequently comparing Lithuanian with other Indo-European languages. In the second part, he discusses the word formation and in the last paragraph, writing about loanwords in Lithuanian, he notes that the word dūšia 'soul' is a borrowing from Slavic (cf., e.g., Polish dusza, Russian duša), since the native Lithuanian root is dus-, cf. such words as dūs-auti 'to sigh.' Likewise such a word as žyv-yti 'to live' must be Slavic, because the Lithuanian form of the root is gyv-, cf. Lithuanian gyv-enti 'to live,' gyv-as 'alive.' In the third part of his grammar Schleicher pays special attention to older forms such as that verbal conjugation which has the first singular present ending -mi, e.g., es-mi 'I am' a form which has been replaced completely by es-u in modern Lithuanian, but which corresponds very well with Sanskrit as-mi, Greek ei-mi 'I am.' (Such verbs are called 'athematic' because there is no vowel between the root and the ending.) In the fourth part in writing about syntax Schleicher relied mostly on G. Ostermeyer's grammar and on Kuršaitis' work, Contributions to the Knowledge of the Lithuanian Language (Beiträge zur Kunde der litauischen Sprache, Königsberg, 1843).
There are, of course, a lot of deficiencies in Schleicher's grammar. Like any brilliant foreign linguist, he could not know the language as well as a native and therefore missed some of the subtleties that a native would know. But the chief failure of Schleicher's grammar is that he was unable to distinguish the Lithuanian intonations, the difference between the circumflex (tvirtagalė priegaidė) and acute (tvirtapradė priegaidė), although they had been well described in Kuršaitis' Contributions, part II, which had been published in 1849. Even though similar differences were well known to him in Serbo-Croatian, Schleicher considered them too subtle. Many of the other deficiencies are directly connected with the level of linguistics of that time and it would be naive to blame Schleicher for these.
In fact Schleicher's grammar had a tremendous impact on Lithuanian linguistics and culture and later authors could not get along without Schleicher's grammar. Schleicher also prepared an edition of Donelaitis' work which was published in St. Petersburg, Russia in 1865. Schleicher had planned to write a comparative Slavic grammar, a comparative Baltic grammar and a grammar of Proto-Balto-Slavic, but his sudden death in December of 1868 cut short further plans.
Fridrichas Kuršaitis (Friedrich Kurschat) was born on the 24th of April, 1806, in Noragėliai in the district of Pakalnė, East Prussia. Having completed the elementary school in Noragėliai, Kuršaitis taught for a few years. In 1836, graduating from the gymnasium in Elbing, he went to Königsberg where he studied theology. The head of the department of Lithuanian language there, L. Rėza was very solicitous of Kuršaitis who was one of Rėza's best students. Shortly after Rėza's death in 1841, Kuršaitis himself was appointed head of the department where he remained until 1883. Kuršaitis' first publication, Contribution to the Knowledge of the Lithuanian Language, Part I (Königsberg, 1843) we have already mentioned above. Part II which appeared in Königsberg in 1849 had as its subtitle: Phonetics and Intonation of the Lithuanian language (Laut- und Tonlehre der littauischen Sprache). This was the first time that the Lithuanian intonation system was so thoroughly described and the first time that four accent classes were established for the Lithuanian nouns. Kuršaitis distinguished two kinds of accentuation: a circumflex (tvirtagalė, tęstinė, German geschliffene) and an acute (tvirtapradė, stumtinė, German gestossene). He divided nouns into four groups: (I, a) kiẽmas 'courtyard,' (I, b) sõdas 'garden,' (II, a) Iángas 'window,' (II, b) brólis 'brother.' Kuršaitis illustrates the movement of the tone with musical notes and he used the signs ' for the acute, ~ for the circumflex and ` for the grave just as is done today in Lithuanian pedagogical and scientific treatises. In this work Kuršaitis no longer wrote double vowels and used the letter i consistently to show palatalization before back vowels.
This achievement of F. Kuršaitis has been recognized by all of the best European linguists of his time and later. But Kuršaitis' most important work was his Lithuanian grammar (Grammatik der littauischen Sprache, Halle, 1876). Two circumstances led Kuršaitis to write another Lithuanian grammar so soon after the publication of Schleicher's grammar: 1) Kuršaitis taught a practical course in Lithuanian for German pastors and it was clear that Schleicher's grammar was intended more for special linguistic studies and not for the learning of a foreign language; 2) Schleicher's grammar did not distinguish the intonations. Kuršaitis brings up things in his grammar which go unmentioned in Schleicher's grammar. The former estimates the number of Lithuanians to be between 1,500,000 and 2,000,000, and he predicts the eventual disappearance of the Lithuanian nation. Kuršaitis' grammar has, however, one major deficiency, the fact that the standard Lithuanian sounds ie and ė on the one hand and uo and o on the other hand are not carefully distinguished.
