Estonian Ambassador to Lithuania and Rector of Tartu University visit the Faculty

On 4 September, Jana Vanaveski, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Estonia to the Republic of Lithuania and Toomas Asser, Rector of Tartu University, visited the Faculty of Philology. They met Professor Inesa Šeškauskienė, the Faculty’s Dean, to discuss cooperation opportunities in teaching the Estonian language and visited the renewed Estonian Room (Room 108), the renovation of which was funded by private Estonian companies. 

Immatriculation – a tradition older than Vilnius University

Every September, the raising of the flag of Vilnius University signifies the beginning of a new academic year. After the flag raising ceremony, students and academics participate in the traditional parade of the University’s community, and after the parade Renovatio studiorum festivities take place in the Great Courtyard of the Old Campus of Vilnius University. 

Renovatio studiorum, just like Finis anni academici, the closing of the academic year, the academic togas worn by the Rector, Deans and the Members of the University’s Senate, and the Rector’s sceptre, is an inseparable part of the traditions of many Central European Universities. These attributes are meant to convey to citizens that a university is an independent institution whose community fosters the freedom of thought.

Yet one of Vilnius University’s traditions is older than the University itself. At the beginning of each academic year, the Faculty of Philology of Vilnius University (VU FLF) invites all new students to attend the mysteriously named immatriculation ceremony. During the ceremony at the Church of St Johns, the Faculty’s Dean reads aloud the names of all students newly included in the University’s Register (in Latin, matricula).

This is an official proclamation that a young man or woman became a member of the academic community. The only other occasion when a student’s name is uttered aloud in the Church of St Johns is when the student receives his or her Vilnius University Diploma. The tradition of immatriculation goes as far back as the Vilnius Jesuit College, which was established in 1569. The Church of St Johns—back then, the Church of St John—was, however, transferred to the Jesuits only in 1571. This is when the tradition of celebrating the most important events in the Church or in the square in front of it began.

The Jesuit ceremony to inscribe the names of new students is not unique to Vilnius University. A solemn inclusion of the new members of the academic community into a university’s official register was probably already practiced in the 11thcentury, when the oldest university in Western Europe was established in Bologna. Similar or equivalent traditions are still practiced by most prestigious universities in the United Kingdom, including Oxford, Cambridge, Edinburgh and St Andrews, where each new academic year is celebrated by the inscription of the names of the new members of the academic community into the university’s or college’s register and by welcoming them.

In some universities in the UK, the students themselves have to write their name into the university’s register, or a representative of all new students is elected to do so. In the oldest universities of Scotland, students even have to sign an academic oath (in Latin, sponsio academica), by which they promise to abide by the university’s statute and contribute to the wellbeing of the university’s community.

As the accessibility of higher education and the number of students increases, it has become difficult for universities to maintain such an archaic tradition. Just imagine if the Rector of Vilnius University had to read the names of five thousand first-year students in the Great Courtyard! Most European universities have abandoned immatriculation for very practical reasons. It so happens that the Faculty of Philology is the only faculty of Vilnius University to have preserved this tradition.

The Faculty welcomed a delegation of the Polish Parliament

A delegation from the Polish Parliament visited the Faculty of Philology on May 30th. Rafał Grupiński, the head of the Education, Science, and Youth Committee at the Polish Parliament, Krystyna Szumilas, Mirosława Stachowiak-Różecka, Tomasz Zieliński, Elżbieta Wojciechowska, as well as Urszula Doroszewska, the Ambassador of Poland to Lithuania and Marcin Zieniewicz, the Consul of Poland to Lithuania met the Dean of the Faculty, and the Head of the Center of Polish Studies, and its professors.

The guests acquainted themselves with the Polish Studies and research at Vilnius University and visited the University Library.

Baltic Studies Conference in Pisa Strengthens Cooperation Between Universities

In May, an international Baltic studies conference “PRA17 / IV Incontro di Baltistica” took place at the Philology, Literature, and Linguistic Department of the University of Pisa. Scholars from Lithuania, Germany, the Czech Republic, Switzerland, and the Universities of Bergamo, Florence, Naples, Milan, Trento, and Pisa in Italy participated in the conference.

The conference was also attended by Algirdas Monkevičius, the Minister of Education, Science and Sport of the Republic of Lithuania, Eugenijus Jovaiša, the Chairman of the Education and Science Committee of the Lithuanian Parliament, and Laura Gabrielaitytė-Kazulėnienė, the Cultural Attaché of the Embassy of the Republic of Lithuania to the Italian Republic. 

Members of the Faculty of Philology, including Dean Professor Inesa Šeškauskienė, Professor Bonifacas Stundžia, Professor Vytautas Kardelis, Associate Professor Gintarė Judžentytė-Šinkūnienė, Associate Professor Diego Ardoino, Doctor Gina Kavaliūnaitė-Holvoet, and doctoral student Julija Šabasevičiūtė delivered presentations at the conference.

