The Development, Uniqueness and Interrelationship of Lithuanian Explanatory Dictionaries

  • Vilija Sakalauskienė
Keywords: lexicography, explanatory dictionaries, Antanas Juška, Jonas Jablonskis, The Dictionary of the Lithuanian Language, The Dictionary of the Modern Lithuanian Language, The Dictionary of the Standard Lithuanian Language


This article aims to show the evolution of the dictionaries of the modern and standard Lithuanian language from the end of the 19th century to the 21st century, based on the most important dictionaries of the period and specific examples of these dictionaries. One of the most outstanding lexicographical works of the 19th century is the Lithuanian–Russian–Polish dictionary by the famous Lithuanian lexicographer and folklore collector Antanas Juška. The importance and significance of this dictionary were also recognised by Jonas Jablonskis, who took the first steps in lexicographical work by editing the dictionary of A. Juška. His work on the dictionary prompted the linguist to collect materials for research on the Lithuanian written language, to record the data on cards and to keep them in a separate card file. Jablonskis’ wish to compile a dictionary of the standard Lithuanian language was partly fulfilled by the Dictionary of the Lithuanian Language, which combines three different dictionaries: the dialectal, the old written and the modern standard Language. The rich and varied material in this dictionary made it possible to compile the Dictionary of the Modern Lithuanian Language (1954) and many other editions. Each of the dictionaries has given rise to one or another impulse to think about a new and improved dictionary or another edition. The current Dictionary of the Standard Lithuanian Language is quite different in terms of its lexical composition, structure and methodology. The article reveals the most important problems that the compilers of explanatory dictionaries may face.