Lithuanian language

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Lithuanian - lietuvių kalba

Spoken in

LithuaniaLithuania Lithuania , Belarus , Latvia , Poland , Russia
speaker 3.2 million (2.8 million in Lithuania)
Official status
Official language in LithuaniaLithuania Lithuania European Union
European UnionEuropean Union 
Recognized minority /
regional language in
LatviaLatvia Latvia Poland
Language codes
ISO 639 -1

according to

ISO 639 -2


ISO 639-3

lit and Old Lithuanian olt

The Lithuanian language ( Lithuanian ; Lithuanian lietuvių kalba ) is a Baltic language within the family of Indo-European languages . There are nearly 3.2 million speakers of the Lithuanian language. Lithuanian is the official language in Lithuania and has been one of the official languages ​​in the EU since May 1, 2004 . Lithuanian-speaking minorities can be found in the north-west of Belarus and in the north-east of Poland ( Podlaskie Voivodeship ). In addition, larger groups of exiles live in different countries. For Ireland alone, 120,000 Lithuanians are assumed to have immigrated in the ongoing wave of emigration after 1990. Until 1945, Lithuanian was also spoken in the northern part of East Prussia, the so-called Little Lithuania or Prussian-Lithuania. This is where the written Lithuanian language originated in the 16th century.

Old Lithuanian was a historical language period or stage of development of the Lithuanian language .



Written tradition

A Lithuanian manuscript from 1505–1515
The earliest book printed in Lithuanian: The Catechism of Martynas Mažvydas (Martinus Mossuid), printed in Koenigsberg (Prussia) (Lithuanian Karaliaučiaus )

The oldest handwritten gloss, a Our Father , dates back to 1503. The earliest book is the Catechism of Martynas Mažvydas (Martinus Mossuid), printed in Königsberg in 1547 . The first dictionary appears in 1620: Dictionarium trium linguarum by Konstantinas Sirvydas (Constantin Szyrwid) in the languages ​​Polish - Latin - Lithuanian.

The majority of the surviving early Lithuanian works are ecclesiastical texts translated into Lithuanian. As a result, the syntax of the source language often shines through in the translated text and only a limited idea of ​​the syntax of the language spoken at the time can be gained from these texts.

The so-called secondary traditions are of interest . These are individual place or person names in foreign-language documents, such as in the reports of the crusaders or in old Russian chronicles, which are often distorted, but are important for name research because of their old age .

A Lithuanian newspaper in Latin script from 1902, printed in the East Prussian municipality of Neukirch (today Timirjasewo )

As a result of the Polish-Lithuanian uprising of 1863, the printing of Lithuanian books in Latin letters was banned in 1864 in the part of Lithuania that belonged to the tsarist empire - instead, only Cyrillic letters were allowed. This ban was not lifted until 1905. During this addition, nor censorship marked time were often in neighboring Books Prussia printed and by the so-called knygnešiai ge ( 'book carriers') into the country smuggling .

Early history

Expansion of the Lithuanian language including mixed regions in the 16th century

Lithuanian comes from a dialect area of ​​the Indo-European original language , to which Slavic and Germanic are generally still assigned. It is possible that there was a long-term language unit of Ur-Baltic and Ur-Slavic . Of the Baltic languages, next to Lithuanian, only Latvian lives . Both languages ​​are assigned to the East Baltic. The separation of Latvian and Lithuanian from each other is dated to the early Middle Ages (7th / 8th centuries). There are still some written monuments from the related extinct Old Prussian language , which is considered the West Baltic language.

Lithuanian is characterized by many preserved ancient grammatical forms, some of which can also be found in Sanskrit or other ancient Indo-European languages. Because of this, Lithuanian is considered to be the most conservative (in many ways) Indo-European language. The superficial ( typological ) similarities to Sanskrit are mainly due to the fact that both languages, in comparison to modern, but also most of the older Indo-European languages, preserve the basic structure of a presumed Indo-European original language particularly well.

The arrival of the Balts in today's settlement area is dated to the third millennium BC. The investigation of the names of bodies of water has shown that the Baltic settlement area once stretched from the Vistula to Moscow and Kiev - however, one can assume only sparse settlement. Baltic peoples were later assimilated here by the expanding Slavs .

