Standardising religious terms in pastor Juozas Laukaitis’s Catechism Minor for Children Cover Image

Kunigo Juozo Laukaičio Mažojo katekizmo vaikeliams religijos terminų norminimas
Standardising religious terms in pastor Juozas Laukaitis’s Catechism Minor for Children

Author(s): Aušra Rimkutė
Subject(s): Baltic Languages
Published by: Lietuvių Kalbos Institutas

Summary/Abstract: At the beginning of the 20th century Juozas Laukaitis (1873–1952) was among those outstanding figures who cherished the Lithuanian church language and who was very much concerned about standardising Lithuanian religious terms. He was chair of the so-called Prayer Commission and one of the first to take care of the language of prayers and to promote their Lithuanian version. The paper aims at discussing the terms and their evolution in the three editions (1904, 1907 and 1914) of J. Laukaitis’s Catechism Minor for Children (Mažasis katekizmas vaikeliams). The paper also aims at identifying principles and criteria of standardising religious terms, evaluating amendments made in catechisms published almost one hundred years ago in reference to standard Lithuanian.From the three editions of the Catechism there were about 600 different onestem (almost one third of all terms) and compound religious terms, their synonyms and variants collected. All editions contained some Lithuanian religious terms, e.g. Dievas (‘God’), duona (‘bread’), dvasia (‘spirit’), Kraujas (‘blood’), Kūnas (‘body’), našlė (‘widow’), Sūnus (‘son’), vanduo (‘water’), velnias (‘devil’), žaltys (‘grasssnake’) etc., some borrowed terms which had no equivalents at the time or their foreign origin might have been overlooked, e.g. almužna (‘alms’), aniolas (‘angel’), arkaniolas (‘archangel’), čysčius (‘purgatory’), čystata (‘chastity’), dūšia (‘soul’), grabas(‘coffin’), griešnas (‘sinful’), karunka (‘canticle’), pakūta (‘repentance’), šliūbas (‘wedding’), veselija (‘marriage’) etc. Most terms were used synonymously, e.g. auka – apiera (‘offering’), išpažintis – spaviednis (‘confession’), nusidėjimas or nuodėmė – griekas (‘sin’), bausmė – kora (‘punishment’), malonė – mylista (‘mercy’), mirtis – smertis (‘death’), paslaptis – tajemnyčia (‘secret’), pragaras – pekla (‘hell’), pasaulis – svietas (‘world’), teismas – sūdas (‘trial’), viltis – nodieja (‘hope’) etc. (preference was usually given to the Lithuanian term).The standardisation of religious terms by J. Laukaitis could be treated as the most general approach to standardising the terms of the field. Spelling and syntactic varieties of the terms as well as their synonyms found in the three editions of the Catechism Minor for Children suggest that religious terms were still rather inconsistent.

  • Issue Year: 2009
  • Issue No: 82
  • Page Range: 59-76
  • Page Count: 18
  • Language: Lithuanian