Lithuanian is the official language of Lithuania and is spoken by about 4 million native speakers. The language belongs to the Baltic branch of the Indo-European family. Researchers of Indo-European languages say Lithuanian is the most archaic of all the living Indo-European tongues. In this respect it compares to the earliest Indo-European texts written 2500-3000 years ago. The Commission of the Lithuanian Language is the official regulating organization of the language.
Stress in Lithuanian is not fixed; the stress can fall almost anywhere on any word. If you want to get the stress on the right syllable, the best way is to learn it word by word. When speaking Lithuanian, you won't be able to guess which word to stress either, you can only learn by experience, but you will still be understood, even if you get it wrong. It's important to try to stress the right one because not only may the exact meaning of the word vary depending on which syllable is stressed, but there may be identically spelled words with totally different meaning which depends on different stress.
There are three types of stress tone: one short and two prolonged (acute and circumflex). This part is rather difficult even for native Lithuanians, therefore, for the sake of simplicity, in this phrasebook only the stressed syllable is typed in caps, the tone is not indicated.
In the Lithuanian vowels, you shall find both long and short vowel sounds.
Not actual digraphs
Unless you intend to seriously study the language, learning Lithuanian grammar on your trip is not realistic. Some general tips and short explanations presented below can be of useful service.
The second person pronoun jūs is the plural of tu and is also used, as in French, for polite address to one person.
Nouns have two genders: some nouns are masculine, some feminine. Almost all nouns have singular and plural numbers, but there are some exceptions. Nouns have seven cases. Cases are made not by adding preposition but by modifying the ending. Prepositions are used in addition when and if needed.
Adjectives have six cases, same adjective can be both masculine and feminine, singular and plural. Cases and genders are made by modifying the ending.
Lithuanian verb infinite form has the ending -ti. Verbs have four tenses:
Participles can be both masculine and feminine, singular and plural; have six cases and four or three tenses, depending on type. There are 13 types of Lithuanian participles.
The Lithuanian language has free word order. The same sentence can be said or written in many different ways; the same word order may have different meanings if the stress falls on different words. The Lithuanian language is very playful. The formal word order is subject–verb–object, but in fact the order depends on what and how the speaker wants to say. Word order rules do exist, some rules are quite strict but at the same time they have a certain degree of flexibility, there is almost no equivalent in the English language.
Writing time and date
For instance: Half past two. - Pusė trijų. (Half (un)til three.) (PUh-sehh trih-YOU)
(translation is given in feminine gender, nominative, sing.; for masculine gender, nominative, sing. one must add the "s" at the end)
Bus and train
1. city transport: in bigger cities there are also buses running by electricity, called "troleibusas". Same rules as for regular buses apply and the tickets are the same, just you have to remember that the route networks for those two kinds of vehicles are separate, as well as schedules and route (line) numbering.
2. international transport tickets: destinations are written in original language and not in English, so the ticket to Warsaw will read Warszawa.
Please note: In bigger Lithuanian cities there are so called "route-taxis" or "micro-buses" going in, they will stop to take you from the street if you wave your hand. The price is the same wherever you go, it is a lot cheaper than going by taxi and slightly more expensive than traveling by city bus. The disadvantage for non-Lithuanian speakers is that you must tell the driver when you want to get off just before the stop of a regular bus, i.e. you also have to recognize the place where you want to get off at.
Please note: you won't be able to pay in dollars, pounds or euros, use an ATM or go to the bank; there is no exchange offices. Credit cards will be accepted in most of the stores.
Please note: the following first versions refers to the ending of the sentences, while the second ones - how they would look like in the menu
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