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Exciting news from Mondly to all the language learning aficionados from around the world! You can now enrich your language portfolio with a really unique language that has only 3 million speakers worldwide: Lithuanian.
Learn Lithuanian, the most archaic Indo-European language still spoken
Lithuanian is the official language of Lithuania, one of the 24 official languages of the European Union and, along with Latvian, one of the two (or three after some linguists*) last surviving Baltic languages.
*Latgalian is sometimes considered a third surviving Baltic language, but it remains highly disputed whether Latgalian is a separate language with heavy Latvian influence or just a Latvian dialect.
In addition to having only 3 million speakers worldwide, what makes Lithuanian truly unique is being considered the most conservative living Indo-European language. Linguists claim that, to this day, the Lithuanian language retains archaic features otherwise found only in ancient languages such as Sanskrit (particularly Vedic Sanskrit, its early form) or Ancient Greek.
For this reason, despite its late attestation (with the earliest surviving written texts dating only to c. 1500), Lithuanian is a crucial source for the reconstruction of the Proto-Indo-European language, the ancient common ancestor of the Indo-European languages. Fascinating, isn’t it?
Lithuanian vs Latvian – how similar are they?
As a Baltic language, Lithuanian is most closely related to neighboring Latvian. The differences between Lithuanian and Latvian can be summarized in broad terms by saying that Lithuanian is far more archaic than Latvian. They do share a great deal of vocabulary and grammar features, but they are not mutually intelligible enough to make conversation possible.
In spite of all that, linguists claim that, for a long period of time, Lithuanian and Latvian were different dialects of the same language, the differentiation process starting somewhere after 800 CE. However, transitional dialects continued to be used as late as the XVII century.
Now, both Lithuanian and Latvian have dialects. For example, throughout history, people from northern Lithuania had closer contact with the Latvian speaking population. As a result, the northern Lithuanian dialect exhibits phonetic features that are common in the southern Latvian dialect. Hence, the similarity degree depends to a great extent on the influence of the area in which the language is spoken.
10 basic Lithuanian phrases and words you can learn right now
Are you excited to learn Lithuanian yet? Did you know that Lithuanian uses the Latin script supplemented with diacritics and has a total of 32 letters? Moreover, the writing system is largely phonemic and one letter usually corresponds to a single phoneme or sound.
But let’s not waste any more time and start with your first Lithuanian lesson right now. Here are the top 10 basic Lithuanian phrases you should absolutely-definitely-without question know before your first trip to Lithuania:
- Hello! – Laba diena!
- yes – taip
- no – ne
- Thanks. – Ačiū.
- I’m sorry. – Aš atsiprašau.
- What’s your name? – Koks yra tavo vardas?
- I am… – Aš esu…
- How are you? – Kaip tu laikaisi?
- Great! – Puiku!
- Goodbye! – Viso gero.
Learn Lithuanian online with Mondly
It can be really tricky to master Lithuanian pronunciation if you don’t actively live in Lithuania. But with Mondly, the award-winning language learning app, you’ll have access to a unique, fast and highly efficient learning method. Get ready to learn Lithuanian naturally with practical topics, authentic conversations and bite-sized Daily Lessons.
Get Mondly now and learn your first words in Lithuanian today!