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Antanas Juska (Antanas Juška)


Antanas JUŠKA (Juškevičius) – 1819-1880. Llexicographer and folklorist born in Daujotai, county of Kaunas on June 4, 1819. Graduating from the Vilnius Theological Seminary, he wa; ordained in 1843, and served as curate (and pastor in several parishes, the longest in Veliuona and Alsėdžiai. He died on Oct. 20, 1880 in Kazan', Russia where he is buried, his gravestone being inscribed Antonius Juszkiewicz Letuviensis. Although he never for mally studied philology or ethnology, he nevertheless distinguished himself in both fields.
Rev. Juška was the author of a dictionary of the Lithuanian language published by the Russian Academy of Science in St. Petersburg. Three fascicles 'of the work entitled Litovskii slovar' were published posthumously in 1897, 1904 and 1922, comprising material up to the word kaštuotis. The rest remained in manuscript form (see Dictionaries). The work comprises some 70,000 words, including many, which did not appear in previously published dictionaries. He gathered words from the living language spoken in those districts where he lived, especially Veliuona and Vilkija. To illustrate usage he included whole phrases. The author translated Lithuanian words into Polish (the letters M, T, 0, R, U, V, Z, 2 also into Latvian) while his brother Jonas Juška provided translations into Russian. Initially the work of preparing the dictionary for publication was undertaken by Jonas Juka and later by a number of other philologists, Jagic, Fortunatov, Vytautas Juška (the son of Jonas Juška), Jablonskis, Būga and Šlapelis. The editors checked the text and changed some details, but the text remained basically unaltered. Since written Standard Lithuanian in Lithuania Major was not yet stabilized at that time, the dictionary's accentuation, phonology, and morphology were based on the dialect of the author's birthplace, but with some admixture of the other dialects. The dictionary is especially valuable for its inclusion of unfamiliar words and their forms, and for its inclusion of expressions from popular speech.
Rev. Juška also wrote three unpublished dictionaries, Polish-Lithuanian, Latvian-Lithuanian-Polish, and Lithuanian-Polish. In 1863 he published Abecela arba Lementerius (Primer) for children, where he used the new spelling (e.g., č and š in place of cs and sz).
Another important work by Juška was a collection of Lithuanian songs. He wrote down about 7,000 folk songs, some 5,000 of them from the district of Veliuona. The first collection of 33 songs and their Russian translation was published under the name of Litovskie narodnye pesni (Lithuanian Folksongs) in St. Petersburg in 1867. Working on the publication of his extensive collection of songs, Rev. Juška in 1879 went to Kazan’, where his brother Jonas lived. Since the Russian administration had forbidden the publication of Lithuanian books employing the Latin alphabet, Professor Baudouin de Courtenay of the University of Kazan' obtained permission to use Lithuanian orthography in publication of the songs. Between1880-82 three volumes of the work Lietuviškos dajnos (Lithuanian Songs) were published,, comprising 1,586 songs. 1883 saw the publication of Lietuviškos svotbinės dajnos (Lithuanian Wedding Songs), containing 1,111 songs. In 1880 Antanas Juška also published Svotbinė rėda, a book of Lithuanian wedding customs. The latter was translated into German, Polish and in abbreviated form, into Russian. Melodies of folksongs written down in 1852 were published in Cracow in 1900 as Melodje ludowe litewskie (Melodies of Lithuanian Folks'ongs), edited by Z. Noskowski and Baudouin de Courtenay. In 1954-55 in Vilnius these works saw second editions in which the original text was reproduced photographically, along with a modern transcription. The new edition of Lithuanian Songs (3 volumes) contains 1,569 s'ongs, while that of Lithuanian Wedding Songs (2 volumes) contains 1,100 songs and wedding customs. About 3,000 songs collected by Juska, but never published, disappeared during World War I.
The songs collected by Rev. Juška are remarkable for variety of themes and for his novel method of writing down and classifying the songs. He was the first Lithuanian to record the names of the singers, giving their social conditions and the occasion on which each song was sung. He wrote down the songs in dialect, without changes or omissions, and he classified some of the songs according to contents. These anthologies are especially valuable in the study of Lithuanian folklore.
Bibl.: K. Jaunius, "Apie kun. A. Juškos dainų kalbą," Lietuvių Tauta, I, Vilnius, 1910; J. Tumas, Lietuvių literatūra rusų raidėmis ir broliai Juškos-Juškevičiai, Kaunas, 1924; J. Balys, "A Short Review of the Collection of Lithuanian Folklore," Tautosakos Darbai, 1, Kaunas, 1935; P. Jonikas, Lietuvių kalbos istorija, Chicago, 1952; B. Tolutienė, "Antanas Juška-leksikografas." Literatūra ir kalba, V, Vilnius 1961: V. Biržiška, Aleksandrynas, III, Chicago, 1965.

Text from the ENCYCLOPEDIA LITUANICA I-VI.  Boston, 1970-1978