How to Learn Lithuanian

Three Parts:Getting the BasicsExpanding Your ExposureUsing the Language

Lithuanian is one of the Baltic languages. There are about 3 million Lithuanian speakers, mostly in Lithuania itself, although there are ethnic Lithuanian speakers around the world. Lithuanian is one of the oldest languages in Europe, retaining features of the ancient proto Indo-European language. You can learn this fascinating language by using online resources and other study materials, and by making contact with Lithuanian speakers.

Part 1
Getting the Basics

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    Learn the alphabet. The Lithuanian alphabet is very similar to the Latin alphabet, with nine additional letters (ą, č, ę, ė, į, š, ų, ū, ž). Generally, words are pronounced as written, and most Lithuanian letters are pronounced similarly to English letters.[1][2]
    • Ą is a long “a,” as in “father”
    • C is pronounced “ts”
    • Č is pronounced “ch” as in “check”
    • E is a long “e,” as in “eat”
    • Ę is pronounced like the “a” in “man”
    • Ė is pronounced like the “ai” in “chair”
    • Į is pronounced like a long “e”
    • Y is pronounced like the “i” in “machine”
    • J is pronounced like the “y” in “yacht”
    • O sounds like the “o” in “more”
    • Š is pronounced “sh,” as in “sheep”
    • Ų is pronounced like the “oo” in “loot”
    • Ū is pronounced like the “oo” in “moon”
    • Ž is pronounced like the “s” in “pleasure”
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    Learn some basic conversational phrases.[3] Studying greetings and introductions is a great way to quickly learn some Lithuanian. If you meet any Lithuanian speakers in person or online, you can impress them with your ability to say things like:
    • “Labas” = hello
    • “Iki” or “ate” = “Goodbye”
    • “Labas rytas!” = “Good morning!”
    • “Laba diena!” = “Good day!”
    • “Labas vakaras!” = “Good evening!”
    • “Labanakt!” = = “Good night!”
    • “Ačiū, dėkui” = “Thank you”
    • “Prašau” = “Please”
    • “Kaip sekasi?” = “How are you”
    • “Ačiū, gerai. O jums?” = “Good, thank you. And you?”
    • “Labai gerai, ačiū” = “Good, thank you.”
    • “Taip” = “Yes”
    • “Ne” = “No”
    • “Aš esu” ____” = “My name is _____”
    • “Mano vardas Jonas. O kaip tavo?” = “My name is Jonas. And you?”
    • “Aš esu Anna.” = “I am Anna”
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    Recognize Lithuanian names. Names and surnames have strict rules in Lithuanian language:[4][5]
    • Usually, male names will end in –as, -is, -ys, or –us (for example, Vytautas, Laimis, Kazys, or Darius).
    • Usually, female names will end in -a, -ė or –ia (for example, Milda, Dovilė, or Dalia).
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    Learn some basic vocabulary and phrases. As soon as you are ready, you can start acquiring some Lithuanian vocabulary in areas that you are interested in or find necessary. For instance, you can study the vocabulary of a topic you are interested in, such as music or architecture, or business vocabulary if you will be trading in Lithuania. You can start expanding your vocabulary by using Lithuanian study books, or online exercises.[6] Some examples of Lituanian words and phrases include:[7]
    • Tėvas = father
    • Motina = mother
    • Brolis = brother
    • Sesuo = sister
    • Aš geriu mineralinį vandenį. = I drink mineral water
    • Dangus yra mėlynas = The sky is blue
    • Šiandien karšta = It is hot today
    • Aš turiu braškę = I have a strawberry
    • Ar mėgstate muziką? = Do you like music?
    • Aš mėgstu klasikinę muziką = I like classical music
    • Ką jūs mėgstate skaityti? = What do you like to read?
    • Aš šiuo metu skaitau šią knygą = I am reading this book right now
    • Man įdomu = I find that interesting
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    Study Lithuanian grammar. Use study guides, books, and online exercises to learn about the rules of Lithuanian grammar.[8] As a non-native speaker of the language, this will help you to use the language more extensively than you could just from studying vocabulary.
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    Get a dictionary. A dictionary can also help you expand your vocabulary, by explaining the meaning of words to you. You can purchase a Lithuanian-English dictionary, or use one of several available online.[9][10]
    • Resist the urge to look up every word you don’t know. Try to guess the meaning of new words from context clues. This will help you gain skills in Lithuanian more quickly, and learn to think “in” the language.
    • Be cautious with using dictionaries. The form of a word as listed in the dictionary may not be the form you need for a particular phrase or usage. Lithuanian is an inflected language, meaning that words change their endings and/or beginnings based on how they are used. To really learn Lithuanian, you must also learn to use its grammar.
  7. 7
    Learn about Lithuanian culture. Lithuania has a rich history and culture. Learning some about its art, architecture, literature, history, geography, etc. will increase your interest in the nation. It will also deepen your knowledge and understanding of the language because you will be able to connect it to specific aspects of Lithuanian life.
Image titled Learn Lithuanian Step 7

