Grasilda Blažienė (Institute of Lithuanian Language, Vilnius)
The name of the Prussians was first mentioned in historical sources of the 9th century and became a part of European history. Prussian neighbours (Germans, Poles, Lithuanians) used to mention this name quite often which attests to the fact that they had contacts with the Prussians.
In the 13th century, Prussian territory was attacked by the Teutonic Order. The process of Germanisation started. The 16th-century Reformation witnessed the beginning of interest in the Prussian language. Few catechisms were translated into Prussian. However, in the 18th century the Prussian language died. Very few written monuments and a great number of Prussian proper names which had been recorded in historical documents earlier than monuments of the Prussian language have survived till the present day. In order to restore Prussian vocabulary which served as a basis for Prussian proper names it is necessary to reconstruct authentic forms of Prussian onyms. This kind of reconstruction as well as determination of lexical basis is not always possible. But each new word and each new lexeme for a dead language is of paramount importance.