Lithuanian Language History

lithuanian language history
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The Lithuanian Language History

Lithuanian is an Indo-European language with three million native speakers. It is primarily spoken in Lithuania where it is recognized as an official language. And it has two main dialects that are spoken in different parts of the country. The Lithuanian Language belongs to the Balto-Slavic branch of the Indo-European family. The history of the Lithuanian Language is known for being the most conservative member of the family as it still has some features of Proto-Indo-European. There are also traces of Sanskrit and Ancient Greek in this language. It is written in the Latin alphabet. The closest relative of this language is Latvian. Many famous linguists have studied the Lithuanian language as it can tell us a lot about the ancestor of the Indo-European languages and family.


One of the Oldest of all the Modern Indo-European Languages:

Many popular languages faded into nothingness. There are many languages that we have no written record of. But even with a written record of languages, there is only so much we can learn about them. A language has to be living for linguists to study its development. There are many old members of the Indo-European languages family that are only spoken by a small number of people. There are also languages that died. We can only predict what forms those languages must have taken if they existed today.

History of Lithuania Language

But there are a few old languages that are still alive today and Lithuanian is one of them. By studying Lithuanian language history and use, there is a lot that we can learn about Proto-Indo-European, Sanskrit, and Ancient Greek. The archaic feature of the language is the reason why it is an important topic of study in the field of linguistics.


The History of Lithuanian Language:

For a long period of time, both Latvian and Lithuanian were considered dialects of a single Baltic language. But in the year 800, the differentiation between the two started. However, despite that, transitional dialects continued to exist until the late 17th century. The development of the two languages was slowed down during the 13th and 14th centuries when a German Catholic military order occupied the Daugava Basin (a region close to modern-day Latvia). The earliest written record in Lithuanian can be traced back to the early 16th century. Books were printed in the language after 1547. But the literacy level of the Lithuanians was low, which is why the books were not common. This continued until the 18th century as the literacy level of the language’s speakers did not improve.

Books in Lithuanian Language

The books became popular when they were banned after 1864 by the Russian governor of the territory. Also they were smuggled into the country so the language of the natives can be kept alive. In 1918, it became the official language of the country, after which attention was paid to its development. Today, it is one of two living Baltic languages, the other being Latvian.

It is a wonder that the language is still alive today. Although it was used by the Lithuanian royalty in the past, it was replaced by the Polish language later. Russian and English also had a great influence on the region. Many languages lost to the English language’s popularity.

Characteristics of Lithuanian:

Here are some unique and fascinating features of this language:

Sounds pleasant

It is very pleasant to hear. There is a melodic tone of the language which fascinates non-natives. This is one of the reasons why many students of linguistics want to learn this language.


It is conservative, which is why it has a lot of archaic features. It is one of the few languages that does not have any articles. The only way to express the connection between words is by declining the endings. Although there are five noun declensions, other parts of the language are declined as well.

Easy to Read

One good news for the students of this language is that it is very easy to read. All you have to do is learn the sound of each letter. Since the language is read as it is written, it won’t be difficult for students to understand it.


Diacritics are added to letters in Lithuanian for certain sounds. This is why the Latin script was revised to make 32 letters of this language. There are six long and five short vowels in this language.


The different forms of Lithuanian have been influenced by a number of different languages including Russian and Polish. The influence of Latin, Sanskrit, and Ancient Greek on the language has also been observed.

English Words

Many English words have been adopted by Lithuanian speakers. They are now used in everyday conversations commonly. Some loanwords have also been taken from the Russian language.


All the consonants of this language, except ‘j’, have two variants. There are a few consonants who, along with their palatalized variants, are only used in loanwords.

The Use of Lithuanian Language:

The Lithuanian community kept their language alive in the toughest of situations. Their troubled history kept them from developing their language in the past, but things are different today. This is why, despite being fluent in at least one foreign language, the Lithuanian society continues to use its own language. Outside its native country, the language is also spoken in Spain, the UK, the US, Argentina, Brazil, Germany, Iceland, Norway, Ireland, etc. American communities of Lithuanians can be found in different cities including Washington, New York, and Boston.

86% of Lithuanians speak this language. Since it is the official language of the country, it is used for all government proceedings. It is also the only language on official documents and used by linguists to understand the development of different languages. It can not only tell us about ancient languages but can also help us understand modern languages. Thanks to the data provided by this Baltic language, linguists have discovered a lot about ancient tongues and the connection between different languages.


The Translation of Lithuanian:

Conservative languages can be quite complex for non-natives. Understanding them can require a lot of time. But sometimes, non-natives have to study such a language so they can communicate with the natives. However, when it comes to translations, only a native can do the job accurately. They not only understand cultural aspects but can also convey the message of the original text to the target audience accurately.

The Lithuanian culture has been influenced by various factors over the years. The Russian and Polish influence over the culture has been pretty prominent. A lot of non-natives, despite learning the language, may not be familiar with the features. So, only a native translator can help you when you need linguistic assistance.

Whether you need help with official documents or business papers, it is important to hire someone qualified and experienced. Finding a native Lithuanian translator or Lithuanian Translation Services on your own will not be easy. But if you do your research to find a reliable agency for yourself then that will prove to be the better option for you.

Agencies understand how important it is to hire native translators for translations. They will be able to connect you with a Lithuanian translator. Then whether you need help with your official document or court order, a native translator will be able to deliver quality solutions on time. And if you have chosen the right agency, you won’t be charged highly for the translations.

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