Daniel Petit

New insights on Lithuanian accentuation from the unpublished manuscripts

of Ferdinand de Saussure (1857–1913)

At his death, the great linguist Ferdinand de Saussure (18571913) left a considerable amount of papers, drafts and documents, some of them dealing with the Lithuanian language. Only in 1996 were they given to the public library of Geneva. The aim of this paper is to present some of the new insights offered by these unpublished documents in the field of Lithuanian accentuation. The majority of the documents pertaining to Lithuanian accentuation were written by Saussure over a time span of almost ten years between 1888 and 1896 in Paris and Geneva; some of them are later notes from a course on the Lithuanian language given by Saussure in 19011902 in Geneva. These manuscripts shed some light on a research field that still remains a relatively neglected part of Saussure’s scientific production. They bring new insights on crucial issues such as the origins of the Lithuanian intonations or the Baltic metatony.

Keywords: Ferdinand de Saussure, Lithuanian, accentuation, intonation, metatony