ŠIAULIAI UNIVERSITY LECTURER PRESENTS TWO DISTANCE-LEARNING LESSONS ON THE CHALLENGING PATH TO THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE MODERN LITHUANIAN LANGUAGE.

Lithuanian School October 17, 2015 On October 18, at 9:00 am Eastern time (4:00 pm Lithuanian time), Robertas Gedrimas, a lecturer at Šiauliai University, presented two lessons on the complex history of the formation of the modern Lithuanian language. The students shared their impressions of the 2011 movie, “Book Smugglers,” which was directed by John Trukanas. The subject of the movie was the “Press Ban,” a policy of the Russian government in Lithuania from 1864 until 1904 which, among other things, prohibited the publication of Lithuanian books using the Latin alphabet, and how Lithuanians responded by having such books printed in nearby Prussia and secretly brought into Lithuania. [ßN.B.: The Russians allowed the publication of Lithuanian writings using Cyrillic text; by contrast, the Press Ban prohibited all publications using the Polish language.] The lesson briefly reviewed the history of the Lithuanian language from the 13th Century, when the Lithuanian language was only as a spoken language, through to the 20th Century, when the language became the official language of the Republic of Lithuania, and emphasized the impact of the 19th Century “Press Ban” on the development of the written language. Among other things, the lesson explained how the dialect of Lithuanian spoken by the Western Highlanders in the Kaunas region became the foundation of modern Lithuanian.