But Kuršaitis was also distinguished as a lexicographer or dictionary writer. He had begun to collect material for his dictionary while he was still a student. The first part of his dictionary, the German-Lithuanian part (Deutsch-littauisches Wörterbuch) was published in Halle in two parts in 1870 and 1874 respectively. It contained more than a thousand pages and for its time was the largest German-Lithuanian dictionary. The Lithuanian-German part (Littauisch-deutsches Wörterbuch) published in 1883 in Halle contained about 20,000 entries. At first Kuršaitis had planned a much larger work to contain material from various sources and dialects, but fatigued by the intensive work and the burden of years, he decided to limit himself to the lexicon of East Prussia, words in current usage and from printed sources. One interesting unique lexicographical innovation introduced by Kuršaitis was to put in square brackets those words which he himself did not know well and the correctness of which he could not personally guarantee. Kuršaitis died in 1884, the year following the publication of the Lithuanian-German part of his dictionary. (See Sabaliauskas, 1979, 153-158.)
In spite of the fact that the most important 19th century linguists were from East Prussia, the most important activity in the 19th century was the purification of the Lithuanian language undertaken in the former territory of the Lithuanian Grand Duchy, which as a result of the Polish partition of 1795 was now in the Russian empire. So now we shall take up some persons who were influential in the latter area.
The Juška Family
In the history of Lithuanian linguistics three persons with the family name Juška are important; Antanas Juška, his brother Jonas Juška and the latter's son Vytautas Juška.
Jonas Juška was born in 1815 in Žarėnai in the district of Telšiai and died in 1886. He studied classical philology at the University of Kharkov and in 1842 attended the courses of I. Sreznevskij, a specialist in Slavic linguistics who encouraged Juška to occupy himself with his native Lithuanian language. Juška's review of Schleicher's Lithuanian grammar appeared in 1857 in the publications of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Juška reproaches Schleicher because the latter, by describing the East Prussian dialect, did not give a complete notion of the Lithuanian language. According to Juška the East Prussian dialect had been greatly influenced by German, whereas in the Samogitian (Low Lithuanian) there was less foreign influence. On the other hand not all of Juška's criticisms are valid. For example, he said that Lithuanian had no velar n before k and g and this is just not the case. (We have a velar n in English bank.)
In 1861 the Russian Academy of Sciences published J. Juška's work on Lithuanian orthography in which he also suggests a classification of Lithuanian dialects. Several of J. Juška's orthographic suggestions have been adopted in the contemporary language, e.g., the suggestion that the letters w, sz and cz which have the same denotation as in Polish, be replaced by v, š and č respectively. Apparently he was the first to use the words įvardis for 'pronoun' and šaknis for 'root' (in the grammatical sense) in this latter work.
In 1863 J. Juška submitted to the Russian Academy of Sciences a grammar of Lithuanian written in Russian, but the reviewers, among whom was the famous Sanskritist Otto Böhtlingk, found a fair number of grammatical deficiencies and it was not published. Interestingly enough, however, it seems that the terms galūnė 'ending,' skiemuo 'syllable' and skaitvardis 'numeral' were used first in this grammar.
Jonas Juška's brother Antanas Juška was born in 1819 in Daujotai (Raseiniai district), was graduated from the Vilnius seminary in 1843 and served as a priest in a number of places until 1879 when he moved to Kazan to be with his brother. Unfortunately only one year later in 1880 Antanas Juška died.
His first lexicographical work was a small Polish-Lithuanian dictionary which he wrote between 1853 and 1854, but which he didn't publish. In the year 1856 or 1857 A. Juška became interested in theoretical questions of Lithuanian linguistics and gradually began to maintain a file of words collected from Lithuanian folk speech. Encouraged by Bishop M. Valančius, with this material Juška began the compilation of a second dictionary, this time a Lithuanian-Polish dictionary. Having given parts of the manuscript for review to various scholars, he learned in 1877 that the Russian Academy of Sciences had agreed to publish it. Both the brothers Antanas and Jonas had worked on the dictionary, but neither had the chance to see the work published. The first part (letters A-D) was published in 1897, the second part (letters E-J) in 1904 and the third part (up to the word Kukštuoties 'to move about') in 1922. The manuscript of the dictionary contained about 30,000 words and is a mirror of the Lithuanian spoken language of the second half of the 19th century, containing not only the 'nice' words, but also vulgarisms and borrowings. The chief deficiency in the dictionary is the sometimes erroneous indication of position of stress and the failure to establish vowel length, particularly in Samogitian (Low Lithuanian) dialect forms.
