A Signatory of the Act of Independence of Lithuania Kazys Bizauskas and Lithuanian Terminology of Literary Science

  • Asta Mitkevičienė


    100 years ago the first Lithuanian textbook on literary theory was published. It is symbolic that the author of this textbook is a signatory of the Act of Independence of Lithuania (1918) Kazys (Kazimieras) Bizauskas (1893–1941). The aim of this article is to discuss the terminology of literary science used by Bizauskas and his activities in organized terminology ordering.
    Bizauskas has an important place in the history of Lithuanian terminology, because 1) he wrote the very first Lithuanian textbook on literary theory which is a termin­ ology source as well, 2) during his term of office as minister of education the first terminology commission was established at the Minisry of Education and 3) he prepared a list of terms most likely based on the manuscript or material of his textbook and presented it for discussions at the Terminology Commission. Bizauskas understood well the importance of terminology work and as a terminologist he was not an individualist – he was involved in collective work on terminology ordering.
    The comparison of terms in Bizauskas’ textbook (1922) and terms recorded in the minutes of the Terminology Commission shows that these terms mainly differ in synonyms having the same root – Bizauskas either used one or more synonyms with the same root which were discussed by the Terminology Commission or used different synonyms with the same root. Terminology of the present is more similar to the termin­ology used by Bizauskas, probably because of the wider dissemination of his terms.
    Neither extreme purism nor a determination to internationalize terminology is characteristic to Bizauskas. The comparison of two editions of the textbook reveals that he was mainly changing the form of terms to make them more accurate – he would choose another variant or would change a term for a synonym with the same root (introduction of the complex term including an adjective with a suffix -inis instead of a complex term with a different form is quite typical). He was not inclined to change terms of the first edition with terms of different origin (Lithuanian or foreign). Syn­onymous terms having a different root in the first and second editions are of the same origin. Several changes correspond to standardization trends of that period.
    Variation and synonymy of terms (with the same root or with different roots) is characteristic to the single edition of the textbook (the 3rd edition was researched in this respect) and this could indicate a lack of stability in terminology, the search for more accurate or more correct form or variations being unnoticed or considered to be insignificant to change. It seems that for didactic reasons the author chose not to avoid aspectual synonyms.
    It is difficult to establish now if all synonyms and variants in the first Lithuanian textbook of literary terms were introduced by the author himself or by editors, publishers or other helpers.

History of Terminology