Zigmas Zinkevičius (January 4, 1925 in Juodausiai, Ukmergė district) is a leading Lithuanian linguist-historian, professor at Vilnius University, and a true member of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences. He has contributed to studies in the history of languages, onomastics and other areas. Zinkevičius is 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 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 has been serving since 1988 as chairman of the Baltic Philology department.
Zigmas Zinkevičius has, since 1982, been a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Letters, History and Antiquities; since 1991, of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, and since 1995, a member of the Latvian Academy of Sciences and the Lithuanian Catholic Academy of Sciences. He is 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 is 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 is also a member of the National Language Committee. He has published a book discussing this experience as a Minister of Education Kaip Aš Buvau Ministru (How I was a Minister).
Awards and prizes
Zinkevičius has received these awards and prizes:
- National Advancement Prize (Lithuanian: Nacionalinė pažangos premija), 2007
- The Commander's Cross of the Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas, 1995
- Kazimieras Būga prize awarded by the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences, 1995
- Herder Prize, 1994
- 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. Retried on 2008-08-18
- Zigmas Zinkevičius. Central Election Committee. Retrieved on 2008-08-18
- (Lithuanian) Stundžia, Bonifacas (2005). "Akademikui Zigmui Zinkevičiui – 80". Universitas Vilensis (45). Retrieved 2007-09-06.[dead link]