Part 2
Expanding Your Exposure

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    Read texts and websites written in Lithuanian. You can gain new vocabulary and deepen your interest in Lithuanian by reading texts in the language. You could read literature, news, websites and any other materials you can find.[11]
    • You can easily find texts in Lithuanian by searching for them online.
    • Lithuanian websites will end in “.lt”
    • Reading out loud will help you learn faster, because you will get used to hearing the sounds of the Lithuanian language.
    • Try to read some Lithuanian each day. Even if it is just a few sentences, it will help you gain more knowledge of the language.
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    Listen to Lithuanian radio stations. Listening to Lithuanian speech and music on the radio is a great way to gain some exposure to the language, and to learn more about Lithuanian culture. Even if you are far away from Lithuania, there are several websites that stream radio stations broadcasting in its language.[12]
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    Watch Lithuanian TV channels. Watching Lithuanian television can also give you a good sense of how the language is used in everyday life, and increase your knowledge of the culture. Viewing images while you listen will make it easier to pick up new words and phrases from context. If you cannot subscribe to a Lithuanian TV channel, you can still watch streaming channels online.[13][14]
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    Listen to podcasts. There are a number of Lithuanian podcasts you can listen to as a way of learning more of the language.[15][16] Some of these are specifically designed for language learners, while others are on a variety of topics of interest to Lithuanian speakers. You can find Lithuanian podcasts by searching online or through your media player’s podcasting service, if it has one.
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    Use language-learning apps. A number of apps have been developed for Lithuanian learners. These provide lessons, quizzes, games, and other activities to increase your knowledge of the language.[17][18][19][20] Some have a fee, but many are free to use. Some are web-based, while others can be used from a smartphone or tablet device.

Part 3
Using the Language

  1. Image titled Learn Lithuanian Step 13
    Try to use Lithuanian as often as possible. Once you start acquiring some knowledge of Lithuanian, using the language as much as possible will help you become more fluent. Try to use the language whenever you can, and at least for a few minutes each day.
    • You can try talking to yourself or friends in Lithuanian.
    • You can also attempt to “think in” Lithuanian as much as possible.
    • Try writing a short amount of Lithuanian in a journal each day.
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    Try to find someone who speaks Lithuanian. Speaking regularly with someone who speaks Lithuanian is the most natural way to pick up the language. If you know a Lithuanian speaker, ask him or her to meet with you regularly for conversation practice.
    • There are Lithuanian clubs in some areas.[21][22] These can be a great way to meet Lithuanian speakers.
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    Use online language exchanges. If you don’t know any Lithuanian speakers, you can look for chatrooms, forums, videochat sessions, and other ways of communicating with some online.[23] Some of these services are free to use, while others require a fee.[24] You may also be able to find a partner for an online language exchange, where you practice Lithuanian with him or her, and he or she practices English or another language with you.
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    Go to Lithuania. You can make great strides in learning Lithuanian by visiting Lithuania. There, you can practice using the language in natural contexts, and learn more about the nation’s culture. You can also take classes in Lithuanian at a university, language school, or other institution.
    • The Lithuanian government supports programs for certain students learning the language.[25][26][27]
    • You may also be able to learn the language in other locations, such as London, where there are some Lithuanian speakers.[28]
    • Some universities or other institutions will regularly or occasionally offer Lithuanian courses. You may be able to attend these as a student or auditor.

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Categories: World Languages