Lithuanian is part of the Baltic languages. There are approximately 3 million people who speak Lithuanian, mostly in Lithuania, although there are ethnic speakers all over the world. This language is one of the oldest in Europe. In addition, it retains characteristics of the old Proto-Indo-European language. You will be able to learn this fascinating language by using online resources and other study materials and by having contact with people who speak Lithuanian.
Part 1 of 3: Know the Basics
Step 1. Learn the alphabet
The alphabet of this language is very similar to Latin, with nine additional letters (ą, č, ę, ė, į, š, ų, ū, ž). Words are generally pronounced as they are spelled. Also, most of these letters are pronounced similar to Spanish.
- Ą is pronounced like the “a” of “father” in a long way.
- C is pronounced "ts".
- Č is pronounced “ch” as in “churro”.
- E is pronounced as a more closed “a”.
- Ę is pronounced like a more open “a”.
- Ė is pronounced like the “é” in “coffee”.
- Į is pronounced like an “e” for a long time.
- And it's pronounced like the "i" for "machine."
- J is pronounced like the "y" in "plaster."
- O is pronounced like the "o" for "bear."
- Š is pronounced like the “sh” of “Sheyla”.
- Ų is pronounced like a more closed “u”.
- Ū is pronounced like a more open “u”.
- Ž is pronounced like a soft “sh”.
- Note that many native speakers pronounce long vowels (“ilgąsias balses”) and nasal vowels (“nosines balses”) very similarly. Sometimes it is not possible to notice any difference.
Step 2. Learn some basic conversational phrases
Studying greetings and introductions is a good way to quickly learn a little Lithuanian. If you know someone who speaks it, either in person or online, you can impress them with how skilled you are by saying the following:
- "Labas" = "hello"
- "Iki" or "ate" = "goodbye"
- "Labas rytas!" = "Good morning!"
- "Laba diena!" = "Good morning!"
- "Labas vakaras!" = "Good night!"
- "Labanakt!" = = "Have a good night!"
- "Ačiū, dėkui" = "thank you"
- "Prašau" = "please"
- "Kaip sekasi?" = "How are you?"
- "Ačiū, gerai, or jums?" = "Fine, thank you, and you?"
- "Labai gerai, ačiū" = "very good, thank you"
- "Taip" = "yes"
- "Ne" = "no"
- "Aš esu ____" = "my name is _____"
- "Mano vardas Juan, or kaip tavo?" = "My name is Juan, and yours?"
- "Aš esu Ana." = "I am Ana"
Step 3. Recognize Lithuanian names
Names and surnames follow a strict rule in the Lithuanian language.
- Male names generally end in –as, –is, -ys, or –us (for example, Vytautas, Laimis, Kazys, or Darius).
- Female names often end in –a, –ė, or –ia (for example, Milda, Dovilė, or Dalia).
Step 4. Learn some basic phrases and vocabulary
As soon as you are ready, you can start to acquire more Lithuanian vocabulary in areas that interest you or you think are necessary. For example, you can study the vocabulary of a topic interesting to you, such as music or architecture, or a business vocabulary if you are going to do business in Lithuania. You can expand your vocabulary by practicing exercises online or using books in this language. Some examples of Lithuanian words and phrases include the following:
- 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's 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 now
- man įdomu = I think that's interesting
Step 5. Study the grammar
Use the online exercises, books, and study guides to learn about the rules of grammar. Being a non-native speaker of this language will help you use it more widely than you could by studying just the vocabulary.
Step 6. Get a dictionary
This will also help you expand your vocabulary by explaining the meaning of words to you. You can buy a Lithuanian-Spanish dictionary or use one of those available on the Internet.
- Resist the urge to look up every word you don't know. Try to guess the meaning of the new words based on the context. This will help you acquire more language skills faster and learn to think “in” Lithuanian.
- Be careful when using dictionaries. The word you find in the dictionary may not be the one you are looking for for a particular phrase or use. Lithuanian is a language with inflections, which means that the end or beginning of words changes depending on how they are used. To really learn Lithuanian, you must also learn to use grammar.
Step 7. Learn about the culture
Lithuania has a rich history and culture. Learning art, architecture, history, geography, among others, will increase the interest you have in the nation. In addition, it will deepen your knowledge and understanding of the language because you will be able to connect with certain specific aspects of life in Lithuania.
Part 2 of 3: Expand your exposure to the language
Step 1. Read texts and web pages written in Lithuanian
You can acquire more vocabulary and deepen your interest in this language by reading Lithuanian texts. You could read writings, news, web pages, and other materials that you find.
- You can easily find texts in Lithuanian if you search online.
- Lithuanian web pages will end with “.lt”.
- Reading aloud will help you learn faster, as you will get used to hearing the sounds of the language.
- Try to read something in Lithuanian every day. Even if it is a couple of sentences, this will help you gain more knowledge of the language.
Step 2. Listen to radio stations in Lithuanian
Listening to music and conversations in this language on the radio is a good way to expose yourself more to the language and learn more about the culture. Even if you are far from Lithuania, there are several websites that broadcast radio stations in that language.
Step 3. Watch TV channels in Lithuanian
Watching television in this language can give you good judgment on how it is used on a day-to-day basis. Also, you can improve what you know about the culture. Viewing images while listening will make it easier to recognize new words and phrases in context. If you cannot subscribe to a Lithuanian TV channel, it will be possible to watch channels online.
Step 4. Listen to podcasts
There are several podcasts in Lithuanian that you can listen to to learn more about the language. Some of these are specifically designed for learning, while others are on various topics of interest to Lithuanian speakers. You can find some by searching online or through the podcasting service for the media player you use, if it has one.
Step 5. Use apps to learn languages
Various applications have been developed for people who want to learn Lithuanian. They provide lessons, tests, games, and other activities to increase language learning. Some have a cost, but there are several that are free. Some are used from the web, while others can be used on smartphones or tablets.
Part 3 of 3: Use the language
Step 1. Try to speak Lithuanian as much as you can
Once you gain a bit of knowledge, using the language as much as possible will help you become more fluent. Try to speak it when you can and for at least a couple of minutes a day.
- You can try speaking in Lithuanian by yourself or with friends.
- You can also try to "think in" Lithuanian as much as possible.
- Try to write something short in this language in a journal every day.
Step 2. Find someone who speaks Lithuanian
Talking frequently to someone who speaks Lithuanian will be the most natural way to learn it. If you know someone who speaks it, ask them to meet with you regularly for conversation practice.
There are clubs in this language in some areas. This can be a good way to meet people who speak Lithuanian
Step 3. Exchange your knowledge of a language online
If you don't know anyone who speaks Lithuanian, you can search for chat rooms, forums, video chat sessions, and other ways to communicate with some people online. Some of these services are free, while others have a cost. You can also find a partner for a language knowledge exchange online so that you practice Lithuanian with that person and they can practice Spanish or another language with you.
Step 4. Go to Lithuania
You can improve your learning by visiting Lithuania. There you can speak the language in natural contexts and learn more about the culture. You can also take classes in Lithuanian at the university, language school or other institutions.
- The Lithuanian government supports programs for certain students who want to learn the language.
- You can also learn it in other places, such as London, where there are people who speak Lithuanian.
- Some universities or other institutions frequently or occasionally offer Lithuanian courses. You will be able to attend these as a student or auditor.