A Lithuanian state was founded in the Middle Ages by Mindaugas . Little is known about the role of Lithuanian in this state. The written language used was an East Slavic language, the so-called Chancellery Slavonic (Ruthenian) , in Kyrillica , but enriched with Lithuanian vocabulary. Later, as a result of the union of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania with the Kingdom of Poland ( Union of Krewo ), Lithuanian was increasingly exposed to Polish influences.

Oral transmission

Oral tradition still plays a major role in the creation and maintenance of dialect diversity. Despite today's small language area, several idioms can be distinguished, which are divided into two major groups: Aukštaitisch (Upper Lithuanian) and Žemaitisch (sometimes also written in Schemeitic, Lower Lithuanian ). The written language is based on the Aukštaitic idiom of the Suvalkija region , especially in the variant spoken in the part of the region belonging to Prussia .

The oral tradition of songs and stories can be assessed as historical - there are now huge collections of song texts, fairy tales and legends , most of which were recorded in the 20th century. Many archaic relics of Lithuanian can be found in this material.

Recent history, standardization

Example of a bilingual inscription (Lithuanian / Russian) from the Soviet era ( Ignalina nuclear power plant )

Kazimieras Būga and Jonas Jablonskis have made particular contributions to the development of a standardized Lithuanian written language . Essentially, this standardization took place during the independence of Lithuania between the world wars (1918–1941). Alongside Lithuanian, Russian was a widely used lingua franca during the Soviet occupation. The settlement of people from other Soviet republics particularly affected industrial regions; it was inevitable in politics and in the military , but in some cases Russian also came to the fore in the media, such as cinema and television, and as the language of publication in science . However, Russian was never the first official language . Street signs and official forms were bilingual. Compared to Latvia and Estonia, the proportion of Russian speakers in Lithuania remained lower.

The parliamentary commission of the Lithuanian language (Lietuvių kalbos komisija) monitors the purity of the Lithuanian language in the Republic of Lithuania, which seeks in particular to combat the penetration of foreign words by forming new terms and controls the pronunciation of television and radio presenters. The proposals and partly legal requirements of this commission are not without controversy and are often the subject of mockery. Typical of the standardized Lithuanian written language is the fact that foreign loanwords and also proper names are transcribed following the Lithuanian pronunciation , so it came to Gerhardas Šrioderis for Gerhard Schröder , Džordžas Bušas for George Bush or Haris Poteris for Harry Potter - in German and many others Languages, this method of transcription only applies to terms whose original languages ​​do not use Latin script. Proper names are written with uppercase letters, but other nouns are not.

In addition, the ending -as , -is or -us is added to masculine nouns , and -a or to feminine nouns, even if they are loanwords, such as šlagbaumas , ananasas , vunderkindas - taksi , ledi , however, are indeclinable . This addition of the ending is of a purely grammatical nature and is indispensable for comprehensibility in the articleless Lithuanian language.

Research history

August Schleicher , who as professor of philology at the University of Prague in 1856/1857 published the first scientific handbook of the Lithuanian language in two volumes, made a special contribution to the study of Lithuanian . In it Schleicher describes the Prussian Lithuanian he learned in East Prussia. August Leskien and Karl Brugmann also researched Lithuanian. The result of a joint expedition was a collection of Lithuanian fairy tales and songs.

Because of the antiquity of Lithuanian, it is an important source in Indo-European studies . In Baltic studies , Lithuanian is researched in a narrower context; it is also of interest in Finno-Ugric studies , as many loan words in the Baltic Finnish languages ​​can be easily interpreted using Baltic and especially Lithuanian material.


The Lithuanian alphabet is based on the Latin alphabet and contains various ticks and points as additional diacritical marks (accentuations), namely the ogonek , the hatschek , the macron and the accented point . The grave accent ` , the acute ´ and the tilde ˜ are also used to identify the tones . The Latin letters q , w and x are only used in specialist texts to ensure proper spelling of foreign-language proper names.