Probably the most important contributions, however, were the collections of songs: Lithuanian Songs (Volumes I-III, Kazan, 1880-1882), in all three volumes of which there are 1,586 songs; Lithuanian Wedding Songs (St. Petersburg, 1883, in which are 1,111 songs). The linguist Baudouin de Courtenay and the Polish musicologist Z. Noskowski prepared Juška's Lithuanian Folk Melodies (1,711 melodies) which were published in Cracow, Poland in 1900.
Vytautas Juška, Jonas' son, was born in 1870 in Ekaterinburg (now called Sverdlovsk) where his father was a teacher at that moment. Vytautas studied at the University of Kazan and then later at the University of Dorpat (now galled Tartu) where he got a master's degree in 1894 and in 1895 he received financial aid to go to Moscow to help the Russian scholar F. Fortunatov with the editing of his uncle's dictionary. V. Juška was shortly appointed the editor of the dictionary himself and returning to Dorpat edited the letters E through G and then left for St. Petersburg where he was given the post of private docent at the university. Unfortunately he caught typhus and returning to Dorpat again he died in 1896. (See Sabaliauskas, 1979, 161-166.)
Antanas Baranauskas was born in 1835 in Anykščiai where he studied in the parochial school and then later in a school for district clerks. He worked as a district clerk in various locations and from 1856 to 1858 he studied in the seminary in Varniai. From 1858 to 1862 he studied in the Religious Academy in St. Petersburg and from 1863-1864 he continued his studies in the universities of Munich, Rome, Innsbruck and Louvain. In 1865 he taught in the Religious Academy in St. Petersburg. From 1867 to 1884 he taught in the Kaunas seminary, occupying himself there with among other things, the Lithuanian language. In 1884 becoming the suffragan bishop of Samogitia and in 1897 the bishop of Seinai he lost interest in problems of the Lithuanian language and immersed himself in mathematics in which field he even published a few articles. He died in 1902 in Seinai where he is buried.
In 1871 in Kaunas at the direction of bishop M. Valančius, Baranauskas became the first to give a course on homiletics (the art of preaching a sermon) in Lithuanian and to teach a course of the Lithuanian language. In order to assist his teaching Baranauskas made a Lithuanian translation of Schleicher's grammar, but he was not completely satisfied with it and dictated his own grammar to his students, although he did not publish it. Without Baranauskas' knowledge and without naming the author, this grammar was published in 1896 by P. Sereika.
Baranauskas was the first linguist to give such a detailed and well motivated classification of the Lithuanian dialects. According to him the most important criterion is the fate of an and am and the corresponding nasal vowel ą in position before a consonant. And, as we have noted before, it is a revised variant of this system which A. Girdenis and Z. Zinkevičius use today for their classification of the Lithuanian dialects.
Basing himself on Schleicher's orthographic system, Baranauskas created his own system, but differently from Schleicher he used the symbols w and x, and for the nominative plurals he wrote (as in standard Lithuanian today) rugiai 'rye' and arklai (=standard Lithuanian arkliai 'horses') where Schleicher had written rugei and arklei. In addition Baranauskas added to the terminology of Lithuanian linguistics such words as balsis 'vowel,' sakinys 'sentence,' rašyba 'orthography,' raidė 'letter' and tarmė 'dialect.' Other inventions were not retained in the modern language, e.g., gimlankis 'dative' and skundlankis 'accusative,' cf. the contemporary naudininkas and galininkas respectively. (See Sabaliauskas, 1979, 166-171.)
Kazimieras Jaunius was born in 1848 in the village of Lembas not far from Kvėdarna. In 1871 he entered the Kaunas seminary and having been graduated in 1875 he was sent to the St. Petersburg Religious Academy, where in 1879 he defended two papers for his diploma, one on theology and a second one on Russian philology. In 1879 Jaunius returned to Lithuania and was appointed vicar of the Kaunas cathedral, and in 1880 he began to teach Latin and various theological subjects in the Kaunas seminary. In 1885 he was made professor of moral theology, homiletics and the Lithuanian language. Having difficulty with the ecclesiastical authorities, in 1892 he was released from his duties at the seminary and in 1893 he was appointed rector in Kazan where he soon succumbed to a nervous disorder. Recovering from this in 1898 he was appointed a professor of Greek at the St. Petersburg Religious Academy and in 1899 he was made full professor of Latin and Greek philology. Starting in 1902 instead of Latin Jaunius taught the Hebrew language. In 1906 because of illness he had to retire from the Religious Academy and in 1908 he died in St. Petersburg.
