- Numbers and Quantities
- Infinitive (INF)
- Present Tense (PRS)
- Future Tense (FUT)
- Past Tense
- Verbal Prefixes
- Reflexive Verbs
- Sentence Structures
Most nouns decline, though some do not. Those that don't either end in a non-standard vowel (such as -u) or end in a non-standard consonant (such as -t). Words that don't decline don't change their form regardless of how they are used in a sentence. Some examples include
- This is the default case and marks the subject of the sentence. When learning Lithuanian, it's important to learn the gender of the noun, as the case endings for NOM are not gender specific (cf. -is).
- Used for possession and is seen in compound nouns. Some verbs will mark the object in GEN, rather than ACC. In positive sentences, it indicates "some of" (the partitive) something, rather than all of it. Some things, such as languages, are almost always in the GEN since one can only ever do something to some amount of the object (e.g. one can only learn some of a language). When used for posession, the possessor is in GEN, the possessed in NOM. For example, Jonas' book (
knyga:book) becomes Jono knyga. In casual speech, some words that are not normally declined, such as
rytoj:tomorrow, may find themselves with GEN endings. For example,
Perskaitykit šią knygą iki rytojaus ⧸ Read this book for tomorrow. Wishes are always expressed in GEN ( Gero vakaro ⧸ Good night).
- Often translated as "for". It may also mark the indirect object of a sentence. Colloquially, 2SG/2PL pronouns are dropped for DAT verbs.
- Often marks the object of the sentence.
- Indicates with what the action is done. May be translated as "with", "by" (for transportation), or "along" (when discussing actions across surfaces, such as "along the road"). Some verbs also mark the object with INS, such as
tikėti:to believe in.
- Marks the location an action takes place. When a living being is marked with LOC, it means "inside of". In casual speech/writing, the final -e is dropped/not written.
- Used when calling out to a person, or poetically, to objects. It is always surrounded by commas (barring a left or right comma when at the beginning or end of a sentence).
|case||-as||-is (m.)||-ys||-us||-a||-ė||-uo||-is (f.)|
duktė:daughter, ex. dukters
akmuõ:rock, ex. akmens. Less commonly, will the word add er, such as
sesuõ:sister, ex. seser̃s.
There are a few patterns worth calling out, especially when getting started trying to memorize the declensions:
- ACC.SG is always a nosinė vowel (ą, į, etc.).
- With the exception of the common masculine endings, -as/-is/-ys, the GEN.SG ends in -s.
- DAT.SG always ends in -i, most often -ui.
- LOC.SG ends in -je except for -as endings.
- GEN.PL always ends in -ų.
- DAT.PL always ends in -ms – constrast this with INS.PL which always ends in -(m)is. I remember the difference by remembering that INS has I and S in it.
- ACC.PL always ends in -s.
- LOC.PL always ends in -se.
- The VOC.PL is the same as NOM.PL.
- -as/-is (m.)/-ys are mostly the same, but with an i in -is and -ys to represent the palatalization of the stem (the "i-ness"). This retained "i" is not seen in ACC.SG because ii and iy are not valid dipthongs.
- -a and -ė are very similar: where -a has "o", -ė has "ė" and where -a has "a", -ė has "e".
- savo is used when the possessive pronoun is the same as the subject
- Pirmandienį, aš einu aplankau savo tevą - On Monday, I'm going to see my father
These declensions are almost exactly the same as for adjectives.
Common Nouns Types
When two nouns are placed together to form another noun, the first noun in the pair is in GEN and the second noun in the pair takes the appropriate case marking for its position in the sentence (ACC, INS, etc.).
Let's look at the word peanut butter to illustrate this. A single peanut is literally an "earth nut", which means the word is:
earth:žemė + GEN +
peanut:žemės rieǔstas. Peanut butter then is
peanut + PL + GEN +
butter:sviestas. This gives us then
žemės riešutų sviestas:peanut butter. Note the PL – food stuffs are normally in the plural, since we're not making peanut butter from a single peanut.
One may find the order reversed (but the meaning the same), when the 2nd noun is a quantity, such as in
When compound nouns are paired with adjectives, the adjective comes before the paired nouns.
Dimunitives are an important part of the Lithuanian language. They can:
- Add a sense of closeness to the subject or object
- Give an emotional resonance to the sentence
- Used ironically or sarcastically (such as asking
Kaip tavo atostogėlės?:How was your lil' trip?, after a two month long holiday)
- Derive new terms (now often fossilized forms, for example,
žibintas:lamp+ ėlis =
To form the dimunitive form, one replaces the noun's ending with the dimunitive ending (those listed below are common ones, but it is not an exhaustive list). In many cases, it is the speaker's preference as to which diminutive form is used, though one may also be told that one form or the other sounds better. In this, as in many other cases, practice makes perfect.
- -as/-is (m.) – (i)ukas, elis, ėlis
- -is (f.) – aitė (also indicates an unmarried woman), aitis
- -a/-ė – elė, ytė, (i)utė
- -aitė – ė (indicates a woman's married status is unknown)
Note that in some cases, the adjectives describing a hypercoristic will also take the diminutive endings (mažiukas puodukas, a little cup).