Phonetics and Phonology


Lithuanian consonants
  bilabial labiodental alveolar postalveolar palatal velar
unvoiced voiced stl. sth. stl. sth. stl. sth. stl. sth. stl. sth.
Plosives not palatalized p b     t d         k G
palatalized             G
Affricates not palatalized         ts dz        
palatalized         tʲsʲ dʲzʲ tʲʃʲ dʲʒʲ        
Nasals not palatalized   m       n           ŋ
palatalized                   ŋʲ
Vibrants not palatalized           r            
Fricatives not palatalized     f   s z ʃ ʒ     x ̠ ɣ̠
palatalized       ʃʲ ʒʲ     x ̟ ɣ̟
Approximants not palatalized       ʋ                
palatalized       ʋʲ           j    
Lateral not palatalized           ɫ            

For most consonants, the palatalization is actually phonemic . There is no shortage of almost minimal pairs, e.g. B. anglų / ɑːŋɡɫuː / "English (Gen. Pl.)" Versus anglių / aŋʲɡʲlʲuː / "coals (Gen. Pl.)". However, real minimal pairs are mostly limited to grammatical phenomena, e.g. B. sunkus / sʊŋˈkʊs / "difficult (nom. Sg. M.)" Compared to sunkius / sʊŋʲˈkʲʊs / "difficult (acc. Pl. M.)". An example of a lexical real minimal pair / ⁠ ʒ ⁠ / - / ʒʲ / is Zodo / ʒoːdoː / "he remarked," opposite žiodo / ʒʲoːdoː / "someone he opened his mouth."

Before / ⁠ ı ⁠ / and / i / only palatalized consonants can stand. Not phonemic palatalization is also in / ⁠ f ⁠ / , / ⁠ x ⁠ / and / ⁠ ɣ ⁠ / because these sounds occur only in foreign words. The number of foreign words is simply not enough to provide minimal pairs.

[⁠ ŋ ⁠] is allophone of [⁠ n ⁠] before [⁠ k ⁠] or [⁠ g ⁠] .

Apart from word fugues , either only palatalized or only unpalatalized consonants can appear between two vowels. Only unpalatalized consonants appear at the end of the word, unless the word in question is the short form of a word that has a palatalized consonant at this point. Examples of this are infinitives, in which the final i is often missing in everyday language , e.g. B. / æıtʲ / instead of / ˈæɪtʲɪ / “to go”. There are also some words for which the long forms seem out of date, e.g. B. / dʲeːlʲ / instead of / ˈdʲeːlʲæɪ / "because of" or / gaːlʲ / or / ɡaːlʲˈbuːtʲ / instead of / ˌɡaːlʲɪ ˈbuːtʲɪ / .

At word joints or even at word boundaries, either only voiced or only voiceless consonants can follow one another; only exception / ⁠ m ⁠ / , / ⁠ n ⁠ / , / ⁠ l ⁠ / , / ⁠ r ⁠ / and / ⁠ ʋ ⁠ / , which as the last consonant of a group also can stand after voiceless consonants. Use as an example: / ˈtʲrʲiːs / "three" + / ˈdaːlʲiːs / "parts (nom. Pl.)" = [Tʲrʲiːzˈdaːlʲiːs] .

Although it is not considered wrong, alveolar and postalveolar fricatives or affricatives are usually not articulated one after the other. The place of articulation is determined from the last of these consonants. Examples: / ˈlʲæɪs / (stem of LeistiLassen ”) + / tʲʃʲæʊ / (subjunctive ending) = [ˈlʲæɪʃʲtʲʃʲæʊ] ; / ıʃ / (prefix “ aus- ”) + / sʲuːsʲtʲɪ / “send” = [ɪˈsʲuːsʲtʲɪ] “send”. The last example also shows that gemination does not occur even at word joints.


Lithuanian vowels
  front (not rounded ) back (rounded)
almost closed ɪ ʊ
half closed e: O:
half open ɛ ɔ
almost open æː  
open a aː ɑ , ɑː

Many Lithuanian speakers pronounce the phoneme / oː / as an open o, [ ɔː ]. Short / ⁠ ɔ ⁠ / only occurs in foreign words.

The vowels [⁠ ɑ, a ⁠] and [⁠ ɛ ⁠] are in the position after a consonant allophones of a phoneme / ⁠ ɑ ⁠ / . The volume [⁠ ɛ ⁠] is always speaking, if the preceding consonant is palatalized. Otherwise, it is called [⁠ a ⁠] if the following consonant is palatalized, and [⁠ ɑ ⁠] otherwise. The same rules apply for the long correspondences [ ɑː ], [ Å ] and [ AE ]. According to the [⁠ ɛ ⁠] or [ AE ] are two different graphemes e (ê) or ia. To decide which grapheme to use, see the Lithuanian alphabet # sound-letter mapping .

