The Lithuanian Language in University Academic Life Over 100 Years: from the University of Lithuania to Kaunas University of Technology

  • Audronė Veilentienė
Keywords: University of Lithuania, Kaunas Polytechnic Institute, Kaunas University of Technology, Lithuanian language, scientific language


Globalization processes affect national languages, and the Lithuanian language is no exception. After Lithuania became a member of the European Union, the English language has been increasingly penetrating all areas of life of the state. First it was used in the field of science: more and more articles were written and published in English, the number of study programmes in English was rising, as also the number of dissertations defended in English. This, however, poses a threat to the development of the Lithuanian scientific language. This problem prompted us to look back in history and see how the Lithuanian language was used in university academic life during various historical periods. The object of the article is the use of the Lithuanian language in studies, research, textbooks, monographs, and other publications between 1922 and 2022. The article also deals with the influence of the government language policy and the approach of the university (institute) to the use of the Lithuanian language during both periods of independent Lithuania (1918–1940 and 1990–present), during the Soviet (1940–1941; 1944–1990), and Nazi (1941–1944) occupations.
After analysing the documents of university activity, legal acts, and publications from the period of 1922–2022, the following conclusions can be drawn:
1. The best conditions for the development of the Lithuanian scientific language were between 1922 and 1940, since the studies in the Lithuanian language, publication of textbooks and scientific works in the Lithuanian language were encouraged by the university and supported by the government.
2. During the Soviet occupation, researchers of Kaunas Polytechnic Institute were made to write dissertations, research articles, and monographs in Russian due to the requirements at that time, but the publication of textbooks in Lithuanian was encouraged and thus the extinction of the Lithuanian scientific language was avoided.
3. After the restoration of Lithuania’s independence, the most favourable period for the development of the Lithuanian scientific language was between 1990 and 2004. After Lithuania joined the European Union, research journals of Kaunas University of Technology, with the exception two journals, began to publish articles in English to comply with international requirements. It is obvious that the English language has been rapidly pushing the Lithuanian language out of the field of technical sciences and studies. Unfortunately, there threat that this will hinder the development of Lithuanian scientific language and the Lithuanian scientific terminology is real.