- Namai namučiai
Home sweet home
Note that "home" (namučiai) has a different dimunitive that "house" (nameliai)
- = one who does (zh: 者)
- = one who does (zh: 者), derived from 3rd person present
- valgyti - valgytojas
- mokyti - mokytojas
- = one who does (zh: 者), derived from 3rd person past
- duoti - davo - davėjas
Plural nouns are nouns that only have a plural form. They are often:
- festivals (ex. funerals, Midsummer, weddings, etc.)
- sports events
- clothing in two parts
- some foods
In "proper" speech, plural numbers are used with plural nouns, but in casual speech, they may not always be used. When plural numbers are used, they are declined as adjectives.
- Per dvejus metus mes žaidžiame devynerias rungtynes.
In two years we play nine matches.
both years and matches are plural nouns, with plural numbers
Other Word Formation Techniques
- -ish, for colors. E.g.
pilkšva:greyish. It does not appear that
Numbers and Quantities
Numbers can be confusing in Lithuanian. Not all numbers are declined the same way and may take different forms depending on the word that follows.
One rule that may be helpful (but may be more confusing) is that generally numbers 1-9 will tend towards declining to follow the preposition, whereas teens and tens will tend towards declining as required by the verb. Either way, as a learner, it is important to just speak and listen and get exposed to more forms of native speakers declining numbers.
- 1: declined like an adjective. Considered singular for grammatical purposes, except when followed by a plural noun (i.e. a noun that is only ever plural).
- 2: special forms
- 3-9: declined like an adjective
- tens (10, 20, ...): do not decline. Colloquially,
devyniasdešimt:90is devyndešimt (not sure about other tens forms).
- teens (11-19): declined like a noun, except ACC is the same as NOM. Note that these numbers are considered as singular for grammar purposes.
- 100: declined like a noun
- 1000: declined like a noun
- all other numbers: each part of the number is declined separately. For example, in
Mes gavome du tūkstančius šimtą trisdešimt keturis eurus. ⧸ We got 2134 euros., we can see that
tūkstantis:1000is in plural (because there are two of them) as well as ACC because it is the object of the verb. Similarly,
keturi:4are in ACC, as well.
Trisdešimt:30does not decline, so it is the same as the NOM form.
- Numbers above 10 are formed by adding the feminine ACC form of the tens place to the number ten (dẽšimt).
- dvidešimt, trisdešimt
- Quantities are expressed by the quantity word + NOUN.GEN
- indẽlis grietı̇̀nės, gabaĺiukas pı̇̀cos
Colloquially, the DAT form of
dešimt:ten is dešimčiai. All other cases stay undeclined. For example, note the use of dešimčiai here representing "for X":
One may also hear shortened versions of the 10s in colloquial speech: (from 20 upwards) dvim, trim, kem, pem, šem, septym, aštuon, devyn.
Numbers one, two, and three have non-standard declensions. Numbers four through nine, as well as the teens, have their own standard declensions.
All cases are the same for M and F except for LOC.
|LOC||trijuose (M) / trijose (F)|
Plural numbers are used with plural nouns (see above). They are declined like first declension adjectives.
These forms only exist for numbers one to nine. In NOM (M/F) they are:
One often hears these in formal contexts, such as on the radio.
Ordinal numbers are declined like first declension adjectives. In compound ordinal numbers (ex. 145th), only the last number is declined (ex. in GEN, šimtas keturiasdešimt penkto). Similarly, in compound numbers, only the last number is in the ordinal form (ex.
The forms for one to nine in NOM.M are below:
For other numbers, -(t)as is suffixed (e.g.
Collective numbers can be thought of as "# of them" – such as in the concept of a "six pack", e.g. 6 of (beers). These numbers are most often used when discussing scores in school,
This form only exists for numbers one to nine. They are given in NOM below:
Quantity Adverbs (-ese)
Quantity adverbs represent the number of people or things doing an action, such as "the two of us". To differentiate from the English translation of collective numbers above, perhaps it is better to think of it as "as two" or "as three". For example,
These adverbs are formed by adding -ese to the ending of the cardinal number, except three, from two to nine: dviese, trise, keturiese, penkiese, šešiese, septyniese, aštuoniese, devyniese.
The third person form of the verb determines which conjugation is used. Ex., if the verb ends in an a it is the 1st conjugation.
Transitive verbs are usually followed by the ACC. However, if the verb is negative, it is followed by the GEN. Impersonal verbs do not change object case in the negative (e.g. patinka)
ex. rašyti laišką vs. nerašyti laiško365, pg19
The last verb before noun determines case, such as in Aš noriu skaityti ACC, rather than GEN, which norėti requires.
If there is a dipthong (pure or mixed) in a multi-syllabic root, add an i to the stem. If a pure dipthong, must be followed by a consonant other than ti. Thus, baigti → baigia and laukti → laukia, but not for griauti, since the dipthong is not followed by something other than ti.
Some verbs of quantity can either take ACC or GEN objects. When it the object is in GEN then the verb is an uncertain amount. For example,
Verbs with -io- or -inė often involve or give the sense of process, repetition (-io- form), or enjoyment (-inė- form), especially when involving movement. Compare
bėgti:to run and
bėgioti:to run around. A verb will usually have one preferred form over the other.
When a verb takes DAT as the subject case (such as
man patinka:I like), if the subject is dropped, it indicates "in general". That is patinka xyz would mean "People, in genearl, like xyz".