At the beginning of the word a / aː and ɛ / æː are phonemic, e.g. B. ežeras [æː-] "the lake" vs ąžuolas [ɑ: -] "the oak".

The distinction between long and short vowels is phonemic even in unstressed syllables, e.g. B. iššokti [ɪˈʃoːkʲtʲɪ] “jump out” as opposed to ošokti [iˈʃoːkʲtʲɪ] “jump in”.


The Lithuanian language knows the sound connections [ ɑɪ ], [ ɑʊ ] with the allophones [ æɪ ] and [ æʊ ] as diphthongs ; furthermore [ ], [ ʊɪ ] and [ ]. [ O Inter ] appears as an interjection and in foreign words . The diphthong [ ] only occurs in foreign words.

Connections of a vowel with one of the sonorous consonants m, n, l and r are also regarded as diphthongs in Lithuanian (so-called mixed diphthongs ) if the consonant is not already the initial sound of the next syllable. This is important for the consideration of the tones (see next section), since diphthongs as well as long vowels can carry different tones. Quite a few morphological phenomena can be associated with this classification: If adverbs are formed from adjectives that end in / ʊs / in the nominative singular in the masculine form , the ending / ʲæɪ / is stressed if the stem syllable is short, and otherwise not (with four exceptions). Since the adverb to sunkus [ sʊŋkʊs ] "heavy" sunkiai [ sʊŋʲːkʲæɪ ] is must / ʊŋ / are considered long, though / ⁠ ʊ ⁠ / is short. In the conjugation of verbs, there is further evidence for this classification.

In compounds there are even connections of two vowels and a consonant, which are regarded as a syllable carrier (quasi as triphthongs ), e.g. B. in duonkepys [duʌŋʲkʲɛˈpʲiːs] "baker".


The International Phonetic Association has not yet issued a standard for transcribing Lithuanian sounds. This section attempts to transfer the results of Grzegorz Dogil's investigation into the International Phonetic Alphabet .

Lithuanian is to some extent a tonal language ; H. different emphasis can be meaningful.

The language knows three different tones: the short tone (kairinis kirtis), the impact tone (tvirtapradė, krintančioji or staiginė priegaidė) and the grinding tone (tvirtagalė, kylančioji or tęstinė priegaidė). In practice, however, minimal pairs can rarely be identified . Frequently cited examples of near-minimal pairs are adjectives against their substantiated forms, e.g. B. juõdas [ ˈju̯ʌːdɑs ] “black” versus júodis [ ˈjuʌ̯dʲɪs ] “black” or skỹstas [ ˈsˈkʲiːstas ] “liquid” versus skýstis [ 'sʲkʲii̯sʲtʲɪs ] “liquid”. True minimal pairs can be found in some verbs such as B. [ ˈmʲɪnʲtʲɪ ] “step” opposite miñti [ mʲɪ̈nʲːtʲɪ ] “remember”. Such verbs differ in inflected forms in other ways (the 3rd person present tense in the above examples is for all numbers [ ˈmʲɪnɑ ] or mẽna [ ˈmʲæːnɑ ]) or completely abandon the distinction (3rd person future tense for both examples miñs [ mʲɪ̈nːs ]). A large number of true minimal pairs can also be found in sensory words that express different intensities, e.g. B. ái [ ɑɪ̯ ] versus [ ɑ̯ɪː ] (both “au”, the first for a brief pain, the second for a persistent pain); however, the length of the syllable plays the most important role.

The implementation of the short tone poses no problems for German native speakers. Bump tone and grinding tone occur only with long vowels and diphthongs. The difference is usually described in such a way that an abrupt vowel is emphasized immediately, while the emphasis in the case of the grinding tone is stronger at the end of the sound in question than at the beginning. Comparative linguists around Grzegorz Dogil (see literature ) have found, however, that for the distinction between the two tones in diphthongs, how the vowels involved are pronounced is more important. Accordingly, the first vowel is very clearly articulated and emphasized in the impact sound, the following vowel is unstressed. With the grinding tone, both vowels are more closely aligned with each other (thus only indistinctly articulated) and emphasized evenly.