“We are few, but we are hardworking and cooperative. Your scientific support and friendship are very important to us”, said Pietro Umberto Dini, Professor at Pisa University and the founder and Head of the Department of Baltic Studies. 

Professor Dini, who organised the conference, claimed that this conference is especially significant for strengthening Baltic studies and research in Italy and for ensuring their continuity in Pisa. The Minister of Education, Science, and Sport met with Paolo Mancarella, the Rector of the University of Pisa, to discuss these matters.

The conference is also an important contribution to strengthening the cooperation between the Universities of Pisa and Vilnius. The University of Pisa promotes Baltic studies in Italy and cooperates in strengthening Italian studies at Vilnius University, which is the main centre of Baltic and Lithuanian research and studies in Lithuania.

Currently, Pisa University is the main centre for Baltic studies in Italy. The University offers a Masters course in Baltic Philology and a Bachelors course in Lithuanian Language and Culture. Baltic studies have been taught at the University of Pisa since 1998.

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Vilnius University Disabled Persons Association celebrates its second anniversary

Vilnius University Disabled Persons Association invites the university community to celebrate its second anniversary.

The anniversary celebration will take place on 17 May, 3 p.m., V. Krėvė Room (Room 118), Faculty of Philology. The Lithuanian Greek Community band Patrida and Ugnė Žilytė, a 4th year student of German Philology at the Faculty, will perform at the event.

The main idea behind the Disabled Persons Association's activities is to provide disabled VU community members with a platform for sharing their success stories and challenges, and for having a good time. The Association aims to unite disabled members of the university community.

The Association started in 2017 at the Faculty of Philology as an informal group of 12 members of the faculty community. Later, students from other faculties, including the Faculties of History, Philosophy, and Physics, joined the Association as well. Currently, people with vision, mobility, hearing, and other impairments are active in the Association.

The Association welcomes all members of VU community. Those interested should contact Ugnė Žilytė.

I Hispanic studies forum

This lecture cycle welcomes scholars and academics in the fields of Hispanic linguistics, literature, and culture, as well as translators, students, and all who are interested in the Spanish language and the culture of Spanish-speaking countries. The languages of the conference are Spanish and Lithuanian. Admittance is free.


  • 9.00 - 9.15 Opening event

Bernardo López López-Ríos (Cultural Attaché, the Spanish Embassy in Lithuania), Inesa Šeškauskienė (Dean, the Faculty of Philology) and Marta Plaza Velasco (the coordinator of the forum) will open the forum.

  • 9.15 - 10.00 1st SESSION. Literary criticism: in memoriam Birutė Ciplijauskaitė (V. Krėvės Room (118), Faculty of Philology) 

Akvilė Šimėnienė (ISM University of Management and Economics, Mykolas Riomeris University): “The literary criticism of Birutė Ciplijauskaitė“ (in Spanish)

  • 10.00 - 10.30 Coffee Break
  • 10.30 - 12.30 2nd SESSION. Translation (V. Krėvės Room (118), Faculty of Philology)

Jordana González (Vilnius University, Institute of Foreign Languages): “Julio Cortázar: stories about cronopios and the famous“ (in Spanish)
Jurga Katkuvienė (Vilnius University, Institute for Literary, Cultural and Translation Studies): “Invisible translation: Octavio Paz’s Sunstone” 
Nomeda Lukoševičienė (Vilnius University, Institute for Literary, Cultural and Translation Studies): “Oral and written translation: two sides of the same coin or distant cousins?” (in Spanish)

  • 13.00 - 14.30 1st LECTURE. Culture (V. Krėvės Room (118), Faculty of Philology)

Gustaw Juzala (Vilnius University, Institute for the Languages and Cultures of the Baltic): “The musical folklore of South America” (in Lithuanian)

  • 15.00 - 16.30 2nd LECTURE. Literature (V. Krėvės Room (118), Faculty of Philology)

Gintaras Varnas (Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre) “The theatre of Federico García Lorca: between old Andalusian multiculturalism and surrealism” (in Lithuanian)

  • 17.00 - 18.30 1st DISCUSSION. The poetic connections between Spain and Lithuania: Lithuania in Spanish poetry / Lithuanian poetry in Spanish (Room 92, Faculty of Philology)

Moderator: Marta Plaza Velasco

Participants: Cristóbal Polo (poet), Joaquín Carmona (poet), Carmen Caro (translator), María Sebastiá (translator), and Dovilė Kuzminskaitė (translator).(in Spanish with simultaneous translation to Lithuanian.)