The infinitive is the standard dictionary form and ends in -ti. It is used much the same way as the English INF. In casual speech, the final -i in the INF form is dropped.
Present Tense (PRS)
There are three types of classes for verbs in the present tense. Which class a verb belongs to is dictated by the final vowel in the 3rd person. It is either A, I, or O, which can be remembered with the word alio.
Knowing the 3rd person conjugation gives you the stem, just remove the final vowel.
Ex. gyveña → stem:gyven, vowel:a
Colloquially, you may find the final e dropped in 1PL and 2PL, e.g.
In general, the accentuation of all forms follows the accentuation of the 3rd person. However, when the 3rd person either has:
- an accented penultimate syllable (exclusing REFL-suffix), which has a short vowel
- a raising tone
1SG and 2SG will both have an accented final syllable.
Future Tense (FUT)
[stem] + s + ending
ex. li+s = (it) will rain, valgysiu = (I) will eat
Verbs with ū or y in the stem will have a short vowel in PST/FUT (cf. lyti → lis, būti → bus).
Depending on the ending of the stem, some combinations of s, z, š, or ž merge together
- s + s = s
- z + s = s
- š + s = š
- ž + s = š
The accentuation pattern follows the accentuation of INF except for the 3rd person:
When the 3rd person's FUT form's last (or only) syllable – ignoring the reflexive suffixe – is stressed with a falling tone (´), it is replaced with a rising tone (˜). For example, kalbė́ti → kalbė̃s.
There are two past tenses in Lithuanian, the past simple (PST) and the past frequentative (PSTFREQ). The past frequentative is only used when it is an action that: 1) took place a long time ago, 2) was done throughout the whole time, 3) and was sometimes interrupted throughout that period.
Past Simple (PST)
There are 5 main endings in the past tense, based on the infinitive:
- -auti/uoti – -avo
- -oti – -ojo
- -ėti – -ėjo
- -yti – -ė
- default -ė
This means that a verb like kalbėti will be kalbėjo in the 3rd person.
Verbs ending in o in 3rd person past
Verbs ending in ė in 3rd person past
Note that if the verb stem ends in t or d, in 1SG, it will be -čiau or džiau due to the palatalization (such as
In general, the accentuation of all forms follows the accentuation of the 3rd person. However, when the 3rd person either has:
- an accented penultimate syllable (exclusing REFL-suffix), which has a short vowel
- a raising tone
1SG and 2SG will both have an accented final syllable.
Past Frequentative (PSTFREQ)
Remove -ti from INF and add -dav and the appropriate suffix.
Same as INF.
Verbal prefixes can have two different impacts on an unprefixed verb. First of all, there is often one prefix that is the neutral perfective marker (see below for examples). The other is to slightly change the meaning, for which the list of prefixes below give the most common meaning for the prefix. Some dictionaries, especially those aimed at learners or foreigners, may list the perfective prefix for the verb, often under the unprefixed entry or as an IMP form. If a verbal prefix is used on one verb in a sentence, most often, a prefix should be used on other verbs in the sentence. It is important to study prefixed forms of the verb, especially as many common verbal roots (duoti, imti, etc.) change meaning with the prefix.
Compare for example, Ryte aš atsikeliu and Šiuo metu aš keliuosi: the first, with a prefix means "In the morning, I wake up" - the action of waking up has a clear start and end in the context of the sentence. The second, without a prefix, is "Right now, I'm waking up" – the action of waking up has started, but has no clear ending in the context of the sentence.
As a result, the subsequent verbs in sequential strings of verbs often have a preverb, since the actions found in the infitive in English often are the full and complete action. One can see this in the difference between
For verbs that do not take a verbal prefix, it should be assumed that there is a different form that expresses continous action, e.g.
grįžti:to come back and
grįžinėti:to be coming back.
- at - coming (from there to here with the intention to return to the original destination), e.g. ateiga, to come*
- ap - around; compared with pra, implies a location that is circular or haphazard in layout
- į - into a place or away from a place, e.g. įsakyti, to command*
- iš - leaving (from here to there) or out of a place
- ne - not/NEG marker. May cause PERF prefix (whichever it may be for a verb) to be dropped.
- nebe - no longer
- nu - often just a resultative prefix, makes IMP more polite
- pa - a little bit (for verbs of movement), e.g. palipti, climb a little bit; under
- par - returning to a place (home, hotel, some place you stay)
- per - across (for verbs of movement); re/redo an action
- pra - passing by/through some place (cf. preposition pro); as compared with ap, it implies a location that is arranged in rows and columns
- pri - a lot; worked a lot at; excessively (often negative); for verbs of movement, it implies reaching or getting closer to a destination
- si - reflexive, e.g. apsigyventi, to settle oneself in (to a place)
- su - all together (PERF)
- tebe - still
- už - come to a place (often spontaneously) for a short while
There are four moods in Lithuanian:
Both clauses tend to use the same mood. Ex. jei SBJV, tai SBJV.
The subjunctive is used in the ways:
- Hypothetical conditionals
- Should, would, could
- Expressing purpose
It is important to note that it is hypothetical, rather than real, conditionals that use SBJV. Real conditionals will use either FUT or PRS. For example,
This is what Ambrazas refers to as the "simple subjunctive" – actions "which under certain circumstances would be possible or desirable in the present or in the future."Ambrazas §5.47
Should, would, could
Most commonly seen with
norėti:to want, the subjunctive gives a sense of politeness to the sentence or question. As such, it is also often used when giving advice.
