Zigmas Zinkevičius was born on January 4, 1925 in Juodausiai, Ukmergė district and died on February 20, 2018 in Vilnius.
He was a leading Lithuanian linguist-historian, professor at Vilnius University, and a full member of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences.
Zinkevičius has contributed to studies in the history of languages, onomastics and other areas.
He was a recipient of the Herder Prize, which was presented to him in 1994.
Zinkevičius was the author of 30 academic books and several hundred scientific publications in various languages.
Following graduating from the gymnasium at Ukmergė in 1945, he enrolled in Vilnius University.
Zinkevičius studied linguistics until 1950.
During 1955, he defended his thesis Lietuvių kalbos įvardžiuotinių būdvardžių istorijos bruožai (Historical traits of adjective pronouns in Lithuanian language) and received Doctoral degree.
He was Dean of the Faculty of History and Philology of Vilnius University, from 1956 to 1962.
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.
During 1973, he 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.
He 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.
Zigmas Zinkevičius was fluent in a number of languages, including English, German, Russian, Polish, Ukrainian, Belarusian, and French.
He was considered as the most cited Lithuanian linguist.
He died at 93 years old.