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LITHUANIA
Language

Cities in LITHUANIA

Vilnius

Language

Lithuanian is an Indo-European language with roots in Sanskrit. The only European language that is somewhat similar to Lithuanian is Latvian, although the two languages have developed separately since the 7th century. Lithuanian has retained most of its archaic character, making it very interesting to linguists.

Lithuanian did not become an official written language until the 16th century and has only been used for official documents since 1918, at the time of the Lithuanian Republic. In the medieval Grand Duchy of Lithuania, the official languages were Slavonic and Latin. Polish became the official language at the time of the Polish-Lithuanian Kingdom. In the 19th century, Russian became the official language from 1836 to 1903, and publications in Lithuanian were even banned. At the time of the Soviet rule, learning Russian was compulsory, and in many institutions only Russian was spoken and written. Official language status was not restored until 1989.

There are several Lithuanian dialects, of which the dialect of Aukštaitija is the standard. The Lithuanian alphabet has 32 letters and the national dictionary contains 400,000 words.

The fact that Lithuanian belongs to the same language family as Latvian and differs greatly from Estonian can be seen from the following list of counting words:

EstLatvianLithuanian
1üksviensvienas
2kaksdividu
3kolmtristrys
4nelicetriketuri
5viispiecipenki
6kuussešišeši
7seitseseptiniseptyni
8kaheksaastoniastuoni
9üheksadevinidevyni
10kümmedesmitdešimt

Sources

Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania : country studies
Federal Research Division, Library of Congress

McLachlan, G. / Lithuania
Bradt Publications

Williams, N. / Estonia, Latvia & Lithuania
Lonely Planet,

CIA - World Factbook

BBC - Country Profiles

Last updated March 2024
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