Volume 43, No. 2 - Summer 1997
Editor of this issue: Antanas Klimas
ISSN 0024-5089
Copyright © 1997 LITUANUS Foundation, Inc.

Lietuvių kalbos žodynas (=Lithuanian Academy Dictionary) Volume XVII (tūlė-valgus), 

ed. by I. Ermanytė, G. Naktinienė, J. Paulauskas, Z. Žimėnaitė and V. Vitkauskas. 1996. Vilnius, Mokslo ir enciklopedijų leidykla.

We greet with pleasure the appearance of Volume XVII of Lietuvių kalbos žodynas, i.e., the Lithuanian Academy Dictionary. It is well known that the history of the early volumes of this dictionary was fraught with communist political intrigue. Thus the foreword to Vol III [1956] of the Lithuanian Academy Dictionary (p. iii) states that volumes I [1941] and II [1947] had been published 'with some ideological and factual errors' (su kai kuriomis ideologinėmis ir dalykinėmis klaidomis). Therefore Vol I was reprinted (corrected) in 1968 and Vol. II in 1969. The new additions of volumes I and II eliminated references to émigré scholars. After that, although with uneven success an attempt was made to follow the party line until the appearance of Vol. XVI in 1995. This volume contains a new list of abbreviations which includes such famous émigré scholars as Antanas Salys, Petras Jonikas and Pranas Skardžius.

I am impressed by the exhaustiveness and care with which each word is defined. For example, the verb turėti is supplied with 33 definitions running from page 83 to page 107 beginning with the first definition 'to hold' illustrated with the example from Sirvydas' Polish-Latin-Lithuanian Dictionary: Kalavijas abišaliai aštras, viena ranka turimas 'A sword held in one hand is sharp on both edges' and ending with the 33rd definition 'to have (to do something)' with an example from the first edition of the same dictionary: Turiu, nemitęs, priverstas darau 'I must, having no alternative, I do [something, because I am] forced to.' pages 107-112 contain various idioms using the verb turėti beginning with akį turėti 'to be of a good opinion of somebody, to like somebody' illustrated by the sentence (p. 107): In gražų žmogų akį turi '(s)he likes a (the) handsome man' and ending with the idiom vietos neturėti 'to be uneasy because of pain, anguish' illustrated by the sentence: Per naktį ta koja atsitekėjo, ale nuo vakaro vietos neturėjau 'During the night the foot recovered, but from the evening I had no peace (from the pain)' (p. 112). From p. 112-131 we encounter various prefixed forms of turėti beginning with ant-turėti 'to hold, to support (a concrete object)' (p. 112) and ending with užtūrėti 'to arrest, to stop someone who is running' (p. 124).

Interestingly enough two head words tverti are given, the first having as its first meaning 'to build (a fence)' (p. 256). The first example is: Stodainiais tverta tvora tvers ilgai 'A fence built with strong vertical planks will last a long time', The participle tverta 'built' is obviously a good example of this verb, but I couldn't find an appropriate meaning in the list of definitions for tvers which seems to me to mean 'will hold solid, will last.' Most of the meanings given are transitive and the few that were intransitive didn't seem to fit the sample sentence. The second head verb tverti (p. 267) is defined as 'to grasp, to seize' and the first example of the first meaning is given as Vilkas i žmogų tvera už gerklės 'The wolf grabs at the man's throat'.'

Under the head word tvirtagalis 'circumflex, literally: having the strong stress at the end' (p. 309) we encounter the names of Jonas Jablonskis, J. Balčikonis and Antanas Salys and various sample sentences, the first attributed to Kazimieras Būga: Daukšos rašyboje 'acūtus' tarnauja tvirtagalei priegaidei išreikšti  In Daukša's writing the 'acūtus' serves to denote the circumflex intonation.' The second sample sentence is Kad lietuvių tvirtagaliai balsiai ilgesni už tvirtapradžius, atrodo, jau niekas neabejoja 'It seems nobody doubts any longer that the Lithuanian circumflex vowels are longer than the acute.' A third sample sentence comes from the Lithuanian Academy Grammar {p. 158): Tvirtagaliame skiemenyje visi dvibalsiai yra daug uždaresni negu tvirtapradžiame 'In the circumflex syllable all the diphthongs are much more close than in the acute.' I was happy to see also the name of Antanas Salys (among others) noted also in the definition of tvirtapradis 'acute, having the heavy stress on the initial element.' The mention of my teacher Antanas Salys would have been forbidden in Soviet times.

