1# Helpful Guide To Lithuanian Writing

Lithuanian Writing

While learning languages, have you ever found yourself wondering about the Lithuanian writing system and its history? Well, Lithuanian is on the list of the top ten oldest languages spoken on earth. If you’re curious about Lithuanian, you’re in luck, as this post is a match made in heaven just for you!

There are other lessons connected to Lithuanian writing, such as its dark history and deeper connections to other countries, that will make you want to learn Lithuanian further. So, let’s learn more about the Lithuanian writing and alphabet in this post today!

Lithuanian Writing System

The writing system used in the Lithuanian language is the Latin Alphabet. The Lithuanian alphabet is called abėcėlė.

Since it is based on Latin and written from left to right in the Latin script, just like English, it makes Lithuanian easier to learn, except there are a few alphabets omitted, and some letters have strange marks (diacritics) attached to them. Also, the Lithuanian pronunciation is very much different compared to English.

There are 32 letters in the abėcėlė. including 12 vowels and 20 consonants. Some of the Latin letters omitted are Q, W, and X in the Lithuanian alphabet or the abėcėlė. In addition, these letters have a little tail called caudate – Ą, Ę, Į, and Ų. This little mark indicates long vowels like how we pronounce these words in English: eel, far, food, or bare.

Lithuanian Writing Alphabet

Lithuanian Alphabet

AbėcėlėPronunciationEnglishExample in Lithuanian
A aa in carduckantis
Ą ąa in father (long vowel)jugąsotis
B bb in boywhalebanginis
C cts in tsunamilemoncitrina
Č čch in chimneygarlicčesnako
D dd in dogbreadduona
E ee in bedspruceeglė
Ę ęa in man (long vowel)currentdabartinę
Ė ėai in chairlambėriena
F ff in funarmchairfotelis
G gg in gamemushroomgrybas
H hh in hopecoat of armsherbas
I ii in sit,birdhouse/nestinkilą
Į įee in eel (long vowel)toolsįrankiai
Y yalso long like ee in deedgraveryla
J jy in yarnbulljautis
K kk in kitechairkėdė
L ll in lookice creamledai
M mm in mothmoonmėnulis
N nn in nicehousenamas
O oo in moreappleobuolys
P pp in painowlpelėda
R rr is rainkeyRaktas
S ss in singsnailsraigė
Š šsh in shinedogšuo
T tt in tentcaketortas
U uu in putfireugnis
Ų ųoo in moon (long vowel)many ‘ų’daug ų
Ū ūalso long, like oo in schoolmustacheūsai
V vv in vetbellvarpas
Z zz in zoozebrazebras
Ž žs in pleasurestaržvaigždė

Some very important notes about the Lithuanian alphabet:

  1. The letter J will never be pronounced as it is in ‘jam’. For example, Jonah is pronounced as “Yonah”.
  2. The letter ‘C’ will never be pronounced as it is in ‘cake’. It is pronounced as ‘ts’.
  3. Sometimes two consonants make one sound:
  • Ch, ch – ch in German acht, something that sounds like you need to get rid of phlegm at the back of your throat
  • Dz, dz – ds in mends, can also be used at the start of a word
  • Dž, dž – j in jam

While you’re in this part of the blog, you might be wondering how you could try speaking the tones, marks, and accents of the Lithuanian language. Worry no more! The Ling app has a speaking and listening feature where you can practice the words with audio. You can repeat the words or slow them down with just a click of a button. Download the Ling app on the Play Store or App Store and see it for yourself!

The Start Of Lithuanian Writing

Most European languages are members of the Indo-European languages family, but they began to diverge approximately 3500 BCE. They moved into a slew of other languages. Some of these modern Indo-European languages include German, Italian, and English, progressively losing the characteristics that they have in common. However, one specific language from the Indo-European family’s Baltic branch, modern Lithuanian, retained more of the feature of what linguists call Proto-Indo-European, which they believe was spoken circa 3500 BCE.

For some reason, Out of the other Baltic languages, the Lithuanian language has retained more Proto-Indo-European sounds and grammar rules than any of its counterparts and hence can be considered one of the world’s oldest languages.

Struggles In History Of Lithuanian Writing

Struggles In The History Of Lithuanian Writing

The Lithuanian people are very proud of their language. They are even more intense about it, given the dark history the Lithuanian language went through. Before Lithuania achieved independence, there was a period from 1863 to 1904 when the Russian Empire banned any use of the language in education and publishing; the use of the Latin alphabet was also banned completely. Hence, the level of literacy among the Lithuanians was very low at the time. Classical Lithuanian literature was also at risk.

However, the printing of Lithuanian books was continued in East Prussia and the United States. Book smugglers would smuggle Lithuanian books into the country, risking getting caught and prison time. These book smugglers continued until the ban was lifted in 1904, and they were considered heroes by most Lithuanian people.

Lithuanian Writing Lithuanian As An Official Language

Lithuanian As An Official Language

It is not a surprise that the Lithuanian language is the official language of Lithuania. Some of the other languages spoken in Lithuania are Russian, Polish, and English.

A little bit about Lithuanian as a language:

  • Modern Lithuanian language has two main dialects, determined by geography: Highland Lithuanian and Lowland Lithuanian
  • It is the only official language of Lithuania
  • The Lithuanians retain a way to recognize if a person is one of their own- if one can speak Lithuanian.
  • Since it still retains its Proto-Indo-European feature, there are many Sanskrit traces in the standard Lithuanian used now.
  • The first Lithuanian dictionary was printed in the 17th century.
  • The first Lithuanian printed book was The Catechism.
  • There are about 2.9 million Lithuanian speakers, mainly in Lithuania and Poland.

Learn Lithuanian

The world has become more accessible to everyone since we have many works in translation. However, so many things can be lost in translation. For example, puns, jokes, cultural references, and many more are always lost in translation since it is almost impossible to translate those.

Now if you are tired of getting “lost”, you can simply download the Ling app and start your journey as soon as you want to, at your own pace. The Ling app can help you by offering recordings of spoken Lithuanian (and over 60+ foreign languages), grammar lessons, pronunciation, common phrases, and many more. Start now!

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