Facts About the Lithuanian Language

Lithuanian belongs to the Baltic group of the Indo-European family of languages. It is the official language in Lithuania, while as a minority language it is most frequently used in Latvia, Estonia, and to some extent in Poland and Belarus.
 

A total of some 3.15 million people speak Lithuanian: 2.9 million in Lithuania and about 200,000 abroad.

Lithuanian is related to Latvian. It is believed that both languages evolved together until the thirteenth century, and only later split into distinctive tongues. The origin of these languages dates as far back as the third century B.C., when the Baltic coast was inhabited by ancient Balts.

Two major dialects are distinguished within the Lithuanian language: Aukštaitian and Samogitian (Highland and Lowland Lithuanian). Both dialects have three sub-dialects, which can be further categorised into 14 sub-dialect variations.

The earliest artefact of written Lithuanian – a liturgical text – dates from 1525, whereas the first printed book in Lithuanian was produced for ecclesiastic purposes in 1547.

Between the sixteenth and late eighteenth century, up to three variants of the language co-existed in Lithuania.

Jonas Jablonskis made a significant contribution to the formation of the standard Lithuanian language, basing it on the Aukstaitian dialect.

Standard Lithuanian formed under severe conditions for people, where the policy of Russification pursued by the Russian Empire meant that there was a ban on releasing books in Lithuanian for half a century after 1864 on the territory of modern Lithuania. They were, however, smuggled in secretly.

Lithuanian uses the Latin alphabet comprising 32 letters.

Most loan words in Lithuanian originate from Slavic, Germanic and other Baltic languages, as well as from the Finno-Ugric language family.

Language code ISO 639-1: lt.

 

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Language combinations:

Latvian to Lithuanian; Lithuanian to Latvian; Estonian to Lithuanian; Lithuanian to Estonian; Russian to Lithuanian; Lithuanian to Russian; Polish to Lithuanian; Lithuanian to Polish; Czech to Lithuanian; Lithuanian to Czech; Ukrainian to Lithuanian; Lithuanian to Ukrainian; English to Lithuanian; Lithuanian to English; Lithuanian to Spanish; Spanish to Lithuanian; German to Lithuanian; Lithuanian to German; Italian to Lithuanian; Lithuanian to Italian; French to Lithuanian; Lithuanian to French; Danish to Lithuanian; Lithuanian to Danish; Norwegian to Lithuanian; Lithuanian to Norwegian; Swedish to Lithuanian; Lithuanian to Swedish; Finnish to Lithuanian; Lithuanian to Finnish and others.

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