Lithuanian Basics: Lesson 33

I feel like we are discovering something profound. In this lesson, I will tell you one more ia word and I’ll also teach you how to use these ė words in the past. Let’s get down to business.

First, I want you to remember something. That something is... how to treat i words. Imagine, you have he has:

?He has.|Jis turi.

How would you say:

?I have.|Aš turiu.

I have mentioned all of the following a long time ago but now I want you to remember all of it. How do you say:

?He hears.|Jis girdi.

By analogy, you would expect girdiu for I hear but you don’t quite get it. Do you remember what you get:

?I hear.|Aš girdžiu.

You have the sound ž in English as s in vision or precision. You get this extra sound, because you had d + iu and that kind of sounds weird so you get d + ž + iu. This is nothing special. Just an extra sound out of nowhere, to make it sound better. Just out of interest: you actually have it in Brazillian Portuguese as well where you pronounce de like dži instead of di because that sounds better.

Okay, I wanted to remind you of this play with sounds because it happens not only with d + i(something) but, just like in Brazillian Portuguese, with t + i(something).

For example:

The Lithuanian word for he sends should be siuntia.

Do you see this tia? It’s actually t + ia that t becomes č (č is the ch sound from chili]. So:

The Lithuanian word for he sends is written siunčia.

This is not the same as with ž because ž just comes in but doesn’t kick anything out while č kicks t out. So, the rule is:

When T meets i+some other sound, T becomes č.

This is very very important and happens a lot in Lithuanian and we will see why in our future studies.

But why did I mention it now? Well, because when the word siunčia goes to the past, it acts as if it were siuntia and not siunčia. You know what it would be in the past:

?He sent.|Jis siuntė.

Just out of interest (you don’t have to remember this), I will tell you that ž pops up in other words like this as well. For example:

The Lithuanian word for he forbids is draudžia.

See that ž? Well, it’s an impostor. It only appeared there because it is d and ia meeting. If you go to the past, that ž disappears again. What, do you think, he forbade would be:

?He forbade.|Jis draudė.

Cool. Now onto the most important. We know how to get the he form for past which travels with ė. What about the other forms?

Well, the forms for we, they and the formal you act as they normally do. Say:

?We forbade it.|Mes tai draudėme.

?You (formal) were sending it.|Jūs tai siuntėte.

Remember that he waits is laukia and say:

?You (formal) were waiting.|Jūs laukėte.

So, the only thing missing until we learn how to deal with the past are the and tu forms. Well, let’s see what endings these forms like:

?I speak.|Aš kalbu.

?You (informal) speak.|Tu kalbi.

So, likes u and tu likes i. So, that’s exactly what happens in the past: they simple get the endings that belong to them... except, to make it sound more fluent, you change ė to e.

So, lets do tu.

First, he does:

?He does.|Jis daro.

?He did.|Jis darė.

Now, change that ė to e and add the ending that tu likes:

?You (informal) did.|Tu darei.

?He reads.|Jis skaito.

?You (informal) read.|Tu skaitei.

Same would happen for .

?He waits.|Jis laukia.

?He waited.|Jis laukė.

Try to guess what "I waited" would be:

?I waited.|Aš laukiau.

You should have guessed aš laukeu. This would have been correct and I remember writing like that when I was a kid. There’s just one thing that I had some trouble learning but eventually did:

There is no eu in Lithuanian except for words which come from other languages!

So, you might say Europa for Europe in Lithuanian. However, you never say laukeu because there is no eu because laukia is indeed a Lithuanian word and not foreign. So, we replace eu with iau (if you remember, these sounds are almost equal because čia is pronounced just like če).

So, let’s have some practice:

?I did.|Aš dariau.

Let’s work up to see:

?He sees.|Jis mato.

?He saw.|Jis matė.

Here’s a challenge for you:

?I saw.|Aš mačiau.

Did you get it right? It would be aš matiau but t becomes č (just like in siuntia - siunčia).

?I was reading.|Aš skaičiau.

Same here. This is one of the reasons why this t before i to č transformation is so important. In any case.

So far, we have knowledge about the past that could be more or less summarized like this:

To get to the he form of the past...

a) if the form for he doesn’t end in o or ia: you make the verb it into the infinitive (removing the s before ti if there is one) and change ti into o; then you add j inbetween ė and o or o and o when they appear or add v inbetween u and o when they appear and change all the ū in the word to u

b) if the form for "he" does end in o or ia: you change that o or ia to ė

This doesn’t look much when it’s summarized like this, does it?

We have learnt enough about the past for now. This simple knowledge should save you tons of memorization which people have to suffer if they learn via the traditional method by learning everything (all of the forms all of the time) by rote. The only downside is that this is not absolutely infallible. But, well, you can learn by rote if you prefer.

We will learn one very peculiar thing in the next lesson.

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