Zigmas Zinkevičius (January 4, 1925 in Juodausiai, Ukmergė district – February 20, 2018 in Vilnius) was a leading Lithuanian linguist-historian, professor at Vilnius University, and a full member of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences. He has contributed to studies in the history of languages, onomastics and other areas. Zinkevičius was a recipient of the Herder Prize, which was presented to him in 1994. Zinkevičius is the author of 30 academic books and several hundred scientific publications in various languages.
After graduating from the gymnasium at Ukmergė in 1945, he enrolled in Vilnius University. He studied linguistics until 1950. In 1955 Zinkevičius defended his thesis Lietuvių kalbos įvardžiuotinių būdvardžių istorijos bruožai (Historical traits of adjective pronouns in Lithuanian language) and received a Doctoral degree. From 1956 to 1962, Zinkevičius was Dean of the Faculty of History and Philology of Vilnius University. Together with his colleagues, he established a new classification of Lithuanian language dialects. For his work Lietuvių dialektologija (Lithuanian dialectology) (1966) Zigmas Zinkevičius received a Habilitated Doctor degree, and became a professor two years later. In 1973 Zinkevičius took a new position at Vilnius University as chairman of the Lithuanian language department, and beginning in 1988 served as chairman of the Baltic Philology department.
In 1982 Zinkevičius became a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Letters, History and Antiquities; in 1991, of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, and in 1995, of the Latvian Academy of Sciences and the Lithuanian Catholic Academy of Sciences. He was fluent in a number of languages, including English, German, Russian, Polish, Ukrainian, Belarusian, and French. Zinkevičius is considered as the most cited Lithuanian linguist.
Zinkevičius worked as Minister of Education and Science under Prime Minister Gediminas Vagnorius. He was a member of the Lithuanian Christian Democratic Party and was elected its chairman in 1999. Zinkevičius was a member of the Seimas (Lithuanian Parliament) in 2000–2004. He was also a member of the National Language Committee. He published a book discussing his experience as a Minister of Education Kaip Aš Buvau Ministru (How I was a Minister).
Awards and prizesEdit
Zinkevičius received these awards and prizes:
- Bojtár, Endre (1999). Foreword to the Past: a Cultural History of the Baltic People. Central European University Press. p. 54. ISBN 963-9116-42-4.
- "Zigmas Zinkevičius". A Virtual Exhibition of a Millennium of Lithuanian Cultural Heritage. Institute of Mathematics and Informatics. Retrieved 2008-08-07.
- Švietimo informacijų technologijų centras. Zigmas Zinkevičius. Retrieved on 2008-08-18
- Zigmas Zinkevičius Archived 2008-10-25 at the Wayback Machine. Central Election Committee. Retrieved on 2008-08-18
- Stundžia, Bonifacas (2005). "Akademikui Zigmui Zinkevičiui – 80". Universitas Vilensis (in Lithuanian) (45). Retrieved 2007-09-06.[dead link]