(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
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.
Text from the ENCYCLOPEDIA LITUANICA I-VI.