Grammar and Spelling
Section One - Grammar and Spelling
1. Gender: Lithuanian has both masculine and feminine. Usually masculine words have endings with -s (-is, -as, -us), but there are some exceptions (the word "pilis" (castle) is feminine). Feminine words end with vowels: -ė, -a (exceptions: "dėdė" (uncle), "tėtė" (dad)).
2. Articles: There are no definite or indefinite articles in Lithuanian.
3. Cases: Seven, with five main case patterns which govern noun endings attributed to each of the cases.
4. One-letter words: There are some one-letter words, e.g. "į" (=to), "o" (=oh, however).
5. Plural: The plural form can be recognized by the endings -iai, -ės, -ys, -ai, -os.
6. Capitalization: similar to English, except only
the first letter of headings and titles are capitalized.
(However, this is under Western influence and some
companies, associations or publications capitalize
their names in the 'English' fashion.) E.g., 'Lithuanian
Democratic Labour Party' is Lietuvos demokratinė
darbo partija, but it is still all abbreviated in
capitals (LDDP). Country names are capitalized,
but country-related words are not: England = Anglija,
but English = angliškas. The first sentence of a letter (the one after 'Dear Mr. Jones')
begins with lower case, unlike in English.
Lithuanian equivalents of 'you' and 'your' often begin with upper case (depending on the style of the document). There are three forms of address: "Tu" (informal and used between close friends), "Jūs" (general formal use) and "Tamsta" (singular)/"Tamstos" (plural) (highly formal in certain contexts). They are all subject to six of the seven existing cases, and the third one can be singular or plural.
Section Two - Punctuation
Speech marks: Speech marks are represented
like this „ ... ” („ [Alt+0132], ” [Alt+0147]), although this is being phased out as
it is not supported by most mainstream software
Section Three - Measurements and Abbreviations
1. Measurement: Metric measurements are used, except where car size, computer monitor size and floppy disk size is involved.
Time: 10:00, 15:00 (24 hour format only)
1999/08/25 or 1999.08.25; 1999 m. rugpjūčio
There should always be a space between a figure and a measurement abbreviation. There should always be a space before a % symbol. There should be a space left before °C, e.g. 30 °C
normally currencies are spelt in full, while in
newspaper articles, financial tables, etc., the
international banking abbreviations are used. The
western style of writing the currency sign before
the amount is NEVER used in Lithuanian. (Note: currency
names are subject to case endings.)
numbers, to denote decimals, commas are used, e.g.
4,5 cm. Numbers over 999 are separated with a space.
A dot may be used on very rare occasions.
Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct,
Nov, Dec - Saus,
Four – Hyphenation
"N" dashes (–) are used, but not the very short dashes (-).
Five – Miscellaneous Peculiarities
Section Six - Geographic Distribution
Lithuanian is the native language of the Republic of Lithuania, where it is spoken by over 3 million people, about 80 percent of the total population. Lithuanian is one of the two Baltic languages, which form a branch of the Indo-European family. Lithuanian is perhaps the oldest of all the modern Indo-European languages. It has been said that the speech of a Lithuanian peasant is the closest thing existing today to the speech of the original Indo- Europeans. Lithuanian also bears certain remarkable similarities to Sanskrit, the progenitor of the modern Indic languages.
Of the approximately 800,000 Lithuanian speakers abroad, most live in the United States (650,000), the rest live in Canada, U.K. and several countries of South America. Lithuanian is one of the official languages of the European Union.
- Copyright © Kenneth Katzner, The Languages
of the World, Published by Routledge.
Section Seven – Character Set
[ ] = Alt key codes
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