Lithuanian is a highly inflected language and is similar to Latin , ancient Greek or Sanskrit , especially in its fixation on the endings to indicate the case and in the unlimited prefixing of defining adjectives and nouns before the actual noun and their interlacing.

Lithuanian has no articles . Used genera are male or female, of adjectives and neuter forms are formed. As neuter ( niekatroji or bendroji gimine ) nouns are sometimes referred to, which can be used male or female. There are the numbers singular and plural , historically and in individual dialects as well as in literature the dual can also be found.

Lithuanian verbs occur mainly in four tenses (present, future, unique and repeated past: eina “he goes”, eis “he will go”, ėjo “he went (once)”, eidavo “he went (regularly)”). Compound tenses are also used, e.g. B. to express prematurity. In addition to the indicative and imperative, there is the subjunctive , the latter only in the present. For the past, compound tenses must be used. Verbs are inflected according to person, time and number as in German, whereby the form for the 3rd person is the same in all numbers. Gender only plays a role in conjugation in compound tenses.

The high number of different participles is striking . For each tense there is an active and passive participle as well as a gerund ; only for the repeated past there is no passive participle. There is also a gerundive and an adverbial participle .


In the declension, a distinction is made between nominative , genitive , dative , accusative , instrumental , locative (secondary as inessive ) and vocative . In addition, historically and in some dialects there are three further secondary local cases : Illative (e.g. miškan "in the forest (into))", adessive (e.g. miškiep "at the forest"), allative (e.g. miškop "towards the forest"). The ablaut is widespread in Lithuanian, especially in word formation, e.g. E.g. when specifying transitivity : lūžti "break (intransitive)" - laužti "break (transitive)". The ablaut can also occur in the formation of different tenses, e.g. B. Lyja “it's raining” - lis “it's going to rain”. There is no ablaut in the declination.


In most cases, the nominative ending allows you to determine whether the nouns are feminine or masculine: -as and -us are always masculine, -a and -ė are usually feminine, -ys and -uo are usually masculine, -is is ambiguous. Some words in -a , -ė, or -uo do not match this rule, as biological gender takes precedence. So dėdė “uncle” is male, although it ends in . The ending -ys is a plural tantum if the ending is unstressed, e.g. B. at durys "door". The gender cannot then be determined from the ending.


Possible male endings of adjectives are -as , -ias , -us and -is ; possible feminine endings are -a , -ia , -i and . The neuter forms do not have the -s at the end of the masculine form. In increasing is for the comparative always -esnis  (m.), -Esnė  , (f.) Iau  (n.) And for the superlative -iausias  (m.), -Iausia  (f./n.) Was used.

Most adjectives also have a pronominalized long form. It is formed by adding the personal pronoun jis / ji to the short form with later verbal abbreviations.


Adjectives can be easily converted into adverbs . The masculine adjective endings are replaced by the following endings:

  • from -as is -ai
  • from -us is -iai

When increasing the adverbs, the ending -iau for the comparative and the ending -iausiai for the superlative are added to the adjective stem .


Cardinal numbers

The cardinal numbers are sometimes treated like adjectives, e.g. B. vienas , partly as nouns, e.g. B. tūkstantis .

Ordinal numbers

The ordinals are treated like adjectives. They are pirmas '1.', antras '2.', trečias '3.', ketvirtas '4.'. Others are created according to the pattern Stamm + tas . This sometimes leads to phonetic deviations: aštuoni '8' - aštuntas '8.'. Only the last number is formed as an ordinal šimtas dvidešimt aštuntas '128.'.


The inflection of the verb is done using three different stems . These are stems of the present , the past and the infinitive . In some cases these strains are not that different, e.g. B. kala, kalė, Kalti “to beat, forge”, in others there are clear, historically evolved differences without any regular explanation, e.g. B. renka, rinko, rinkti “collect, choose” or mato, matė, matyti “see”.