First of all Jaunius is important in the history of Lithuanian for his contribution to dialectology. We have mentioned before that it was his system of classification which Antanas Salys used as the basis of his own classification system of Lithuanian dialects. Particularly important are Jaunius' studies of the Raseiniai and Panevėžys dialects. For the Panevėžys dialect he formulated the law that all the long vowels and diphthongs before the fundamental stress have the circumflex or rising intonation whereas the same long vowels and diphthongs after the fundamental stress have the acute or falling intonation. (In later experiments A. Laigonaitė has shown that in the standard language unstressed long syllables both before and after the fundamental stress are circumflex or rising, but this is apparently a later development.)
In the development of Lithuanian linguistics an important place is to be assigned to the Lithuanian grammar which Jaunius wrote when he was teaching in the Kaunas seminary. This was in the form of lectures delivered to his students. The lectures were copied out and rather widely circulated and in 1897 were mimeographed (about 60 copies) in the city of Dorpat (now Tartu). At the suggestion of the Russian scholar F. Fortunatov the Russian Academy of Sciences agreed to give funds for the publication of this grammar and in 1911 it was published in Lithuanian and in 1916 in a Russian translation prepared by Kazimieras Būga. Jaunius' grammar was not as consistent and systematic as the grammars of Schleicher and Kuršaitis, but it was better in that it contained more information about Lithuanian dialects and gave new information about the laws of stress and intonation in Lithuanian. In his grammar Jaunius used some Lithuanian grammatical terms which have remained until today, e.g., priegaidė 'intonation,' priesaga 'suffix,' priešdėlis 'prefix,' veiksmažodis 'verb,' asmuo 'person,' dalyvis 'participle,' linksnis 'case,' etc. The most difficult part of Jaunius' grammar is surely the orthography. Following the principles established by J. Juška and A. Baranauskas, Jaunius tried to create an orthography which would accommodate the phonetic characteristics of the various dialects. He invented, for example, ten new letters and his use of various letters to denote corresponding, but different sounds in the dialects is quite confusing to the outsider. Still Jaunius was the first Lithuanian linguist who tried in a serious way to investigate the relationships between the Indo-European Baltic (Lithuanian, Latvian, etc.) and the Baltic Finnic languages (Estonian, etc.). Beginning in 1906 Jaunius investigated the relationships between the Indo-European and Semitic languages (Hebrew, Arabic, etc.) and tried to establish correspondences for the consonants of the two language families. Sometimes he made brilliant suggestions, but frequently as a result of his lack of formal training in linguistics he connected words which are not etymologically related and as such he set a rather bad example for his talented pupil, Kazimieras Būga who reflected many of his master's ideas in his work Aestian Studies (Aistiški studijai). (See Sabaliauskas, 1979, 171-179.)
Prior to Kazimieras Būga all of those writing on Lithuanian were either: 1) non-Lithuanian linguistic scholars, distinguished Indo-Europeanists or Slavists, for the most part with excellent linguistic education, but who did not know the living Lithuanian language very well or 2) native Lithuanian scholars, enthusiasts who knew their native language well, were well acquainted with the dialects, but who lacked the appropriate scientific linguistic training. Būga was the first to combine the characteristics of the enthusiastic native and the well trained professional. He was born in 1879 on a farm not far from Dusetos in the region of Zarasai and in 1897 he entered the St. Petersburg seminary, but in 1898 he left the seminary, began to work in a weather observatory, supported himself by private lessons and took part in the Lithuanian activities in St. Petersburg. (Sabaliauskas, 1979, 182-183.)
In 1900 (under the pseudonym K. Sėlis) he published his first article in The Fatherland's Guard (Tėvynės sargas, No. 9, 16-18) entitled "The Woodpecker is Variegated, but Lithuanian Orthography is Even More Variegated." In this article Būga urged Lithuanian intellectuals to concern themselves with the unification of the orthography. According to Būga: "If you take into your hands any Lithuanian book you can see many faults that it would have been easy to avoid." (Zinkevičius, 1979a, 17.)