One thing which rather surprised me is the relatively large amount of space (approximately five pages [from p. 344-349] devoted to the word ubagas 'beggar', a Slavic borrowing which is marked with a preposed x to denote that the word is not supposed to be used. It is interesting in fact just to read the sample sentences which begin with ubagas esmi, neturiu nieko 'I am a beggar, I don't have anything' from Ruhig's Lithuanian-German and German-Lithuanian Dictio-nary {Königsberg 1747) and range from Prašau manęs netrukdykite, esmu ne merginos gimdytas, ani ubago perėtas 'Please don't bother me, I was not borne of a maiden, nor hatched by a beggar' (p. 345), Linksmas kaip ubago paršas 'happy as a beggar's pig,' Ko toks pasleidęs kaip ubago paršas 'Why (is he, are you) as dissolute as a beggar's pig,' Ubago kelio neparodysi 'You can't show a beggar the road,' etc. Sometimes the sentences seem to contradict each other. For example, following the sentence: Vilką kojos peni, ubagą poteriai 'Feet feed a wolf, prayers [feed a] beggar.' But in contrast to the pages spent on ubagas 'beggar' only a half a column is devoted to the word turtuolis 'rich man' (p. 168) the first example of which is: Iš turtuolio pasidarė vargingas 'From a rich man he turned into a poor man' and which is further illustrated by such sentences as: Turtuoliui tiesa nereikalinga: jis be jos amžių gerai pragyvena 'A rich man doesn't need truth: he lives his time well without it.' What is the message being sent by the emphasis on beggars as opposed to rich men? Is this a communist legacy? One hopes it is not a guide for the future.

It seems that certain words have captured the imagination of the dictionary's authors and have led them to devote more space to these words. One of these words is uodega 'tail' (pp. 460-471), a word with many examples illustrating Lithuanian life and folk wisdom, e.g., Artojas be botago - kaip šuva be uodegos 'A ploughman without a whip is like a dog without a tail'; Vyras be peilio - kaip šuo be uodegos 'A man without a knife is like a dog without a tail'; Moters liežuvis visada juda kaip šuns uodega 'A woman's tongue always moves like a dog's tail'; kame galva, ten ir uodega 'where there is a head, there is a tail'; uodega galvą mokina 'the tail teaches the head'; Kai šuo kanda, uodegos nevizgina 'When a dog bites, he doesn't wag his tail' (p. 461); Tavo galvelėj to proto kaip gaidžio uodegoj mėsos 'In your head there is as much sense as there is meat in a rooster's tail'; Ir gudri višta kartais i notrynes uodegą įkiša 'Even a clever hen sometimes sticks its tail into nettles' (p. 462); Kiek tavo galvoj, tiek mano uodegoj There is as much in your head as there is in my tail' (p. 465).

The entry valgyti 'to eat' (p. 1058) begins with the illustrative sentence: Miegmi, valgau, geriu iki soti 'I sleep, eat and drink to satiation' (Sirvydas' Polish-Latin-Lithuanian Dictionary). We also encounter here the sentence: Nėra kas valgą (nėra duonos) There is nothing to eat (there is no bread)' (p. 1059). The parenthetical explanation is needed, because here valgą is interpreted as a neuter singular with the accusative interpretation of kas as 'nothing.'" If valgą were to be interpreted as nominative plural with the nominative interpretation of kas 'nobody' the sentence would mean There is nobody here to eat [e.g., the meal which the hostess has prepared].' Of course, the accusative (or objective case) interpreted of the English sentence: There is nobody here to eat is possible also. One could imagine two hungry cannibals entering a neighboring village, and finding it uninhabited the first cannibal describes the situation to the second with the aforementioned sentence. With its final word valgus 'having a good appetite' the dictionary has a happy ending, the last sentence being man su bulvėm valgiau negu su duona 'l like to eat potatoes more than bread' (p. 1079).

In sum then this dictionary lives up to the high standard of the preceding volumes and is a treasure of the Lithuanian language, for which its authors and editors are to be congratulated and praised.

William R. Schmalstieg
The Pennsylvania State University