This gives rise to natural English translations for some common verbs:
Should: reikėti or turėti
Would: any other verb in SBJV
- Ar tu galėtum man atnešti stiklinę sulčių?
Could you please bring me a glass of juice?
- Aš norėčiau, kad (tu) ateitum anksti.
I would like you to come early.
- Tu turėtum būti griežtesnis mano tarimui.
You should be more strict with my pronunciation.
Formed by removing the -ti from the infinitive.
For 1PL and 2PL, the shorter forms are often used in speech, while the longer may be seen in written works.
Formed by removing the -ti from the infinitive. This form is easily recognizable due to the k in the affix.
|3||see note||see note|
While there is no declined 3SG or 3PL form, a 3rd person imperative ("let him/her do X") can be formed with
tegu plus the 3SG.PRS form of the verb. Thus
tegu kalba:let him/her speak.
Colloquially, the 1PL form (Let's...) can also be the 1PL.PRS without the ending -e. Thus,
einam:let's go. Similarly, the 2SG form may be heard as -ki in casual speech.
In terms of politness, IMP is less polite than SBJV and IMP without a verbal prefix is less polite than IMP with a verbal prefix, as noted at the top of this section.
- eiti is specifically to go by foot, važiuoti is to go by some sort of wheeled transportation. Like a scooter, or wheelies.
- The -iškai form for languages is only used with
Reflexive verbs have the ending -is. Whenever there is a prefix, such as in the negative, one must use the si prefix, ex. praustis > nesiprausti).
There are 5 types of reflexive verbs:
- Hygiene or self-care (
prausti:to wash somethingvs.
praustis:to wash oneself)
- Active vs. static (
- Internal action (
sukti:to rotate an objectvs.
suktis:to rotate oneself, e.g. the earth rotates on its axis)
- Speech related (
kalbėtis:to speak with each other)
- Internal feelings (
džiaugtis:to be happy)
Reflexive forms are formed like non-reflexive verb, but with an additional suffix, as listed below. For plural forms, drop the final -e, ex. dirbame → dirbamės.
One may use the reflexive pronoun to emphasize the action being done is for oneself, in exclusion to others, or to indicate more personal engagement with the action at hand. If no reflexive form of the verb exists, than using the reflexive pronoun is sufficient.
Present Tense (PRS)
A/I verbs use the vowel in parentheses for 1SG and 2SG, O verbs do not. For example, šukuojiesi vs. maudaisi.
Past Simple (PST)
Add endings to non-reflexive stem.
For example, šukavausi and šukavomės. Same conjugation for both O and Ė past tense verbs.
Past Frequentative (PSTFREQ)
Add endings to non-reflexive stem.
Future Tense (FUT)
Participles are commonly used in Lithuanian. At their most basic, they are adjectival forms of verbs (and indeed, colloquially most Lithuanians think of them as adjectives). E.g. "working" in phrase "the working man". Here "working" is derived from the verb "to work". In much the same way, Lithuanian participles are derived from verbs. Note that because participles are derived from verbs, there is often a "verbal" way of meaning the same thing. For example "the working man" and "the man who works" mean the same thing, however, in Lithuanian, the participle form ("the working man") is preferred.
Due to the fact that participles come from verbs, they are also accorded like verbs. Imagine this rather abstract sentence with 4 parts:
VERB OBJpart. PARTICIPLE SUBpart.
- The SUBpart. will accord with the requirements of VERB.
- The PARTICIPLE will accord with the number, gender, and case of SUBpart.
- The OBJpart. will accord with the requirements of PARTICIPLE.
For example, let's take Spektaklį žiūrintiems žmonėms buvo nuobodu (The people watching the show were bored). The parts are:
būti nuobodu:to be bord– VERB
buvo nuobodu takes a DAT subject, so žmonės will be DAT. žiūrinti accords with žmonės, so it will be PL, DAT, and M. spektaklis accords with the verbal requirements of žiūrinti, so it will be ACC.
The list below does not include all of the various participles (at least until this message is removed).
Present Active Participle
How to form: remove the final vowel of the 3SG.PRS form of the verb and add the following endings for NOM:
|verb ending||SG M||SG F||PL M||PL F|
Other cases are declined like first declension adjectives, with the exception that in ACC, the SG M ending is -į. Note that the t in the endings, except for ACC.SG and DAT.PL, will be č, such as DAT perkančiam.
The two forms for SG M/PL M differ in 3 ways (with the A-form below standing in for the I-form, as well):
- -ąs is only in the nominative, whereas -antis takes all cases
- -ąs is more formal than -antis, which is more colloquial
- -ąs tends to describe the process of the action, whereas -antis tends to describe the result
Add besi to the above form. For example: kalbėtis would be besikalbantis/besikalbanti. There is no additional be- added to indicate "no longer".
Most prepositions require the GEN.
Prepositions in GEN
See also DBK, pg293.
- abipas - on both sides
- anàpas - on the other side
- anót - according to
- añt - on; expressing feelings towards smth; exactly at a time (coll.)