In addition, further diffraction classes are distinguished in some tenses, which are based on the stem end - the so-called theme vowel . Remnants of an archaic athematic conjugation are rarely used. You can recognize the stem by the ending of the 3rd person singular. On the basis of these endings in the 3rd person singular, a distinction is made between three diffraction classes in the present and two in the past. In the present, verbs in the first grade end with -a or -ia , the second grade with -i , and the third grade with -o . In the past, the ending of the first diffraction class was -o , that of the second class . In the infinitive, verbs always end with -ti . If the verb is reflexive, the affix -si- is inserted between the prefix and stem or, in the case of verbs without a prefix, added to the ending. This sometimes results in phonetic changes in the ending, e.g. B. keliu “I lift”, keliuosi “I get up”, or the reflexive ending is shortened to -s , e.g. B. in the infinitive: kelti "lift", keltis "stand up".


As a synthetic language, Lithuanian has a certain freedom in the sequence of parts of the sentence. Both the sequence subject-predicate and vice versa are possible: vaikas eina - eina vaikas 'the child goes'. The same applies to the direct object kala vinį - vinį kala '(he) hits a nail'. It is not necessary to use the personal pronoun. In the third person in particular, it must then be deduced from the context whether there are several or one person, whether they are male or female. The adjective regularly comes before the noun and matches the attributed noun in terms of gender, number and case.


The Academic Dictionary of the Lithuanian Language in Twenty Volumes (1941–2002)

The vocabulary of the Lithuanian language was collected from 1941 to 2002 in the 20-volume academic dictionary. A considerable part of the lexicon is inherited and has phonetic equivalents in Latvian, Slavic and other Indo-European languages. Of course, the directly comparable words are far less numerous than the words that are later formed from them. There are also borrowings, especially from the Slavic languages ​​- for example a large part of the Christian terminology such as bažnyčia 'church' but also from Germanic languages, e.g. B. kunigas 'priest'. Since Lithuanian was a language of the villages from the 16th to the beginning of the 20th century - Polish was spoken in the cities and the aristocracy - many terms were missing that could a. by language standardizers like Jonas Jablonskis . Today a parliamentary commission watches over the “purity” of the Lithuanian language. Often new words are created so as not to take over Anglicisms. A popular example is the word žiniasklaida for 'media' (literally: news spreader ), which has established itself in everyday use. In contrast, the computer is simply called kompiuteris .


The surname can be used to determine the gender of the person and, in the case of women, the marital status. The family name Kazlauskas (the man) includes Kazlauskienė (his wife) and Kazlauskaitė (their daughter). Recently there has also been the option of keeping the maiden name in the event of marriage, for double names or a choice of name that is not relevant to the family status, which, however, are not very popular.

Since part of the Lithuanian-speaking area belonged to Prussia (see Prussian-Lithuania), many surnames of Lithuanian origin can also be found in Germany today. Often these names have lost their Lithuanian endings. Among the most famous is likely Wowereit from lit. Voveraitis to lit. vovere 'squirrels' belong. Others are e.g. B. Kurbjuweit 'Schusters Sohn', Adomeit 'Adam's Son' or Willumeit 'Wilhelm's Son'.


Dialects of the Lithuanian language

The foundations of today's Lithuanian (the standard language) come from Aukschtaitisch and Prussian-Lithuanian. The pronunciation of the standard language is closest to the South Upper Lithuanian of the Suvalkija region . The pronunciation of all other dialects deviate more or less from this.

Lower Lithuanian dialects

A large group of dialects is Žemaiti in the west ( Žemaitija , Lower Lithuania). These dialects are quite different from Aukštaitic (Upper Lithuanian) and are usually difficult to understand for Upper Lithuanians. The northern dialects in particular are more similar to the neighboring Latvian . The diphthongs ai , ei are often used as a: , e: pronounced, the sounds a, e, i, u in many cases are nasally. The word accent is brought forward to the beginning of the word. There is no iterative past tense on -davo , but a periphrastic construction, e.g. B. liuoba skaityti 'he used to read'. There are also big differences in the lexicon.

Upper Lithuanian

A distinctive feature of the north-eastern dialects (in the Aukštaitija region ) is the implementation of un instead of an and in instead of en in Upper Lithuanian .


In Dzūkish , the replacement of d , t by dz , c in certain positions is noticeable, e.g. B. dzievas instead of dievas 'God'.

Lithuanian dialects in Belarus

In northwestern Belarus there are some smaller Lithuanian language islands ( Zietela , Gervėčiai , Lazūnai ), whose dialect is particularly archaic. The local dialects, for example, preserved all four local cases and partly also the dual . On the other hand, they were influenced to a large extent by the local Slavic idiom. Both the Lithuanian and the Slavic dialects of northwest Belarus are based on a Jatwingian substrate . The Zietela dialect, the southernmost of all, differs noticeably from the others in Belarus (e.g. no dz sound change) and has many West Baltic features (e.g. often z instead of ž ).

