Volume 42, No.1 - Spring 1996
Editor of this issue: Antanas Klimas
ISSN 0024-5089
Copyright © 1996 LITUANUS Foundation, Inc.


The Pennsylvania State University

In the foreword to Vol. III [1956] of the Lithuanian Academy Dictionary (p. iii) (Lietuvių kalbos žodynas) we read that volumes I [1941] and II [1947] had been published "with some ideological and factual errors" (su kai kuriomìs ideologinėmìs ir dalýkinėmis klaidomìs). Thus Vol. I was reprinted (corrected) in 1968 and Vol. II in 1969. In the new editions of volumes I and II references to emigré scholars were eliminated.

In the first truly Communist volume of the Lithuanian Academy Dictionary (Vol. III [1956]) we encounter in the list of abbreviations Marksas = Kãrolis Márksas (1818-1883), jo rãštų vertìmai "Karl Marx (1818-1883) — translations of his writings" (page XII) and Lèninas = Vladìmiras Iljìčius Lèninas (1870-1924), jo rãštų vertìmai "Vladimir Ilyich Lenin (1870-1924) translations of his writings" (page XI). But by Vol. V [1959] (p. xii), Kãrolis Márksas had become Kárlas Márksas, thereby being deprived of any possible relationship to karõliai "beads," although the stress Kãrolis would surely have excluded this possibility anyway. Similarly by Vol. XII [1981] Leninas had lost his patronymic Iljičius (page XI).

Nevertheless, in the first post-independence volume (XV [1991]) both Marx and Lenin, although undoubtedly paragons of Lithuanian literary style, had disppeared. the abbreviation tsp. = tarýbinė spaudà "Soviet press" is retained in volume XV [1991] (p. XIX), but is missing in Vol. XVI [1995]. One notes with interest, however, that in Vol. XII [1981] the first meaning of the word sąjūdis "(social) movement" is illustrated with an example from the Soviet press: Tarýbų Sąjungos Komunìstų pártija tãpo tarptautìnio revoliùcinio sąjūdžio centrù "The Communist Party of the Soviet Union has become the center of the international revolutionary movement" (p. 17). But even in Vol. XV [1991] (p. 910) a former favorite Soviet word "international" tarptautìnis is illustrated with the sentence from the Soviet press: Tarptautìnės kalbõs, žìnoma, nėrà ir nebùs "Of course, there is not and will not be any international language." One wonders if this is an attempt to counter the claims of Russian [or English?] to be an international language. The abbreviation trš = tarýbinio laikõtarpio rãštai (kai nežymimas autorius) "Soviet era writings (author not designated)" is to be found both in volumes XII [1981] (p. XVIII) and XV [1991] (p. XIX), but is missing in volume XVI [1995].

Still, in Vol. XII [1981] under the head word sakýti "to say" (pp. 31-37) I was able to find at least 11 references to Bretkūnas' Bible translation vs. only one reference to Lenin (p. 35): Lèninas sãko, kad pártijos vienýbė ir geležìnė drausmė yra proletariãto diktatūros pãgrindas "Lenin says that the unity of the party and iron discipline is the basis of the dictatorship of the proletariat." Thus in spite of the appearance of Marx and Lenin in the list of abbreviations, a casual inspection of the earlier volumes of the dictionary reveals a preponderance of quotes from religious sources, such as Daukša's Postilė and Bretkūnas' Bible translation.

Nevertheless in order to insure adherence to the appropriate doctrines we read Vol. XII [1981], p. 256: Norėdamas áuklėti skaitýtojus, rašýtojas turėjo pats pérsiauklėti, įsisãvinti marksìstinę pasaulėžiūrą "Wishing to educate the readers, the writer had to reeducate himself, and assimilate the Marxist world-view". On the other hand the very same page we read from the Margarita Theologica: Kaipo yrà pasisãvinamos gėrybės Chrìstaus? "How are the blessings of Christ attained?" And indeed, sometimes we find unexpected authorship, the use of the possessive savo is illustrated with the sentence (Vol. XII [1981], p. 267): gerbk sàvo tėvą ir sàvo mótiną "Honor thy father and thy mother." Interestingly enough, this sentence is attributed to Jonas Jablonskis, although those of us brought up in the King James Bible tradition might remember this as Moses' Fourth Commandment from the Old Testament. Still in Soviet times for more advice it was safer to reference Jablonskis from Kaunas than Moses from Mt. Sinai.