- àrti - close to
- bè - without
- daug - a lot of
- daugiau - more of
- dėl - due to
- iki - to
- įstižai - diagonal
- iš - out of; from (a place – see nuo); since (movement from in to out); out of a vehicle
- keletas - several of
- link - towards
- mažai - a bit of
- mažiau - fewer of
- nuõ - from (a surface, outside of - no movement), paired with iki for time or list-like expressions like "from... to..."
- põ - after
- prie - next to
- Some locations use prie rather than į when the physical act of being at the location is next to it, rather than in it. For example, Aš važiouju prie vandenyno vs. Aš važiouju į vandenyną (I traveled [to be] next to the ocean vs. I traveled into the ocean).
- skersai̇̃ - across
- tarp - between
- truputas - a little bit of
- už - behind
- V + už - take/grab už N.
Ji pàšmė manè ùž rañkos ⧸ She took me by the hand
- V + už - take/grab už N.
- vidury - in the middle of
- vietoj - instead of
Prepositions in ACC
- apiẽ - around, about (e.g. when referring to time)
- apliñk - around by (physical location only)
- į̇̃ - in (location/place); into (will often cause the verb to take the same prefix) a place or vehicle
- pas - to a person
- per̃ - through; across; during; throughout; over (over the fence); for the duration of; via/on (for technology, e.g. via Skype, on TV)
- põ - round about; through (through the fence); after (time wise); around (both physically in a circle and metaphorically, like "around the city")
- prieš - opposite of, across from, before
- with time it means ago, such as prieš savaitė, a week ago. Prieš dvi valandos aš valgau jogurtą su serbentais.
- už - for (e.g. prices)
Prepositions in INS
- põ - under
- su - with (will often cause the verb to take the same prefix)
For impersonal or state of being statements, use a neuter adjective. Neuter gender adjectives are the same as masculine gender adjectives, but drops the final s (geras → gera). Accent stays in the same spot.
- Man yra gera - I feel good
- Jam yra liūdna - He feels sad
- Man yra linksma - I feel happy
- Yra karšta lauke - It is hot outside
Note that colors are used by themselves (e.g. not modifying anything like the phrase "black and white"), they are always feminine, thus juoda ir balta.
There are three declension paradigms for adjectives in Lithuanian. The 3rd declension, which is used to describe "made of"/"belonging to" (e.g.
medinis:made of wood, wooden) has some unique properties, which are described further below.
At a glance, here are the nominative endings for the declensions.
|Declension||SG M||SG F||PL M||PL F|
For masculine nouns, use the -as form and for feminine nouns, use the -a form. Thus, laimingas vyras (SG M), laiminga moteris (SG F), laimingi vaikiai (PL M), laimingos mergaitės (PL F).
For masculine nouns, use the -us form and for feminine nouns, use the -i form. Thus, sunkus vyras (SG M), sunki moteris (SG F), sunkūs vaikiai (PL M), sunkios mergaitės (PL F).
This declension is very similar to the 1st declension, but with the addition of the palatalizing -i before most endings.
Adjectives in this declension mean "made of" or "belonging to". A common example is medinis, from
medis:wood, thus "made of wood; wooden". Many random nouns can be made into a 3rd declension by adding -inis, such as
protinis:made of/belonging to the brain.
For masculine nouns, use the -is form and for feminine nouns, use the -ė form. Thus, medinis vyras (SG M), medinė moteris (SG F), mediniai vaikiai (PL M), medinės mergaitės (PL F).
Third declension adjectives differ from 1st and 2nd declensions in a few ways:
- cannot form adverbs
- non-comparable (e.g. no "more wooden")
- cannot form pronominal adjectives
- there is no neuter gender form
Note that a number of 3rd declension adjectives also are the same as nouns, ex. stiklinė means both "made of glass, SG F" and "a glass".
All adjectives form comparative and superlative forms regularly.
Comparitive degree (more)
Drop ending, add suffix -esn, and then -is for masculine adjectives and -ė for feminine adjectives. Masculine:
To say something is "more X (adj.) than Y (noun)", there are three forms:
- X už Y (ACC)
- X nei Y (NOM)
- X negu Y (NOM)
The nei form is used with shorter words than negu, though there isn't a strict cut off for what is considered "short".
Superlative degree (most)
Drop ending, add suffix -iaus, and then -ias for masculine adjectives and -ia for feminine adjectives. Masculine:
Pronominal (also known as "definite" or "norminal") adjectives serve two functions: they can act as a way of emphasizing the adjective (ex. the red one) or standing in place of the noun in its entirety (ex. the red one). In English, this distinction is not entirely clear, but as seen in the preceding examples, mostly corresponds with the use of "the" before an adjective+noun pair.
As with normal adjectives, pronominal adjectives also match in case, gender, and number. The declensions for pronominal adjectives are based on the adjectival declension. That is, a first declension adjective follows the first declension list below. Third declension adjectives cannot form pronominal adjectives.
In formal speech, questions that expect a year as an answer (such as when someone was born) will be answered with the final number of the year as a pronominal adjective.
- Baltoji Drobulėr
The White Shroud
Similar to normal adjectives, the 2nd declension often has an -i- at the beginning of the suffix.
- trupuitį - a little
- biški - a little (coll., from German einbishen)
- kartu - together
- vėl - again
- gal - maybe
- dar - still
- kol - while
- kol kas - so far (kol kas jam klasė labai patinka - so far he likes the class)
Vis vs. Dar vs. Vis Dar
Vis, dar, and vis dar all have overlapping English translations. For example, vis and dar can both be "more" and vis dar and dar can both be "still". However, there are some distinctions between the three that need to be called out:
- dar can indicate more of a quanity
- Jei būčiau alkanas, tai valgyčiau dar.