The verb forms yra (present tense of to be ) and bit (perfect of to be ) are used for all persons of all numbers, e.g. B. jis yra čia 'he is there', mes bit ten 'we were there' (in written language only for the third person, cf. aš esu čia; mes buvome ten ).

Most of the linguistic islands in Belarus are shrinking, often only elderly people speak Lithuanian, the younger ones assimilate to Belarusian or Russian.


  • Vytautas Ambrazas (Red.): Lithuanian Grammar. Baltos lankos, Vilnius 1997.
  • Gertrud Bense: German-Lithuanian cultural relations: Colloquium in honor of August Schleicher at the Friedrich Schiller University Jena . Jena / Erlangen 1994. ISBN 3-925978-38-0 .
  • Grzegorz Dogil: The Acoustic Correlates of Word Stress in Lithuanian. In: van der Hulst, Harry (Ed.): Word Prosodic Systems in the Languages ​​of Europe. de Gruyter, Berlin 1999.
  • Rainer Eckert: Lithuanian . In: Lexicon of the Languages ​​of the European East. (Comprehensive lexicon article on the Lithuanian language - here as a pdf document: [1] ; PDF; 387 kB)
  • Katrin Jähnert: Lithuanian - word for word . Bielefeld 2003. ISBN 3-89416-244-9 .
  • Juozas Algirdas Križinauskas: Vokiečių-lietuvių lietuvių-vokiečių kalbų žodynas. German-Lithuanian Lithuanian-German dictionary. Vilnius 2003. ISBN 9986-546-94-X .
  • Asta Adelė Rėbždaitė (editor): Lietuvių kalbos žinynas. Šviesa, Kaunas 2003. ISBN 5-430-03745-1
  • Edmund Remys: Review of Modern Lithuanian Grammar . Lithuanian Research and Studies Center, Chicago, 2nd revised edition, 2003.
  • August Schleicher: Handbook of the Lithuanian Language. 2 vols. Prague 1856–57.
  • Alfred Senn: Handbook of the Lithuanian Language. Volume 1: Grammar. Heidelberg 1966.
  • Zigmas Zinkevičius: History of the Lithuanian Language. Mokslo ir enciklopedijų Leidykla, Vilnius 1996.
  • Saulius Žukas: The first Lithuanian book in the cultural context of its creation. Baltos lankos, Vilnius 1997.
  • Edmund Remys: General distinguishing features of various Indo-European languages ​​and their relationship to Lithuanian . Berlin, New York: Indo-European Research, Vol. 112, 2007.

Web links

Wikibooks: Lithuanian  - learning and teaching materials
Wiktionary: Lithuanian  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Lithuanian dictionaries / language courses



  1. These similarities do not mean, however, that Lithuanian is more closely related to the Indian branch than to Latvian. Rather, a comparison of Baltic (or Balto-Slavic) as a whole and Indo-Iranian as a whole (better: the two basic languages ​​to be reconstructed Urbaltisch - or Urbaltoslav - and Urindo-Iranian, from which the respective subfamilies have developed) would be useful, in comparison to other branches of the Indo-European language family. (A similar case is the comparison between Icelandic and German : Both languages ​​have preserved the grammatical, especially the morphological structure of the ancient Germanic language particularly well, but compared to languages ​​such as Danish or English they are not particularly closely related within the Germanic languages , The similarity between Italian and Spanish is also an expression of the fact that they retain the structure of the common precursor Latin better than French , for example , but Italian and Spanish are not particularly closely related within the Romance language family .)

Individual evidence

  1. The countries of Europe, figures and facts on social security
  2. Minority languages ​​in education in Poland ( Memento from December 8, 2015 in the Internet Archive ), mercator (English); Retrieved December 4, 2015
  3. ^ A language of Lithuania , on
  4. 639 Identifier Documentation: olt , on
  5. Airijoje lietuvių per metus padaugėjo 20 tūkst. (470) , on
  6. ^ Accentuation of Lithuanian among Lithuanian - German children growing up in Germany , on, accessed on 24. May 2019