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Kazimieras Būga


Kazimieras BŪGA (1879-1924), distinguished Lithuanian linguist, born at Paziege, near Dusetos, on Nov. 6, 1879. In 1905 he began studying in the faculty of history and philology in the University of St. Petersburg his professors included such famous scholars as J. Baudouin de Courtenay, F. F. Fortunatov, A. A, Shakhmatov and A. J. Sobolevsky. After graduating, he was allowed in 1912 to continue work in comparative Indo-European linguistics under the direction of J. Baudouin de Courtenay and to prepare himself for a professorial career. In 1914 he received a fellowship and was sent abroad, in the first instance to A. Bezzenberger in Konigsberg, to continue his studies, but he had to return to St. Petersburg a few months later on the outbreak of World War I. In 1916 he gained his master's degree and was given the rank of instructor. When part of the University of St. Petersburg moved to Perm', he was appointed assistant professor there From July 1,1916, and in 1918 he was promoted to associate professor. When the revolution began, he moved to Tomsk, and from there he returned to Lithuania at the end of August, 1920.
On settling in Lithuania, he began at once preparing an extensive Lithuanian dictionary for publication, but from Feb. 16, 1922, he had almost sole responsibility for the basic courses in Baltic linguistics and comparative Indo-European linguistics at the newly founded University of Kaunas. In addition he wrote a great many articles and reviews on linguistic subjects. Intensive work and difficult living conditions impaired his health. He was taken to Konigsberg for treatment and died there on Dec. 1, 1924. He was buried in Kaunas.
Although his life was short, Būga performed major services primarily in the study of Lithuanian and the other Baltic languages; his scholarly works are also important for comparative Indo-European linguistics. Appointed secretary to Kazimieras Jaunius in 1903, he prepared a thorough statement of Jaunius' linguistic doctrine in four volumes, but only one of these was published in 1908 with the title Aistiški studijai (Baltic Studies); the remainder was not published, because after a time Buga became convinced that Jaunius' doctrine was erroneous. He also prepared for the press Jaunius' Lietuviu kalbos gramatika (Grammar of the Lithuanian Language), published in 1908-1911; a Russian translation of this grammar was made by Būga and its publication was completed in 1916.
Būga's largest and most important work was his Lietuvių kalbos Žodynas (Dictionary of the Lithuanian Language). He began collecting lexicographical material in 1902 and paid more attention to the task from 1909. In 1912 the Russian Academy of Sciences commissioned him to edit and publish the second volume (letters K- L) of Antanas Juska's Dictionary; only part of this, as far as the word kretalas, was published in 1922. Buga devoted himself wholly to lexicographical work in 1920, when the Lithuanian Ministry of Education entrusted him with organizing the publication of a Lithuanian dictionary. His intention was to prepare a full-scale thesaurus of the Lithuanian language, giving the origin of many words, their history, geographical distribution, meaning, and other information. At the time of his death in 1924 he had published only one fascicule (64 pages of introduction and 80 pages of text, as far as the word ančtraukas); a second and incomplete fascicule (84 pages of introduction and 2 pages of text, as far as the word anga) appeared posthumously in 1925. However, the enormous task which Buga had begun did not come to a standstill; although the form was considerably changed and the Dictionary was enlarged, publication was resumed after a time and is still in progress. So far 7 large volumes have appeared and it is expected that there will be 16 in all.