- If I were hungry, I would eat more.
- vis can indicate more of a process, doing something over and over
- Vasara ateinant, dienos vis fainesnės ir fainesnės tampa.
- As summer comes, the days are becoming nicer and nicer.
- vis dar usually just means "still"
- Mes vis dar planuojame mūsų kelionę į Lietuvą.
- We are still planning our trip to Lithuania.
- All together now!
- Aš noriu tau dar duoti, bet jaučiuosi vis liūdnesnis ir liūdnesis, nes vis dar negaunu, kad pakankamai duočiau.
- I want to give you more, but I feel sadder and sadder, because I still do not have enough to give.
- vis daugiau is used with quanties of things, whereas vis labiau is used with actions.
- in vis X ir X, the following word accords with X.
- dar, when meaning "more", often occurs at the end of the sentence, such as
Kalbėk dar ⧸ Say more.
n.b. some old dictionaries will also show an abbreviated da form for dar.
- Comparative ends in -iau, superlative ends in -iausia
- gerai (well) > geriau (better) > geriausia (the best)
Some words allow for the diminutive to be added, implying a "little X", ex. adding -ėl- to geriau gives gerėliau ("a little better").
|Adjective ending||Adverbial ending|
-is does not form an adverb because it was dervied from a noun originally. For example medinis (wooden) – the adjectival form that is productive is mediniškas, which becomes mediniškiai.
|laukań (outward)||laukè (outside)|
|aukštyñ (upwards)||aukšta (up; in a high place)|
|žemyn (downwards)||žemai̇̃ (down; in a low place)|
|tolỹn (farther on; into the distance)||toli̇̀ (far; at a distance)|
|namõ (homewards)||namiẽ (at home)|
Aš einù laukañ vs. Aš esu laukè
I am going outside vs. I am outside
When used as a time expression – that is, independent of the rest of the grammar of the sentence – singular time nouns are in the ACC. Repetitive time and plural time expressions use INS. Except for rytoj and vakar which are in LOC: ryte and vakare.
For example, compare
šią savaitę:this week, a singular period of time, versus
ateinančiomis savaitėmis:the following weeks, a plural expression. This week is in ACC, whereas the following weeks is in INS.
However, when the time expression functions as a noun in the sentence (e.g "On Tuesdays, I eat falafel" vs. "Tuesdays do not exist"), the time expression takes the expected grammatical declension for its place in the sentence (such as NOM in the example given).
There are two main ways of telling time: listing all of the components (one thirty seven), or describing the time relatively (seven after half of two).
Relative time uses two prepositions, be for before, and po for after. Be is used from :31 to :59 and po is used from :01 to :29. Both take the genitive.
Half hours (using 12-hour clock) are with pusė, which takes GEN, and should be thought of has "half to", rather than "half of". That is, 12:30 would be pusė pirmos (half to one). Remember that 2-9 are considered plural, and 1, 11, and 12, are considered singular. Thus, 2:30 would be pusė trijų (in GEN.PL).
Exact hours (1:00, 2:00...) use oridnal numbers, ex. 1:00 yra pirma, 4:00 yra ketvirta.
Time expressions are in NOM by default (
pirma:1 o'clock is in NOM), except for when a verb may prompt a different case, such as
susitikti:to meet, in which the time expression will be in ACC.
- 4:15 - keturios (valandos) ir penkiolika (minučių)
- 10:25 - dešimt valandų ir dvidešimt penkios minutės
- 11:11 - vienolika valandų ir vienolika minučių
- 2:33 - dvi valandos ir trisdešimt trys minutės
- 1:35 - pirma valanda ir trisdešimt penkios
- 10:15 - penkiolika po dešimt; po dešimt penkolika
- 10:45 - be penkilikos vieniolika
- 2:05 - penkios po dviejų
- 4:47 - be trylikos penkios
- 2:30 - pusė trijų (quantity word pusė takes GEN)
- 4:30 - pusė penkių
- 10:30 - pusė vieniolikos
- 6:26 - be keturių pusė septynių
- 7:37 - septynios po pusės aštuonių
- 12:15 - po dvylikos penkiolika
- 13:23 - po pirmos dvidešimt trys
- 7:49 - be vienuolikos (miničių) aštuonios
kada sustinkame?, expecting an "at ... o'clock" reply
- at 9:30 - pusę dešimt
- at 11:45 - be penkiolikos dvyliktą
- at 2:00 - antrą (valandą)
- at 4:25 - be penkių pusę penkių
- at 4:35 - penkios po pusės penkių
Colloquially, the number may be in GEN, ex
Days of the week
Cardinal number + dienis
- primà (Monday)
- sekma (an archaic for of seven)
Decades are referred to as 1st to 10th decade of a century and start on the "1" year. For example, 1901-1910 is the 1st decade, so on to 1991-2000 is the 10th decade of the 1900s. There is a chance that a Lithuanian speaker will therefore be off one decade when hearing a decade in English – e.g. the 70s would potentially be misconstrued as the 7th decade or last year of the 7th decade, and thus assume 1961-1970.