In the fall of 1905 Būga entered the philology section (Slavic-Russian department) of the University of St. Petersburg. During his first two years at the university Būga was less concerned with his university studies than saving Jaunius' linguistic ideas from oblivion. Under the latter's influence in 1908 he published his Aistian Studies (Aistiški studijai), part I. Part II remains unpublished to this day in the manuscript division of the Vilnius University Library. Instead of a second part in November of 1909 he published at his own expense a mimeographed criticism of Aistian Studies in which he retracted almost all the important principles of Jaunius' teaching. Through his own reading of the works of other famous linguists Būga had come to the conclusion that his teacher Jaunius had erred, and as a self-taught person had taken the wrong scientific paths. (Zinkevičius, 1979a, 44-47.)
As a student Būga had broad interests and published Lithuanian articles in Society (Draugija) and The Lithuanian Nation (Lietuvių tauta). In 1907 in the former journal he began a series of 32 articles entitled "Matters of Language" (Kalbos dalykai) in which he discussed such questions as to which forms are more appropriate for the standard language, e.g., taip 'so, yes' or teip; pagalba 'help' or pagelba; dvasia 'soul' or dvasė; sūnūs 'sons' or sūnųs; akys 'eyes' or akįs, etc. In considering such topics Būga first tried to ascertain whether the word or expression was native Lithuanian or whether it was foreign, a borrowing. Būga never acted dictatorially and never imposed his opinions on others, but rather tried to convince the reader with telling argumentation. Still, under the influence of Jaunius, Būga did make mistakes, e.g. suggesting that the suffix -ystė is of Slavic origin or that the word prietelius 'friend' is of native Lithuanian origin. (Zinkevičius, 1979a, 55-57.)
In 1911 in the first fascicle of the second volume of the periodical The Lithuanian Nation (Lietuvių tauta) Būga published a study about Lithuanian names, which was also issued as a separate book in the same year. Before Būga no-one had known the exact form of the names which appeared in the Slavic, German and Latin sources, but having developed a method of interpreting the names from the Old Russian chronicles Būga was able to establish the Old Lithuanian form, so that today we know how to pronounce, e.g., Mindaugas, Jogaila, Vytautas, Švitrigaila, etc. In this article he explained also that names such as Vitoldas, Butoldas, Gastoldas and Gintoldas are Belorussian (sometimes known as White Russian) renderings of the Lithuanian names Vytautas, Butautas, Goštautas and Gintautas. The Lithuanian diphthong -au- was understood as rendering -ol- and such names are also encountered in Polish, e.g., Witold, a name which is borrowed from Lithuanian. But Būga did not limit himself to publications in the Lithuanian periodicals. In 1911 he published an article on the Lithuanian words for 'grandson' in volume 65 (pp. 327-330) in the prestigious Russian Philological Journal (Russkij filologičeskij vestnik). In this article he notes that the Lithuanian word anūkas 'grandson' is a borrowing from Ukrainian onúk and that the old word inherited from Indo-European is nepuotis, a word which is encountered in the 1547 Catechism and in Bretkūnas' Bible translation. (See Būga, 1958, 272.)
In 1912 he received a university diploma and began to prepare for professorship in the linguistics department which at that time was headed by Baudouin de Courtenay. In the same year he also undertook the editing of A. Juška's dictionary which had been edited by G. Uljanov, until he died leaving the work unfinished. Būga was to edit words beginning with the letters K and L, but he had a lot of difficulty because many of the words were new to him and Juška's transcription was sometimes inaccurate. Already in December of 1912 in a letter to the Latvian linguist, J. Endzelīns, Būga said that it wasn't worth his while to spend more time on the dictionary, because whatever he would do the dictionary would not turn out well.
In the German periodical Archive for Slavic Philology in 1911 (Archiv für slavische Philologie, Vol. 33, pp. 51-99) there appeared an article entitled "Concerning the oldest Slavic-Celtic relationships" ("Zu den ältesten slavisch-keltischen Beziehungen") by the famous Russian academician A. Shakhmatov, who hypothesized that in antiquity Lithuania and Belorussia (White Russia) had been inhabited by Celtic tribes. The article stirred Būga to counter with an article entitled "Can one prove there to be traces of Celts in Baltic territory?" ("Kann man Keltenspuren auf baltischem Gebiet nachweisen?") which was published in the Polish journal Rocznik slawistyczny (Vol. 6, pp. 1-38). Since Būga had already begun to gather Lithuanian place names in their original form, not as they were distorted in the official records in other languages, he was able to analyze them as Baltic names. Thus, for example, the German name Zarthen a village in the region of the Nemunas could be analyzed as deriving from a Celtic Taro-dūnum (literally 'steer's town') but the Samogitians call it Žardē, a name which is cognate with Lithuanian žardas 'grate for drying flax' and has nothing to do with Celtic. (Būga, 1958, 525-526.)