Another subject which deeply interested Buga was proper names. In his article Apie lietuvių asmens vardus (Concerning Lithuanian Personal Names; Lietuvių Tauta, II, 1911), he drew on historical sources and examples from the present-day language to give the first correct account of the antiquity of Lithuanian compound names, and he discovered the correct forms of the names of the Lithuanian princes (for example, Jogaila, Mindaugas, Svitrigaila, Vaisvilkas, Vytautas). This laid the foundation for research into Lithuanian compound names. By using toponyms and hydronyms he tried to discover the original home of the Lithuanians and other Baltic peoples and to trace subsequent changes. In his article, Kann man Keltenspuren auf baltischem Gebiet nachweisen? (.Rocznik slawistyczny, VI, 1913), he argued convincingly that in antiquity Celts did not live in the territory of Lithuania or Belorussia, as A. Shakhmatov had supposed. Further, relying on toponyms, he reached the conclusion that Lithuanians, Latvians and other speakers of East Baltic dialects once lived much further to the east, north of the Pripet River, which divided them from the Slavs. He held that the Lithuanians and the Latvians settled in their present territories in the 6th-8th centuries A. D expounded these views in his articles Upių vardų studijos aisčių bei slavėnų senovė (Studies of River Names and Baltic and Slavic Antiquity; Tauta ir Žodis, I, 1923), Lietuvių, įsikūrimas šių dienų Lietuvoje (Lithuanian Settlement in Present-Day Lithuania; Tauta ir Zodis, II, 1924), and in the monograph Aisčių praeitis vietų vardų Šviesoje (The Past of the Baltic Peoples in the Light of Toponyms; Kaunas, 1924). A German translation of the latter work appeared as Die Vorgeschichte der aistischen (baltischen) Stamme im Lichte der Ortsnamenforschung, Leipzig, 1924. He wrote further about the Baltic nations, their languages and former homes in the introduction to his Dictionary.
Apart from proper names Buga at an early stage set about studying linguistic borrowings in Lithuanian. In his article Lztuanica Uzvestiia Otdeleiia russkago iazyka i slovesnosti Imperatorskoi Akademii Nauk, XVII:1, 1912) he made the first attempt to determine the chronology of Lithuanian borrowings from Slavic. Later he studied this problem more extensively in his article Litauisch-weissrussische Bezwhungen und ihr Alter (Zeitschrift fur slavische Philologie, I, 1925). Here he discovered, for example, that such words as lenkas =-•- "Pole," unguras =="Hungarian," or pipiras "pepper," šilkas="silk," kurtas- "greyhound," turgus "market" and others were adopted by Lithuanian approximately between the second half of the 9th century and the beginning of the 12th century. In his article Visi senieji lietuvių santykiai su germanais (The Oldest Lithuanian Contacts with the Germanic Peoples; Kalba it Senovė, 1922 =-- Rinktiniai raštai, II, 1959) he showed that the Lithuanians originally had no direct contacts with the Germanic tribes, and so the language has very few early borrowings from Germanic (for example, alus=:;"ale, beer," gudas="Belorussian." pekus"=cattle "
šarvas=harness, armor," and others);
An appreciable place in Buga's work was occupied by etymology, a subject that interested him as early as 1903. He planned to write an etymological dictionary of Lithuanian and he collected a great deal of material for it. Some of his suggested etymologies were published in the articles Slaviano-baltiiskie etimologii (Russkii filologicheskii vestnik, LXX, 1913; LXXI, 1914; LXXV, 1916) and Priedėlis etmologijos Žodynui (Supplement to an Etymological Dictionary), printed in the collection Kalba ir senovė (Language and Antiquity, 1922). Most of his etymologies are on the whole acceptable.
The results of his lengthy research into accentuation were developed in the article Kirčio ir priegaidės mokslas (The Doctrine of Accent and Intonation), which was included in the introduction to the Dictionary. There he describes the present and former occurrence in Lithuanian of the accents and intonations, their changes and other features. In his article Die Metatonie im Litauischen und Lettischen (Zeitschrift fur vergleichende Sprachforschung, LI-LII, 1923-1924) he gave a comparative account of metatony or change of intonation in Lithuanian and Latvian. These publications were an important contribution to explaining Lithuanian accentuation.
Apart from the works mentioned above, Buga wrote a number of articles and reviews for various publications. All his more important scholarly writings on linguistic questions, both those in print and those left in manuscript, have been collected and published in Lithuania in three large volumes: K. Buga, Rinktiniai raštai (Collected Works), Vilnius, 1958-61; for clarity a detailed index has been published as a separate volume. The first volume contains an extensive and up-date biography of Būga, and an exhaustive bibliography of his publications is to be found in the third. The collection was made by Z. Zinkevičius and edited by V. Mažiulis.
Text from the ENCYCLOPEDIA LITUANICA I-VI.  Boston, 1970-1978