The decade form is made with the oridnal number + dešimtmetis, so literally "the Xth decade". For example
aštuntas dešimtmetis:the 8th decade/1971-1980.
There are four main categories of question words in Lithuanian:
- Yes-No Questions
- Non-Declinable Question Words
- Declinable Question Words
- Case-Based Question Words
The first section below contains "Yes-No Questions" and "Non-Declinable Question Words", as they are easily listed. Each "Declinable Question Word" has its own section, as do the "Case-Based Question Words".
Generally speaking, the question word, regardless of what type it is, will come first in the question.
Yes-No Questions (ar/gal)
Questions without question words (aka Yes-No questions) must start with ar or gal. Ar is for simple yes-no questions:
gal:maybe gives a sense of both a sense of being unsure of the response and moderate politeness (akin to starting a question in English with perhaps):
Non-declinable Question Words
- kada - when
Kada tu gimei? ⧸ When were you born?
- kaip - how
- Expects adverbial response
- May be better translated as "what", where Lithuanian responds with an adverb, where as in English, one would not:
Kaip žmones kalba? - Žmones kalba angliškai ⧸ What do the people speak? - They speak in English.
- kiek - how much (GEN)
Kiek paukščių tu matai? - _Keturis ⧸ How many birds did you see? - Four.
- kieno - whose
Kieno sūnus yra tas berniukas? ⧸ Whose son is that boy?
- kodėl - why
- May jokingly be responded with
- o - used like English "and" in follow-up questions (e.g. "and you?") – do not use ir or similar words
O tu? ⧸ And you?
Kas and Its Cases
kas:what declines based on its location in the sentence. Knowing the form of kas also will let the speaker know in most cases what the case of the response should be. The declined forms are as follows, with additional notes as to their usage underneath.
kas / NOM
Often used with DAT verbs (
ko / GEN
Used with negative questions and verbs taking GEN objects (
ieškoti:to look at, etc.). May also be an abbreviated form of
kam / DAT
May also be an abbreviated form of
ką / ACC
kuo / INS
Also used with verbs that take INS (
groti:to play an instrument, etc.)
kur / LOC
When used with a preposition, kur may not come first in the sentence:
Declinable Question Words
Koks functions much like a question. Or perhaps it is better to say, given its normal translations of "what, what kind of", it is likely to be conflated with a question to English learners, since "what, what kind of" would all be described as question words. Textbooks etc. will mark it as a pronoun, but I don't know if that formal distinction actually helps.
To me, koks and its declensions are best thought of as meaning "what kind of" and thus pair with a noun when used in questions. Note that while in English the question of "what kind of" almost always expects an adjective as a response, Lithuanian will often expect a noun.
- Kokio obuolio nori? Raudonojo.
What kind of apple do you want? The red one.
- Kokių sulčių tu negeri? Braškių.
What kind of juice don't you drink? Strawberry.
- Kokiai progai tu nupirkai šį tortą? Gimtadieniui.
For what occasion did you buy this cake? For a birthday.
Kuris/kuri (which one)
Kuris accords with the preceding, not following, noun.
- Kuri tavo kepuraitė? - Juoda, aš esu juodkepuraitis.
Which is your cap? - Black, I am Little Black Riding Hood.
- Kuriomis pasakomis tiki? - Pasaka!
In which fairytales do you believe? - All of them!
Kelintas/kelinta (at which)
"At which" is kind of a clunky translation. This question asks at which point someone is in a list or row of numbers. That is, the situation must be enumeratable.
For example, in
- Kelintą valandą prasideda koncertas? - Penktą.
What time does the concert start? - At five.
The clause introduced by bèt also denotes in some clauses something which is unexpected in view of the meaning of the main clauseDBK, pg305
bèt is more emphatic than õ
- ar can be used to mean "whether"
- Aš nežinau, ar jiems patinka medus
Like a lot of European langauges, Lithuanian puts a comma before a clause. This does not indicate a pause or anything like in English.
Aš nežinójau, kàd jis čià - I didn't know that he is here
- Palatalized /t/ always becomes 'č' before a back vowel
- Palatalized /d/ always becomes 'dž' before a back vowel
- CeC : /e/
- ai$ : /ei/
- ^u : /ɔ/, in load words, such as universitete
- Will leave i off at the end of verb ex. sužvejoti vs. sužvejot
- tai yra can be ellided to tyra
There are three types of accentuation marks:
- ̀ = accent is on a short vowel that is always short (stressed)
- ´ = accent is on a long vowel that in this case can be short (a or e) (falling)
- ˜ = accent is on a long vowel that is always long or consonant in a mixed dipthong (rising)
Some vowels will change pronunciation depending what part of the dipthong is accented.
- aũ/au = /oː/
- áu = /au/
- the "real" phonology is obviously much more complex than this, but what's listed is close enough. The main thing to know is that rising (̃) and accentless are pronounced the same.
- ẽ = /eː/
- ę = /æː/
- e = /ɛ/
- ei̇̃ = /ɛɪ/
- éi = /æɪ/
- eC (mixed dipthong)
- él = /æl/
- el̃ = /ɛl/
- i = /ɪ/
- į/y = /iː/
- u = /ʊ/
- ų/ū = /uː/
Accent shifting for nouns
There are two types of accents, tvirtapradė and tvirtagalė, and four accentuation patterns, which I will call ①, ②, ③, & ④.
