Basic Introduction to Participles in Lithuanian: Lesson 2

So we had galvoti-galvoja-galvojo, turėti-turi-turėjo, and valgyti-valgo-valgė. Think, have, eat.

Believe it or not, these are the most basic forms of verb in Lithuanian.

The simplest and most basic form of participle in Lithuanian is actually, quite literally, the by participle - padalyvis.

Padalyvis (the by-participle) is akin to adding ing to the end of the verb in English, except in Lithuanian it’s actually not ing but nt.

We add it to the relevant form of the verb (be it present, past or future). We’ll be talking about the PRESENT in this lesson.

Hence we have galvoja (the present form of to think). How do you think we would say: while thinking.

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Yup. It’s that easy.

What about:

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There’s a small preference for certain kinds of eusocial insects in Lithuanian. For some reason, when Lithuanian has ont it just can’t miss an opportunity to turn it into an ant. Having this in mind, how would you say:

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Yup, not valgont as you would expect - just gotta get that ant in.

The by-participle (padalyvis) is a pretty impersonal form that just refers to while doing something.

One uses the by-participle (padalyvis) when the person doing the action is unclear, unimportant, or detached from the action. In other words, one uses the by-participle when one talks about things that one (or "man" in German, "on" in French, etc.) does.

(See what I did there in that explanation?)

Let’s get some examples in. For that to work, I’ll have to teach you some words.

The Lithuanian word for better in its adverbial form (don’t worry if you don’t know that this means, basically the form we will be using) is geriau.

Having this in mind, how would you say it is better to think while eating. (Hint: you would only need 3 words for that, as you skip the it is):

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In English, you would translate it either as one thinks better when one eats, or perhaps it is easier to think while eating is something along those lines. The point is: the action is not related to some particular person (not you or me) but just the "one".

Let’s get a few more examples. Let’s try to say it is better to live when one has friends.

First, you’ll be saying literally better to-live while-having friends.

Remember that you derive "to live" from the word alive - gyvas.

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Now when you use turi you have tu use the genitive (don’t worry if you don’t get this yet - we’re focusing only on the participles right now), and the plural genitive for friends is draugų.

How would you thus say:

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The point, again, is that this form is impersonal.

Let’s get one last example in before we wrap the by-participle up.

Try to use the Lithuanian word for wheel (which is vairas) to derive the word for to drive:

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Now how about:

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It’s just one word (the "ne" gets attached to the verb in writing).

So try saying:

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Yup! Completely legit sentence (even though there is a slight preference to saying valgant geriau nevairuoti in Lithuanian but I suppose that is just for emphasis).

So I hope you get it: the nt or the ing form or the by-participle is a pretty dull form that refers to an abstract person, no person in particular.

We’ll try to sprinkle it up in the next lesson.

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