  • 9.00 - 10.30 3rd SESSION. Workshop (V. Krėvės Room (118), Faculty of Philology)

Carlos García Fernández (Vilnius University, Institute for the Languages and Cultures of the Baltic) “Deciphering a text written in an unknown language” (in Spanish)
María José de Urraza and Vigilija Žiūraitė (Vytautas Magnus University): “Recognising and teaching sociocultural aspects in Spanish lectures” (in Spanish)

  • 10.30 - 11.00 Coffee break
  • 11.00 - 12.30 3rd LECTURE. Art (V. Krėvės Room (118), Faculty of Philology)

Regimanta Stankevičienė (Lithuanian Culture Research Institute): “Hispanic influences in the Lithuanian depictions of Jesus of Nazareth”(in Lithuanian)

  • 13.00 - 14.30 4th SESSION. Lexicography and teaching Spanish as a foreign language (V. Krėvės Room (118), Faculty of Philology)

Aleksas Kulvietis (Klaipėda University): “Native language semantics in teaching the Spanish language” (in Spanish)
Ricardo Enguix Barber (MAEC-AECID lecturer, Kaunas University of Technology): “Indirect feedback about errors in written Spanish assignments” (in Spanish)
Alfonso Rascón (Vilnius University, Institute of Foreign Languages): „Bilingual Spanish, Lithuanian and English dictionaries: microstructural aspects” (in Spanish)

  • 15.00 - 16.30 2nd DISCUSSION: ES-LT and LT-ES translation tendencies (V. Krėvės Room (118), Faculty of Philology)

Participants: Jūratė Derukaitė (Klaipėda University), Aistė Kučinskienė (Vilnius University, Institute for Literary, Cultural and Translation Studies), Nomeda Lukoševičienė (Vilnius University, Institute for Literary, Cultural and Translation Studies) and Alexandra Bondarev (translator) (in Spanish)
Moderator: Carmen Caro Dugo 

  • 17.00 - 18.30 3rd DISCUSSION: Teaching Spanish as a foreign language in Lithuania: achievements and challenges (V. Krėvės Room (118), Faculty of Philology)

Moderator: Aistė Kučinskienė

Participants: Jūratė Derukaitė (Klaipėda universitety), Rima Sabaliauskienė (Vytautas Magnus University), Carlos García Fernández (Vilnius University, Institute for the Languages and Cultures of the Baltic), Indrė Pranaitė (Vilnius Waldorf Open School), Ricardo Enguix Barber (MAEC-AECID lecturer, Kaunas University of Technology) and Germán Degollado Brito (Ispanų kalbos namai).


The conference is organised by the Spanish Philology Study Programme Committee (Faculty of Philology, Vilnius University)
Conference coordinator: Marta Plaza Velasco

International conference “Trans(n)azioni: the roads, encounters, and stories of the Italian language, literature and culture”

The conference “Trans(n)azioni: the roads, encounters , and stories of the Italian language, literature and culture” was jointly organised by the Faculty of Applied Linguistics, University of Warsaw, and the Department of Italian Linguistics and Literature, Institute of English, Romance, and Classical Studies, Faculty of Philology. The purpose of the conference was to discuss the local and international role of Italian language, literature, and culture throughout the centuries and today. The conference was held on April 24 to 26 and welcomed scholars from numerous European and other universities, who delivered a rich variety of lectures. Using a comparative approach, a dialogue between Italy and the otherswas explored through stories about travelling, migration, and exile. Moreover, Italy’s attitude to the others and the others’ perception of Italy was discussed through the comparison of linguistic, literary, historical, and political systems. This exploration included discussions about the Italian language as a means of linguistic and cultural mediation in the form of volgarizzamenti, translation, propaganda, as well as conversations about the Italian language as a field of studies and docufiction. The works presented at the conference will be published as conference proceedings. 

Charles Forceville Lectures at Faculty

On 29–30 April, the Faculty of Philology welcomed Charles Forceville, a renowned linguist and visual communication expert, Professorat the Department of Media Studies, University of Amsterdam. Professor Forceville gave two lectures at the Faculty, and will give eight more at the Kaunas Faculty. The primary topic of the lectures is multimodal discourse, i.e. discourse where communication happens through several modes: language, sound, and images. Visuality and multimodality are especially relevant nowadays, when communication through electronic means takes up an ever-increasing part of interpersonal interaction.

In his first lecture, Professor Forceville presented the main ideas of the theories of systemic functional linguistics and relevance and ways to analyse multimodality through these theories. His second lecture focused on Max Black’s interaction theory of metaphor, which was used to analyse visual and multimodal metaphors in printed and outdoor advertising, as well as in some well know films, such as Shrek. These lectures were an excellent introduction to interdisciplinary and very dynamic research in the fields of visual and multimodal discourse. The problems in these fields are still novel and frequently impossible to solve within the limits of a single subject, while the methodologies are still being created.

Professor Charles Forceville is a member of the Department of Media Studies at the University of Amsterdam. His research primarily focuses on multimodality in various genres and media, including documentaries, animated films, advertisements, comics, caricatures, pictograms, and road signs. He has published articles in Metaphor and Symbol, the Journal of Visual Communication, Metaphor and the Social World, the Public Journal of Semiotics and other prominent journals. Among his best known publications are Pictorial Metaphor in Advertising (Routhledge, 1996) and Multimodal Metaphor (co-authored with Eduardo Urios-Aparisi, De Gruyter Mouton, 2009). Currently Professor Forceville is writing a work on a theoretical model of visual and multimodal communication based on the relevance theory (Oxford University Press).


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