Tvirtapradė ("firm beginning") means that the accent is on the first part of a dipthong. Patterns ① and ③ deal with tvirtapradė accentuation.
Tvirtagalė ("firm ending") means that the accent is on the second part of a dipthong. Patterns ② and ④ deal with tvirtagalė accentuation.
Compound words usually have rising stress in the joining vowel (when it's not a dipthong), eg. antrãdienis vs. savàitgalis
- All ACC.S cases end in V nosine, ex. kãtę, and are never accented
- GEN.S ending with "o" never accents finaly syllable, ex. brólio, nãmo
- NOM.P ending with "s" never has accent on last syllable, ex. sū́nūs, kãtes
- All NOM.S ending in "ys" are always accented, ex. arklỹs
- All NOM.S ending in "(i)as" are never accented.
- DAT.S final syllable is never accented.
- VOC ending in just "e/a/i" is not accented.
Contrary to most methods, Lithuanians count syllables from the end of the word. There are two things to keep in mind: 1. the ending counts as 1 syllable, even if it's pronounced as two (e.g. yje). 2. the last syllable of the stem is the most important. (Why? We'll find out later!)
- Use negi to emphasize/indicate surprise of a sentence
- Nègi nežinai? You don't know??
- When ir follows a verb at the beginning of a sentence, it functions as "also"
- Suprasta ir - S/he also understands...
- Expressing age
- NOM yra NUM.GEN, Mano sesė yra 22-ių
- DAT yra NUM.NOM, Mano sesei yra 22 metai
- benè - is it really.../could it be...?
- jùk - but (interchangeable with gi̇)
Conditional sentences (jei)
Conditional sentences use the same tense in both clauses. It is important to note that jei is used only when there is a possibility that the condition won't happen. It cannot be used like the English word "if" as a connector – in those situations, use ar.
- Jei rytoj lis, reikos skėčio
- If tomorrow rain+FUT, need+FUT umbrellas
Clause Connections (ir, o, and bet)
There are three ways to connect clauses, each with slightly different uses. Correct usage is something that is difficult for learners and just needs to be learned by practice and repeated exposure to the language.
- Closest to a neutral "and" in English, implies that the two clauses are similar in tone or idea. For example,
Mano draugui/draugei ir man patinka valgyti cepelinus ⧸ My friend and I like to eat cepelinai. Note that
bei:andis used between similar words, rather than between clauses, especially as a way to avoid repeating ir.
- Could be translated by "and" or "but", o is used to indicate contrasting clauses.
Man patinka valgyti cepelinus, o mano draugui - sumuštinius ⧸ I like to eat cepelinai, but my friend (likes to eat) sandwiches.
- More strongly contrastive than o.
Kasdien einu į biurą bet, man nepatinka dirbti ten ⧸ Everyday I go to the office, but I don't like working there.
That/which (kad vs. kuris)
Both kad and kuris can be translated as "that" or "which". Which one to use, though, depends on which part of speech is being modified:
- if it's a noun, use kuris. Kuris will accord with the expected case of the verb and number/gender with the noun.
- if it's a verb, use kad.
See also DBK, pg268.
Uses būti as auxiliary verb
- àš esù mùšamas - I am being beaten
- I PRS PRS.PT
- àš esù mùštas - I am beaten
- I PRS PST.PT
- àš buvaũ mùšamas - I was being beaten
- I PST PRS.PT
- àš buvaũ mùštas - I was beaten
- I PST PST.PT
This can also be represented by modifying sentence structure, especially given a preference for verbs over adjectives while speaking. For example, consider the English sentence "they fired me". Directly, this would be jie atleido mane, following the English sentence structure exactly. However, many English speakers would tend towards saying "I was fired" and try to say something modelled off the above examples. Rather than using an adjective, "fired", this passive meaning can be expressed by dropping the pronoun and moving the object to the front of the sentence. Thus, mane atleido. The declensions are the same, but the structure provides the same impersonal sentiment that the English passive voice implies.
Can use a man's first name in the plural to refer to the man's family.
d or t when pallatalized and followed by a vowel become dž and č respectively.
Ex. medis > medžio, viešbutis > viešbučio
Native Lithuanian words do not contain double "e", whereas international words may include them.
- begėdis - shame on him!
- eik velniop - go to hell!
- (niop is an older form of 'home')
- eik, eik - wow!
- eik tu sau - no kidding!
- màt tavè dievai̇̃ - may the gods take you!
- nėra už ką - you're welcome, don't mention it
- puiku! - great
- prašo - please
- prašom - you're welcome
- velnią minint - speak of the devil
- au au – woof woof
- miau - meow
- kriu kriu – oink oink
- kakariekūūū - cockadoodledoo
- kutkudak - cluck
- yyyyyhaha - neigh
- Moteriškoji giminė
- Female gender (m.)
- Vyriškoji giminė
- Masculine gender (v.)
To think – Manyti vs. Galvoti vs. Mąstyti
All three verbs mean "to think", but they are not all used in the same way. In the list below, the verbs go from thinking about the least important topic to the most important topic.
- manyti (expresses an opinion, a single thought)
- galvoti (the result of thinking recurrently on something, e.g. a thought about something that was more than the spur of the moment)
- mąstyti (philosophical, expresses the long process of thinking/mulling over a problem)
Last Updated: 2023-07-22 10:58:54