Editors’ Position: A Need for Democracy

  • Jurgita Girčienė
Keywords: editors’ position, position towards standardisation of lexis and its impact on the choice of variants and on the communicative effectiveness of a text, need for democracy


Based on the responses of twenty semi-structured interviews, the paper discusses the position of linguistic editors representing all types of linguistic editors active in Lithuania. It describes the position of this specific part of the linguistic community, the intermediaries between authors and readers, regarding standardisation of a particular type of lexis, the so-called new borrowings, which are so important to the society. The paper aims to identify the impact of the purist tradition (purification of lexis), which is still alive in Lithuania, on the choice of variants and the communicative effectiveness of a text as seen by the editors. It also looks into the editors’ attitude towards the present situation in general: whether they support it or desire changes. A conclusion was reached in the present research that for the majority of editors the present situation in the field of standardisation that limits the choice of lexical variants interferes with their aspirations to produce a communicatively effective text. To summarise the criticism and specific recommendations expressed by many of the respondents towards the general situation in the field of standardisation of new borrowings, the most suitable solutions for the editors would be a change in standardisation practices: linguistic recommendations should suggest variants in an informative rather than prescriptive manner, without rejecting certain borrowings as inappropriate, and allowing to choose a variant or a synonym stylistically most suitable for the text in question and for the targeted addressee. Responses by all the editors interviewed about their approach (introduction of specific borrowings into different texts targeted at different addressees related to linguistic recommendations) suggest a need for diversity and variability. To conclude, the aim sought by linguistic recommendations issued as a consequence of language standardisation, i.e., limiting the number of variants, conflicts with the need for diversity and for the possibility to choose among variants, in other words, the need for democracy as expressed by the editors.