In 1916 Būga finally passed the examination for his master's degree and obtained the right of a decent at the University of St. Petersburg, but he did not get the opportunity to teach. Therefore he moved to the city of Perm in the Ural mountain region where he taught Indo-European comparative grammar, introduction to linguistics, Sanskrit and Polish. Students liked him not only for his profound erudition, but for his simplicity and friendliness.
In 1919 the university was evacuated to Tomsk and then in 1920 Būga returned to Lithuania and settled in Kaunas. Būga's most important work was, of course, his lexicographical work and on his return to Lithuania he put his whole heart and soul into it. From the beginning he made every effort to increase his files, to collect as much as possible the wealth of the language. But he was also afraid that without qualified helpers he could not accomplish the task alone. On the 23rd of April, 1921, in the daily newspaper Lithuania (Lietuva) he wrote: "Today we woufd be unable to publish a complete and perfect dictionary, to which it would not be shameful to give the title Thesaurus of the Lithuanian Language (Thesaurus linguae Lithuanicae). The work and lifetime of one man would not be sufficient for this. Thesauruses are prepared by several dozens of people and not all of one generation. For a beginning we will have enough if the editors of the dictionary will give us such a dictionary in which will be gathered together words from all the printed dictionaries, from collections of words, scattered about in various books and newspapers and from unpublished dictionaries (manuscripts), e.g., those of A. Juška. D. Poška, Bradauskas, etc. . . . The dictionary should take in all the collections of words which the editors hope to receive from all corners of Lithuania." (Zinkevičius, 1979a, 129.)
In addition to this major work, Būga planned also a smaller orthographic and pronouncing dictionary, but he devoted himself primarily to his large scientific dictionary. Since he put all of his effort into collecting material Būga did not have the time to organize and classify the material and to prepare a uniform dictionary card file.
He began to write the text of the dictionary in May of-1923 and at the beginning of each notebook he wrote down the day and the hour when he began to work on it. Some notebooks carry the notation of midnight or later and others were begun at 8 a.m. According to Professor A. Salys, Būga's secretary for a time, Būga would begin his work at 8 a.m. and work with short breaks for meals right through the entire day taking off no time for holidays. One of the collaborators on the dictionary recalls that when one of Būga's eyes began to ache he (Būga) tied it up with a handkerchief and continued to work using the other eye. (Zinkevičius, 1979a, 134.)
In January of 1924 the first printed fascicle of Būga's dictionary appeared, comprising a five-page introduction, eleven pages of explanations of abbreviations and signs, thirty-five pages containing a popular study of Lithuanian stress and intonation and twelve pages containing the first part of a study about the Lithuanian language, people and their nearest relatives. The second part of this study was published in the second fascicle of the dictionary. In addition to the parts mentioned the first fascicle had 80 words of the text of the dictionary. Būga put into his dictionary not only words of the standard language, but also dialect words, words encountered in the Old Lithuanian texts, words of foreign origin, and not only common nouns, but proper nouns as well. Nobody doubted the necessity of including dialect words and words from old texts, but Būga was criticized for including foreign words and proper nouns. It seemed to some that Būga was hindering the purification of the Lithuanian language. Thus some complained of such words as abrozdas 'form, picture, ikon' (borrowed from Slavic obraz), adyna 'hour' (borrowed from White Russian hodina), etc. Būga countered by saying that every dictionary of a language should be a 'mirror' of the language and nobody is at fault if the person regarding himself in the mirror sees something that he didn't wish to see. Perhaps Būga did include too many rare foreign words from the eastern border areas where there are many Slavic-Lithuanian bilinguals, but his inclusion of proper nouns, personal names and place names is fully justified, because these names form an essential part of the Lithuanian language and it is good to have them at hand in one place. For the foreign user one extremely useful feature of the dictionary is the inclusion of non-existent words which have been transmitted in the scholarly literature as a result of misprints or other mistakes. Such words are preceded by a little cross and the circumstances of their creation are explained. For example, the preposition and prefix *ad which had been quoted in the works of the famous German Balticist, Adalbert Bezzenberger is listed with an explanation that all of the examples that the latter had claimed to find are simple mistakes, in one case apparently for ant 'on,' in others for at- 'to.' (See Būga, 1961, 306.) Under the entry *aikùs defined as Greek ōkús ('quick, swift, fleet') we read that the Lithuanian word was concocted by Adalbert Bezzenberger who wished to show thereby that the Greek sound ō could correspond to the Lithuanian diphthong ai. (Būga, 1961, 328.)