Similarly we find the sentence (Vol. XII [1981], p. 272): Klýsti yrà žmogaus savùmas "to err is a characteristic of man." This sentence is attributed to the second edition of J. Baronas' Rùsų lietùvių žodýnas "Russian Lithuanian Dictionary" (Kaunas 1933). My friend and colleague, Prof. Saul Levin of the State University at Binghamton gave me help with locating the origin of this proverb. In his view probably the earliest traceable source is Cicero's Twelfth Philippic: Cuiusvis hominis est errare: nullius nisi insipientis perseuerare in errore. This seems to have passed into medieval Latin as errare humanum est and has been traveling about Europe ever since. Thus, e.g., Goethe's Faust: Es irrt der Mensch, so lang er strebt.

Sometimes the religious content of the entries in volume XII [1981] is rather overwhelming. For example the noun sėkla "seed" has as its sixth meaning sperma (p. 327) and four examples of its use are given, the first being from the Niedermann-Senn-Brender-Salys Dictionary, the second being from Daukša's Postilė, and the third from Mažvydas: Ne iš sėklos výriškosios bet tiektai nuog dvãsios šventõsios žõdis dievo žmógu stójo "Not from male seed, but only from the Holy Spirit did the Word of God become man" and the fourth from Bretkūnas' Postilė: Marijà kãčei be výriškos sėklos nėščià tãpusi "Although without male seed Mary became pregnant." It might appear that this is even an affirmation of the dogma of the virgin birth of Jesus Christ, except for the fact that dievo "of God" has no capital letter. But by Vol. XVI [1995] God had gotten his capital letter back; under the head word trejýbė "trinity" we read: krikščionýbės dògma, teigianti buvímą víeno, bet triasmenio Dievo: tėvo, sūnaus ir šventõsios dvasios "the Christian dogma affirming the existence of a single but three-person God: the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost" (p. 740). and there are many other citations for God (Dievas) with a capital letter, e.g., p. 261, 263, etc.

The view of the collective farm has changed from pre-independence to post-independence volumes of the dictionary. In Volume VI [1962] under the definition of kólūkis "collective farm" we encounter the sentence: Kólūkių dienelė šviesì kaip saulelė "On the collective farm the day is as bright as the sun" (p. 316 — from the Lietùvių tautósakos rankraštýnas, i.e., folklorist manuscript holdings of the Institute of Lithuanian Language and Literature). In Vol. XVI [1955] under the heading tìkras "real" we encounter the sample sentence: Kai tiktai pradėjo kùrtis kólūkiai, tìkras prãgaras bùvo "When the collective farms began to be created it was a real hell" (from Subačius) (p. 260).

In Vol. I [1968], p. 583, the word balamūtystė is defined as "paikystė, pasileidìmas, dissipation, debauchery." But Range, 1992, 246, has pointed out that according to the dictionary listing one might think that the word was only attested in modern times although with the word is encountered in Bretkūnas' Bible translation. Range notes several occurrences of the word from Bretkūnas' New Testament (Thessalonians I, 2:5 [su szãdeis ballamutistes = mit Schmeichelworten, but Lat. in sermone adulationis, Gk. en lógo kolakeías], [King James] "with flattering words";; James 5:12 [ing ballamutistę = unter ein Gericht, but Lat. sub judicio, Gk. húpo krísin [King James] "[lest ye fall] into condemnation"). Interestingly enough under the head word tikrai "really" in Vol. XVI [1995] from Bretkūnas' Bible (Jeremiah 4:2) one encounters the sentence: Tadà tu be balamūtystės tikrai ir šventai prisíeksi = Alsdann wirst du ohne Heuchelei recht und heilig schworen "Then shall you swear truly and solemnly without dissimulation." However, I find in the Septuagint kaì omósę Zę kúrios metà aletheías en krísei k en dikaiosúne (King James: "And thou shalt swear, The Lord liveth, in truth, in judgment, and in righteousness"). Thus the meanings of this word attested in Bretkūnas seem to be quite varied, viz., "flattery; judgment; dissimulation."

