Volume 44, No.4 - Winter 1998
Editor of this issue: Dalia Kučėnas
ISSN 0024-5089
Copyright © 1998 LITUANUS Foundation, Inc.

Kazys Pakalka, ed., Senasis Konstantino Sirvydo Žodynas, (Mokslo ir enciklopedijų leidybos institutas, Vilnius), 1997.

This is a photographic reprint of the first edition of Konstantinas Sirvydas' Dicitonarium trium linguarum, which contains head-words in Polish and definitions in Latin and Lithuanian. Since the original in Moscow was difficult to access, this edition was made from photographs now located in the University of Vilnius library. The book is provided with a foreword (p. 5) which describes the circumstances of the publication, an introductory article by the editor, Kazys Pakalka, entitled Pastabos apie senąjį Konstantino Sirvydo trikalbį žodyną. 'Notes about Konstantinas Sirvydas' old trilingual dictionary' (pp.. 6-25), a Polish summary (pp. 26-29) and references (pp. 30-31). This latter article contains a very interesting and useful brief history and description of the dictionary. Since the head-words of the dictionary are in Polish, the editor has also furnished a Lithuanian alphabetical index (pp. 465-570), thereby making the dictionary much easier to use.

Missing in Sirvydas' first edition are pages from the beginning and the end, and in addition page 66 from the middle. Since this first edition was based on the Polish-Latin part of the 1613 dictionary compiled by N. Folkmaras (Nicolaus Volckmarus), Pakalka, the editor if this Sirvydas facsimile edition, has filled the lacunae by reprinting the appropriate pages from Folkmaras. Thus, the Folkmaras edition begins with the letter A which is defined: Litera, quando est adverbium interogat Coniunctio autem copulat, & sententiam novam superiori coniungit 'As an adverb this letter questions, as a conjunction, however, joins the new sentence to the higher (one). ' We are, of course, not supplied with any Lithuanian definitions until we get to page 10 of Sirvydas' Dictionary the first full entry in which begins with Polish Cechuię, which is defined as Latin signo, Noto and Lithuanian žiminu, petnawoiu, žinklinu(sic!) 'I make a sign, a mark. ' Sirvydas' missing page 66 is also filled in with the appropriate page from Folkmaras and probably the last complete Lithuanian word that can be made out on the badly damaged p. 216 of Sirvydas Dictionary is pažistu 'I know. ' The final entry in the Folkmaras dictionary is Polish Zjyram, Latin Devoro, deglutio 'I swallow down. ' We can only guess what Lithuanian definition Sirvydas might have supplied.

On p. 10 of the dictionary one can clearly read the Russian legend Leksikon golandsko-latinskij - bez nacala i konca 'Dutch-Latin lexicon - without a beginning and an end' apparently written by some Russian librarian whose knowledge of Polish and Lithuanian was definitely quite weak (non-existent?). One can also read the name of the librarian (spravscik) German (the Russian version of the name Herman, but with a velar or 'hard' g), who apparently died in 1682. The latter's life has not been investigated, but the date of death suggested by Svetlana Dolgova, viz. 1972 (see p. 9, fn. 3) would surely make German into a real Russian bogatyr'.

Since the first pages are missing the exact title of this dictionary is not known to us, but in the Minsk Belorussian government archives a list of the books owned by the Calvinist writer Kristupą Radvila was found. This list contains the title Prompt[u]arium dictionum Polonicarum Latinarum et Lituanicarum (without author or date of publication). It is possible, but not certain, that this refers to Sirvydas' first edition. Pakalka (p. 13, fn. 7) writes that one should understand the word prompt[u]arium to mean 'repository of words, an abundant collection of synonyms'.

Already in 1967 Urbutis pointed out the vast number of dissimilarities between the definitions in the first and the third editions of this dictionary. For example in the first edition (under review) we encounter the entry (Polish) chwieię się followed by the Latin words nuto 'I sway to and fro', titubo 'l stagger, ' vacillo 'I waver' and Lithuanian siubuoiu 'I swing, sway. ' Under the same Polish entry in the third edition we encounter (Latin) Labo as, Labasco 'I waver, ' vacillo, nuto, fluctuo 'I fluctuate' and Lithuanian Swerdu 'I sway, ' siurwoiu 'id. ' Similarly in the first edition under the (Polish) entry Dobrotliwosc we encounter (Latin) benignitas 'kindness, ' clementia 'clemency, ' beneuolentia 'benevolence' and Lithuanian gieradariste *beneficence, ' malonumas 'kindness, ' whereas in the third edition the same Polish word is defined only as Latin beneuolentia and Lithuanian gieras noras 'good will' (Urbutis 1967: 210).

According to Pakalka (p. 23) if one judges by the Lithuanian word-index to the first edition and by the dictionary itself one can come to certain conclusions concerning the character of the lexicon, the frequency of word use, word-meaning and other things. There are two types of vocabulary, a folk lexicon and a bookish lexicon. The folk lexicon is taken from the eastern Lithuanian spoken language. The bookish lexicon stems from various loan translations, the meaning of which is sometimes impossible or difficult to understand without reference to the Polish original, e. g., atsiprisiekiu 'I abjure, I forswear' (cf. Pol. odprzysiegam 'id. '), pakaustine 'horseshoe' (cf. podkowa 'id. '), etc. This edition includes also many words which are either rare or unknown from other sources, e. g., ausinikas 'toady, bootlicker, ' snastis 'household goods, ' etc.

According to Pakalka (p. 24) Sirvydas' dictionary had special significance for education of that time, it was an important means of studying Latin and Lithuanian, for the translation of Latin and Lithuanian texts. Pakalka quotes 1. Lukšaitė (1994: 260) to the effect that this dictionary was important for the creation of a level of Lithuanian necessary for science and education, the standardization of the Lithuanian dialect of Vilnius and environs, and the interdialectal variant of Eastern Lithuania.

Pakalka is well known for his excellent work on the third edition of Sirvydas' dictionary (see Lyberis, A., J. Marcinkevičius and K. Pakalka, 1979). He has herewith produced another important and valuable piece of work.


Lukšaitė, L, Xonstantinas Sirvydas (1579-16312), Lietuvos mokykla ir pedagoginė mintis XII-XVII a. Vilnius, 1994.
Lyberis, A., Marcinkevičius, J. and Pakalka, K., eds., Pirmasis lietuvių kalbos žodynas (Vilnius, Mokslas), 1979.
Urbutis, Vincas, "Pirmasis lietuvių kalbos žodynas ir keletas jo retų žodžių", Baltistica, 3. 209-218.

William R. Schmalstieg 
The Pennsylvania State University