The dictionary is unusual in that Būga did not limit himself to any particular language in giving his definitions of words. Thus we encounter explanations in Lithuanian, Polish, Russian, German, Latvian, Latin and even Greek. In the introduction he justified this procedure with the excuse that he lacked the time to translate all the explanations into a single language and he used the language of his source. In his other works Būga was accustomed to using a variety of languages and indeed it is difficult to translate definitions where the nuances or shadings may be of extraordinary importance.
The famous Lithuanian linguist, Z. Zinkevičius, 1979a, 142, writes that there are three important conclusions to be made concerning Būga's dictionary.
1. Būga wrote a scientific dictionary, a dictionary encompassing all of the wealth of the Lithuanian language and it was beyond his strength. Such a work requires a group of well qualified specialists supported by hundreds, even thousands of collaborators and it is not the work of a few years, but the work of several decades at least.
2. The publication of the dictionary was begun prematurely. The scientific task of publishing a Lithuanian dictionary contradicted the requirement for immediate printing.
3. Būga's dictionary is the fruit of hurried work, and Būga himself was the first to admit it.
It is undoubtedly the result of his untiring efforts which led to his untimely death in 1924 after which the second fascicle of his. dictionary was published in 1925.
Jonas Jablonskis was born in the village of Kubilėliai not far from Kudirkos Naumiestis on the 30th of December, 1860. In 1872 he entered the gymnasium at Marijampolė where he learned Greek and Latin very well and in 1881 he entered the University of Moscow to study ancient languages. In 1885 he finished the university and sought a suitable position in Lithuania. Unable to locate a job as a teacher Jablonskis supported himself by giving private lessons and by working as a court clerk. From 1889-1896 he taught Greek and Latin in Mintauja, today's Jelgava (in Latvia) where he got to know K. Mühlenbachs, the famous Latvian linguist. Beginning in 1896 he moved a great deal and held many different positions until finally in 1922 he became a professor at 'the University of Kaunas, where he taught until 1926. Towards the end of his life he lost the use of his legs and he died on the 23rd of February, 1930. Jablonskis published his first major article in The Bell (Varpas) in 1890. From that time on there appeared almost every year articles devoted to questions of Lithuanian grammar, lexicon and orthography. In the establishment of a standard language and the normalization of Lithuanian the textbooks of Jablonskis played a major role.
The first work in this field was the Lithuanian grammar (Lietuviška gramatikėlė) prepared in conjunction with Petras Avižonis and hectographed in 1889 by the Lithuanian students of St. Petersburg. (Petras Avižonis [1875-1939] was a famous ophthalmologist, from Nov. 1st 1926, rector [president] of the University of Kaunas.) Basing himself for the most part on F. Kuršaitis' (Kurschat) grammar P. Avižonis wrote the first variant of this grammar, which was then corrected by Jablonskis who supplemented it with new examples and then chose a title. This grammar was completely practical in orientation and was fully accented. Thinking that perhaps some non-Lithuanian might want to learn from this grammar, he added German translations of the rarer words. The grammar was small, having only 64 notebook size pages and did not have a great significance for the normalization of Lithuanian.
The further history of this grammar is, however, important. The Lithuanian Alliance of America (Susivienijimas Lietuvių Amerikoje) had announced a competition for the writing of a school grammar of Lithuanian. Two works were sent: 1) a copy of Avižonis' grammar and 2) a grammar by a pupil in the Tilžė gymnasium (high school). The organizers of the competition were pleased with Avižonis' grammar, but they wanted a section on Lithuanian grammatical terms and one on uninflected words. If Avižonis would agree to correct the aforementioned deficiencies he would get the entire prize of one hundred dollars. If not he would receive only one-half, fifty dollars. Avižonis asked for Jablonskis' help and in the summer of 1900 the Grammar of the Lithuanian Language (Lietuviškos kalbos gramatika) was written. It would have been hard to recognize the old grammar in the new product. Wanting to credit Avižonis with his part Jablonskis used the first name, Petras with his own pseudonym Kriaušaitis. Both of them got the prize.
As a product of haste there were a fair number of deficiencies in the new grammar, not everything was sufficiently well discussed, the orthography wasn't completely consistent, there was some inappropriate grammatical terminology and the section on syntax was weak. Still, for the first time a program for the normalization of the Lithuanian literary language was set forth, the relationship of the literary language to the dialects was explained and the use of the southwestern High Lithuanian dialect as a basis for the literary language was reaffirmed.
