SUBAČIUS_2019_Daukanto_Prasmos_I_J_i_j_rinkėjai_ALt_193-208.pdf (2.05 MB)

“Pirmosios Simono Daukanto knygos Prasma lotynų kalbos (1837) raidės , ir jų rinkėjai“ (Letters , and their Typesetters in the First Printed Book by Simonas Daukantas: Prasma lotynų kalbos 1837)

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journal contribution
posted on 07.05.2021, 21:38 by Giedrius Subacius
The first book by Simonas Daukantas, PRASMĄ ŁOTINÛ KAŁBOS (Grammar of Latin), was published by St Petersburg publisher Christian Hintze in 1837 (in Lithuanian). Daukantas did not use the grapheme in any of his Lithuanian manuscripts, only . At that time, it was assumed that while setting the text, the typesetters would expand the single grapheme into two— and . The tactics they applied in setting (interpreting) the grapheme in Daukantas’s manuscript for Lithuanian words divides the text of the Grammar of Latin into four segments: (1) (Jwardes) pp. 1–20; (2) (Iwardes) pp. 21–87; (3) (Judum) pp. 88–94; (4) (Iungînes), and (Jungînę) pp. 95–126(117). Judging by the three different styles of rendering and transforming , there might have been at least three different typesetters involved in this work. Moreover, the typesetters not only rendered and transformed the capital into two other capital letters, sometimes they also substituted for the lowercase letters . The first and the third typesetter most probably exploited analogous tactics: the first typesetter in the first segment possibly both stayed with Daukantas’s and transformed it into the lower case letter (jems; he set neither nor ); the third typesetter in the fourth segment possibly split Daukantas’s into and interchangeably and likewise into (iems) and (jèms). The diversity in interpretations of Daukantas’s in the Grammar of Latin, occasionally erroneous, leads to the assumption that Hintze’s typesetters in St Petersburg did not speak Lithuanian. There was no easy way for them to make informed choices about the expected graphemes. Printed outside of Lithuania, Daukantas’s Grammar of Latin suffered additional variation due to the ignorance of the typesetters. Latin words used by Daukantas also began with the capital when needed (one surviving page of a Daukantas manuscript “Apsirikimai” [Errata] confirms this, e.g. Jnfinitivus). Throughout the entire book, the typesetters consistently transformed it into (Infinitivus)—this was the usual way of representing Latin spellings. This means that the typesetters were well aware of Latin printing conventions, in contrast to Lithuanian ones. The Errata of the Grammar of Latin were most probably set by two different typesetters as well—probably by the first and the second, since on p. 129 the letter was always (6×) used, even in the Latin words (in contrast to the expectation), and on p. 130(119)—only (7×). In certain cases, the typesetters reversed the direction of substitution: they turned the lowercase letters into their upper case equivalents → (ISPAUSTE, PARSERGIEJEMAA). But since Daukantas made an obvious distinction in the lowercase letters and , it was not difficult for the typesetters to represent them rather accurately. They even used the capital grapheme <Î> (PÎRMOJE) with the circumflex diacritic, which was alien to Daukantas due to his preference for that might never attract a circumflex. The typesetters must have interpreted <î> → <Î> themselves.


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©InC – Lituanistika


Subacius, G. (2019). “Pirmosios Simono Daukanto knygos Prasma lotynų kalbos (1837) raidės , ir jų rinkėjai“ (Letters , and their Typesetters in the First Printed Book by Simonas Daukantas: Prasma lotynų kalbos 1837). Archivum Lithuanicum, 21, 193-208. Retrieved from


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