Independence has at last allowed some of the truly great Lithuanian emigre linguists to find their rightful place in the Lithuanian Academy Dictionary. Vol. XVI [1995] for the first time has in the list of abbreviations Petras Jonìkas, Prãnas Skardžius and my own teacher, Antãnas Salys. The latter is quoted (p. 401) as having written: Tarmių tyrìmas yrá labai susìjęs su fonètikos pažangà "The investigation of dialects is closely connected with the progress of phonetics." In the list of abbreviations we also encounter brš = bažnytiniai rãštai "ecclesiastical writings," a source for the Lithuanian language which was not mentioned (although in fact widely used) in pre-independence volumes, thus: Taigi pérsityrinėk, ar Jėzaus Krìstaus dvasià į tàvo numìrusią dūšią įėjusi yrà "Then check whether the spirit of Jesus Christ has entered your dead soul."

Actually there seems to be little difference in the general quality of the pre-independence and post-independence dictionaries, since for the most part the same people are working now, who worked during Soviet times. In both the Soviet and post-independence volumes of the Lithuanian Academy Dictionary we find the names of such distinguished Lithuanian lexicographers as K. Ulvydas, J. Paulauskas, V. Vitkauskas, K. Vosylytė as editors and/or as authors. The only essential difference is that the removal of the Communist yoke has relieved the dictionary compilers of the responsibility of supporting the old political line.


Lietuvių kalbos žodynas. Vol. XII (S-SLĖPŪNAS). 1981. Ed. by A. Balašaitis, S. Kėzytė, A. Lyberis, J. Paulauskas, K. Ulvydas, V. Vitkauskas, K. Vosylytė. Vilnius, Mokslas. (Tekstą rašė A. Balašaitis, I. Ermanytė, H. Kubilius, K. Pakalka, A. Pribušauskaitė, Z. Šimėnaitė, T. Valiuvienė, A. Vilutytė, V. Vitkauskas, K. Vosylytė.)
Lietuvių kalbos žodynas.
Vol. XV (ŠLIUP-TELŽTI). 1991. Ed. by S. Kėzytė, J. Paulauskas, K. Ulvydas, V. Vitkauskas, K. Vosylytė. Vilnius, Mokslas. (Tekstą rašė Z. Babickienė, K. Eigminas, I. Ermanytė, O. Kažauskaitė, J. Klimavičius, G. Naktinienė, M. Norkaitienė, K. Pakalka, D. Rimantaitė, Z. Šimėnaitė, A. Vilutytė.)
Lietuvių kalbos žodynas.
Vol. XVI (TEMA-TULĖ). 1995. Ed. by J. Paulauskas, K. Ulvydas, V. Vitkauskas, K. Vosylytė, Vilnius, Mokslo ir enciklopedijų leidykla. (Tekstą rašė Z. Babickienė, K. Eigminas, I. Ermanytė, O. Kažauskaitė, M. Norkaitienė, K. Pakalka, R. Petrokienė, D. Rimantaitė, G. Smalinskienė, Z. Šimėnaitė, A. Vilutytė, J. Zabarskaitė.)
Range, Jochen D. 1992. Bausteine zur Bretke-Forschung: Kommentarband zur Bretke-Edition (NT) = Biblia Slavica, series VI: Supplementum: Biblia Lithuanica, Reihe 3: Kommentarbände. Vol. l (ed. by Reinhold Olesch [deceased] and Hans Rothe with the collaboration of Friedrich Scholz), Paderborn, Munich, Vienna, Zürich, Ferdinand Schöningh.


*This is a slightly abbreviated version of a talk given at the University of Eichstãtt conference, Aufgeben und Methodik der Baltistik on Nov. 10-11,1995, organized by Prof. Alfred Bammesberger. The complete paper will appear in the proceedings of this conference. The author would like to thank Prof. Bammesberger for his permission to print this version here.