Jablonskis' fundamental principles ran somewhat as follows: The science of language derives the rules and the characteristics of the language from human speech and the author who wishes to write a handbook for a language must investigate the spoken language, since the written language can only be based on the spoken language. On the other hand one must be extremely careful when using the language of the Lithuanian people, since from ancient times there has been a lot of foreign influence in Lithuania, foreign influence which has considerably deformed the language of the people.
In the spoken language there is a considerable amount of chaff and one must know how to separate the wheat from the chaff. There are many dialects and subdialects in Lithuanian, but some dialect must always serve as the basis of a standard language.
In 1919 there appeared P. Kriaušaitis' and Rygiškių Jonas' Grammar of the Lithuanian Language, Etymology (P. Kriaušaičio ir Rygiškių Jono Lietuvių kalbos gramatika Etimologija). Both the names P. Kriaušaitis and Rygiškių Jonas were pseudonyms of Jonas Jablonskis. The second edition, published in 1922, was entitled Rygiškių Jonas' Grammar of the Lithuanian Language. Etymology. For intermediate educational institutions (Rygiškių Jono Lietuvių kalbos gramatika. Etimologija. Vidurinėms mokslo įstaigoms). The time was ripe for the appearance of this grammar, because it was just at this moment when a Lithuanian school system and a Lithuanian university were being founded and Lithuanian was beginning to be used in other public institutions. Jablonskis' grammar was at that time almost a small encyclopedia of the Lithuanian language. Not only did it contain the fundamentals of Lithuanian phonetics, but it furnished a better classification system for the Lithuanian verb. No grammar ever played a greater role in the establishment of Lithuanian grammatical terminology. Almost all of the terminology used by Jablonskis has been adopted in the large Lithuanian Academy Grammar. Many previously unknown words have come down to us from Jablonskis, e.g., skardusis, duslusis priebalsis 'voiced, voiceless consonant' (cf. skardėti 'to echo, to resound,' duslėti 'to become toneless, unvoiced,' prie 'near, at, with' and balsas 'voice' [note our word consonant with con- from Latin cum 'with' and sonant from Latin sonans 'noisy, sounding']), intarpas 'infix' (cf. įterpti 'to insert' from *in- and terpti 'to put'), asmenuotė 'conjugation' (from asmuo 'person' [because the form of the verb changes according to the person of the subject]), linksniuotė 'declension' (from linkti 'to bend,' [note that our word declension derives eventually from Latin dēclīnātio which is literally 'a bending aside']). Some of the forms proposed in Jablonskis' grammar were not finally adopted by the literary language, e.g., Jablonskis' nominative plural asmens 'persons' and piemens 'shepherds,' although the forms which have finally been adopted asmenys and piemenys are mentioned.
Jablonskis also wrote some practical works in the area of Lithuanian syntax. In 1911 in Seinai he published a book entitled Syntax of the Lithuanian language (Lietuvjų kalbos sintaksė) and in 1928 in Kaunas he published a book entitled Grammar cases and prepositions (Linksniai ir prielinksniai). A study of syntax has always been one of the weak spots in the history of Lithuanian grammar and these works by Jablonskis are the first more extensive investigations in that area. In the latter book Jablonskis describes the correct usage of the case forms of the Lithuanian substantives taking his models from the spoken language and concluding with a section in which incorrect usages are gathered from various sources and the correct forms are supplied. There are a few theoretical generalizations and the classification of the cases is not always completely consistent, but Jablonskis does give the most characteristic uses of the Lithuanian cases and prepositions and his commentaries on them were extremely valuable for the process of language normalization. In all of the later handbooks and special investigations this material is regarded as reliable. (See Sabaliauskas, 1979, 192-199.) On various occasions Jablonskis emphasized the fact that he was not a scholar, but that the practical matters of the Lithuanian language were of interest to him. Surely it is a rare native speaker of Lithuanian who knows that Jablonskis is responsible for the creation of such everyday words as pirmadienis 'Monday' (pirmas 'first' plus diena 'day'), ateitis 'future' (at-eiti 'to come, to arrive'), degtukas 'match' (degti 'to burn'), atvirukas 'post-card' (atviras 'open'). In conclusion it seems safe to say that Jonas Jablonskis was the father of the modern standard Lithuanian as we know it today. Many others have contributed and the history of the development of Lithuanian since Jablonskis' death must be relegated to another occasion.