The Lithuanian Hearth (Lituanistikos židinys) – the museum of the Lithuanian language – is the centre of the Lithuanian language for the community, young people and the society at large. The museum was founded in 2006 and it is the only centre of this type in Lithuania. The main aims of the museum are to:
- disseminate the latest news in Lithuanian linguistic;
- raise the society’s awareness of language as a key factor for promoting national identity and citizenship;
- promote ideas about language as the main factor of creativity;
- promote multilingualism and multiculturalism.
The museum of the Lithuanian language carries an exciting display of interactive language toys. These are unique exhibits that invite visitors to ‘touch the language’. Language toys encourage visitors to become language archaeologist and excavate the old Lithuanian and similar words from old and modern languages. One of the toys called Words as Shadows presents archaic words which can be found in old writings. In order to show dialectal differences in the names of different items, we suggest to read texts on wooden cubes and dialectal words on the map of Lithuanian dialects – this is the Puzzle of Dialects. There is also a house of the origin of words. As you play, you can find out where different words came from.
The museum provides access to language computer games, books, other interactive tools and an interactive database of Lithuanian dialects. A dialectal karaoke is also available here. It is a fast and enjoyable way to find out that Lithuanians have numerous dialects and subdialects. Also it is an opportunity to pronounce some dialect-specific sounds. Moreover, after having answered a couple of questions, you can try singing in one of the dialects.
The Museum provides access to:
- Documents from the archives, some interesting items from everyday life of linguists, other unique materials;
- Electronic file directory offering valuable information in various fields in linguistics: language history, dialectology, lexicography, research into language contacts, history of writing, terminology, contemporary usage, history of linguistics, sign language etc.;
- Computer games, dialect karaoke, informational touch screens;
- Language toys: unique exhibits, which can help ‘touch the language’.