Lithuanian Basics: Lesson 1

This is a course in Lithuanian.

A few notes first:

First of all, this is an intermediate course which starts at the very beginning, but if you are a complete beginner, I would suggest you first do the Introduction to Lithuanian course - this course has audio and a more user-friendly format, therefore it is arguably a better place to start. Then, after that course, you can come back to this one.

Second, unlike the Introduction course, this course does not have audio (one of the reasons I recommend you do the Introduction course first). Learning Lithuanian works a little bit better in audio, although it is not critical, as Lithuanian is a very phonetic language (meaning words are pronounced the way they are written) so learning the pronunciation is not very hard.

And, last but not least, check out Cooljugator for Lithuanian verb conjugation and, once you get more advanced, the Lithuanian Interlinear book by Biliūnas.

Alright, with those out of the way, let’s begin.

So, the Lithuanian words are pretty straightforward to pronounce.

The word for he is jis.

The word for has is turi.

Think of writing "he has a turtle". Also, these short words, including turi in he has, are usually stressed on the beginning, so it is pronounced like: túri. Try some answering:

?He has|Jis turi

The word for it is "tai".

You can remember it by noticing tai is "it" backwards with an a in the middle.

Now, Lithuanian is pretty free in word order. Naturally, however, in short sentences tai goes in the middle so "he has it" would be "he it has". Try it.

?He has it.|Jis tai turi.

Carry on, shall we? Let’s learn another crucial word this is just as simple.

Wants is nori.

Think that if Chuck Norris wants something, he gets it. Let’s try:

?He wants.|Jis nori.

You know what, let’s add one more.

Can as in he can is gali.

We don’t usually say that in English, but in Lithuanian you can say "he can it" (which means he can do it). Try saying that.

?He can (do) it.|Jis tai gali.

Lithuanian for and is ir. Try something more difficult:

?He wants and has.|Jis nori ir turi.

Let’s add one more word you may want to know in Lithuanian.

Hears (as in he hears) is girdi.

?He hears it.|Jis tai girdi.

Pretty simple. Let’s learn how to negate things. Our answer to negation lies in the word negation.

Lithuanian for not is ne.

If you want to say He doesn’t want you simply say He not wants in Lithuanian. The same was as he can’t is He not can. Try it.

?He does not hear.|Jis negirdi.

?He does not want.|Jis nenori.

Okay, now, a strange thing happens. The word ne does not like tai. In fact, they are enemies. They just can’t go together. For this reason, something occurs:

Whenever there is ne used, tai changes to to.

So, if you want to say he does not hear it, you use ne and to instead of tai. The phrase would be jis to negirdi. Try it yourself.

?He does not have it.|Jis to neturi.

?He does not want it and he doesn’t have it.|Jis to nenori ir jis to neturi.

That’s the full version which is totally correct. However, Lithuanian dislikes repetition, so more likely they would say something like: Jis to nenori ir neturi.

Okay, now, this word is too simple not to learn it in the first lesson.:

The word for but in Lithuanian is bet.

Try applying it.

?He does not have it but he hears it.|Jis to neturi, bet jis tai girdi.

Do you notice how to is only used after ne, and if there isn’t ne, then to is in its normal form tai? Okay.

Let’s add one last thing to this story and we’ll be done for the first lesson. First, let’s say something:

?He does not want it.|Jis to nenori.

Right. Now, here is the interesting thing. Nori and ne are allies. (Has it something to do that they both begin with the same letter? Just a pure coincidence, I think!) They both don’t like tai. In fact, they don’t like it so much so that nori acts just like ne: it makes tai change to to.

So, for example, even if you wanted to say he wants it, even though there is no ne in the sentence, but there is nori so tai still changes. See for yourself.

?He wants it.|Jis to nori.

See? Try a longer phrase.

?He wants it but he does not have it.|Jis to nori, bet jis to neturi.

?He doesn’t have it and and he wants it but he doesn’t hear it.|Jis to neturi ir jis to nori, bet jis to negirdi.

Interesting, isn’t it? Well, I think we are done with the first lesson.

Oh, and by the way, just for the record: these words aren’t enemies and allies in the exact sense of the word. It just helps to think so to remember them. There are, of course, exact rules why this occurs (which are not so difficult) and you are going to find out about them if you carry on learning Lithuanian. For now, just think ne and tai are enemies.

Okay, we’re done.

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