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Editing ideas and practices

Ideas and Practices of Fiction Editing

Doctoral student

The standard language norm is established not only via school and mass media, but also via creators and language editors of prose fiction (Ayres-Bennett, Tieken-Boon van Ostade 2017). Thus, language editors play a significant role in spreading the standard language.

Contemporary language editors are responsible for correcting style and ‘major’ language mistakes (Dautartienė 2013), the latter must be corrected in accordance with The List of Major Language Errors, published and updated by The State Commission of the Lithuanian Language. The compliance with codified language norms became mandatory during Soviet times. However, recently more and more writers and editors have voiced their opinion that the demand to comply with The List of Major Language Errors is superfluous (Leonidovna 2016; Kultūros savaitė 2017).

What language is perceived as ‘good’ (of good style, exemplary, standard) today and how does this perception relate to the one that was established through language editing standards in Soviet time? The object of my research project is the ideas and practices of prose fiction language editing in Lithuania after the restoration of independence, in comparison with such ideas and practices during the Soviet rule. I am going to analyse the ideas and practices of correcting linguistic variants and the understanding of ‘good style’ that derives from them, as well as how editors and writers perceive their roles in the publishing process and the perception of literary fiction as a means to spread ‘good’ language.

Research methods will include interviews with language editors and writers, where they would share their personal experiences. The data collected during these interviews will help to understand, which criteria are important for editors and what is the relationship between a language editor and an author. Furthermore, I am going to analyse language reviews published in the Lithuanian magazine devoted to language ‘Mūsų kalba’ (later ‘Gimtoji kalba’). This analysis will show how the ideal of the good language shifted, what language was criticised and what was praised. In addition, language advice publications, edited manuscripts, language standardisation publications and textbooks for future editors will be analysed. Finally, in order to compare the Lithuanian language editing practices with those of other nations, I am going to carry out interviews with foreign language editors.


Ayres-Bennett, Wendy and Ingrid Tieken-Boon van Ostade. 2017. Prescriptivism in a Comparative Perspective. The Case of France and England. In Ingrid Tieken-Boon van Ostade and Carol Percy (eds.). Prescription and Tradition in Language. Establishing Standards across Time and Space. Bristol, Buffalo, Toronto: Multilingual Matters, 105–120.

Dautartienė, Margarita. 2013. Redakcinis darbas. Vilnius: Bonus Animus.

Jonikaitė, Raminta. 2017. Radio broadcast „Kultūros savaitė“ 25.02.2017,

Leonidovna, Aira. 2016. Lietuvių kalbos redaktoriai – fucking nacionalizmo įkaitai. Šiaurės Atėnai, 13.02.2016,