Lithuanian Basics: Lesson 19

Say again:

1 translation: Who is here?

Think about how you could answer that question: someone, noone, anyone? They are all interrelated in Lithuanian as well as in English. Plus, there is a bonus for learning these words which I’ll tell you at the end. Let’s learn them.

Let’s start with someone. See how it’s formed:

The Lithuanian word for knows is žino.

So, use the word for who and ask:

2 translation: Who knows?

Now, if you wanted to say someone in ancient Lithuanian, you would say who knows who?. Say that:

3 translation: Who knows who?

This is, in fact, pretty logical when you think about it. If you are talking about someone, you don’t know who he is. So, you are implying nobody knows who (or asking a rhetorical question: who knows who?).

I imagine that Lithuanians would say that in place of someone all the time. However, someone is a word that is used pretty often. Imagine having to say it all the time: kas žino kas, kas žino kas, kas žino kas...

No, it was too long. That’s why Lithuanians decided to shorten who knowskas žino to kažin at first so the word for someone would become kažinkas. I believe that word still exists in some dialects of Lithuanian but even it wasn’t short enough for Lithuanians so they shortened it further to kaž. This kaž is used all over the place in Lithuanian to mean some now.

Lithuanian kaž works the same as some in English when added to the beginning of words.

So, again, say someone:

4 translation: Someone


5 translation: Someone has it.

6 translation: Someone wants it.

Of course, in English you can choose whether to say somebody or someone but in Lithuanian you always say kažkas.

Neat. As a side note, you can add this kaž to all kinds of question words just like you can add some in English. For example, do you remember the Lithuanian word for how:

7 translation: How

Make it into somehow:

8 translation: Somehow

So, this works for a lot of words.

To make it into anything is even easier because you simply add the Lithuanian word for but. Do you remember it (protip: it is almost the same as in English)?

9 translation: But

Bet when added to the beginning of words works the same way as any works in English.

So, how would you say:

10 translation: Anyone

Do you remember the Lithuanian word for he has?

11 translation: She has it.

Also, do you remember how to make it into to have?

12 translation: To have

So, how would you say:

13 translation: Anybody can have it.

You might need some time and effort to work this out but I welcome you to try:

14 translation: Not anyone who speaks Lithuanian can speak English.

We have some and any ones/bodies. What about nobody/noone? This is just as simple:

Lithuanian nie in the beginning of words acts like no in English.


15 translation: Nobody

There is a thing to know about the usage of niekas.

In Lithuanian, you have double negation.

This means that you negate a phrase twice. For example, you say Nobody knows it but in Lithuanian you would say Nobody not knows it (i.e. nobody doesn’t know it). You use negating words two times. That’s probably how most languages in the world do it. Say:

16 translation: Nobody wants it.

17 translation: Somebody wants it but nobody has it.

18 translation: Nobody knows it.

So, double negation. We’ll probably get back to it in the future. But, oh, by the way... what about the bonus?

Well, here is the bonus:

Lithuanian words for someone - something, anyoneanything, and no onenothing are the same!

So, asked what is here?, you can simply say:

19 translation: Nothing!

That’s just to keep in mind. We’ll need to make use of it later… This lesson is over anyway.

Answers to Lesson 19

1 answer: Kas čia yra?
2 answer: Kas žino?
3 answer: Kas žino kas?
4 answer: Kažkas
5 answer: Kažkas tai turi.
6 answer: Kažkas to nori.
7 answer: Kaip
8 answer: Kažkaip
9 answer: Bet
10 answer: Betkas
11 answer: Ji tai turi.
12 answer: Turėti
13 answer: Betkas gali tai turėti.
14 answer: Ne betkas, kas kalba lietuviškai, gali kalbėti angliškai.
15 answer: Niekas
16 answer: Niekas to nenori.
17 answer: Kažkas to nori, bet niekas to neturi.
18 answer: Niekas to nežino.
19 answer: Niekas!