In memory of Jonas Kazlauskas from Nemunas land: The new laureate of Kazlauskas Premium has been presented in Matiešionys, the native land of the linguist

He has broken the ice in Lithuanian linguistics that has acquired a more modern approach. (Just. Marcinkevičius) On 1 August, Matiešionys region had a special celebration – the 88th birth anniversary of Professor Jonas Kazlauskas, the linguist from our region who is also called the Oak of Baltic Philology, as well as the celebration of awarding Kazlauskas Premium dedicated to the 100th anniversary of Restored Lithuania. Everybody gathered in the yard of the house, in which the linguist once lived, in honour of this prominent person and the importance of the Lithuanian language. On 1 August this year, Baltic philologist Jonas Kazlauskas would have celebrated his 88th birthday. The linguist’s relatives, the representatives from the Department of Baltic Philology of Vilnius University, Mayor of Birštonas Municipality Nijolė Dirginčienė and Director of Administration Valentinas Vincas Revuckas, Member of the Lithuanian Parliament Andrius Palionis, residents from adjacent villages and those who cherish the professor’s memory came to the homestead of Kazlauskas family in Matiešionys village to celebrate this honourable anniversary and to award the premium in his name. The Lithuanian tricolour was solemnly hoisted and the Lithuanian anthem was sung at the beginning of the celebration. Daiva Sinkevičiūtė, Head of the Department of Baltic Philology, talked about the activities of this department of the Faculty of Philology of Vilnius University, the significant works of Jonas Kazlauskas, and the importance of the premium: “This premium is awarded every few years and it is very important not only to the person who receives it. It is important to our language – this is how we provide meaning to linguistics and Baltic philology, and we show that it is meaningful and necessary”. Prof. Dr. Habil. Pēteris Vanags from the Universities of Latvia and Stockholm became the laureate of Jonas Kazlauskas Premium, amounting to EUR 1 000, upon recommendation of the Department of Baltic Philology of the Faculty of Philology of Vilnius University on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of Restored Lithuania. Prof. Dr. Habil. Vanags has studied in the Universities of Latvia and Vilnius where he acquired education in Baltic philology, knows all three Baltic languages, has a perfect command of the Lithuanian language and disseminates it abroad. He is a man of merit for his research works in Baltic philology, text linguistics and the history of linguistics. He has defended his doctoral dissertation and the habilitation thesis at Vilnius University. Kazlauskas Premium was awarded to Pēteris Vanags by Mayor of Birštonas Municipality Nijolė Dirginčienė and Director of Administration Valentinas Vincas Revuckas. The new laureate expressed cordial gratefulness for the recognition of his works and activities, thanked those people who cared for commemoration of Jonas Kazlauskas, and was also pleased to note that he had a special connection with Lithuania, in particular Vilnius: “The parents of my parents, i.e. my grandparents, met each other in Vilnius,” Pēteris Vanags recalled a sentimental story. Birštonas Museum has organised the commemorative event of Jonas Kazlauskas this year. During the event, the hosts of the homestead, Jonas Kazlauskas’ grandson Virginijus Kazlauskas and his wife Birutė, were thanked for the beautifully kept homestead and its environment. This remarkable commemorative event was also attended by Gražina Medeikienė, the former fellow student of Mr. Kazlauskas from Klaipėda: “Jonas Kazlauskas has never been evaluated by a lower grade than the highest one, he has never cocked his nose and he used to sing very beautiful songs,” the fellow student shared her memories. The ensemble of Birštonas Society of the Disabled performed a song “Upės plauks į melsvą tolį” (Rivers Will Flow to the Bluish Distance), accompanied by all who have gathered to the event. It used to be the favourite song of Jonas Kazlauskas. The linguist’s daughter Eglė also came to the commemorative event, the resident of Matiešionys region and the community member Emilija Malceva read the verses, the folklore ensemble of Vilnius Forest Enterprise “Nalšia” gave a concert, and the pupils from Birštonas Art School sang Lithuanian songs. After a solemn commemoration everybody was invited to treat themselves. Thanks to the work done by sincere, creative and collaborative people, the linguist’s native land has become more beautiful and attractive to visitors. It is pleasant to note that the traditions of our region as well as remarkably rich traditions of the Lithuanian language have been cherished and continued.

Information by Birštonas Municipality

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Savivaldybės biudžetinė įstaiga
Jaunimo g. 2, 59206 Biršton

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Tel./Faks.: (8 319) 65 555
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