Lithuanian Basics: Lesson 12

You already know the ancient Lithuanian word for good. Do you want to learn the modern one?

I know you do...

The modern Lithuanian word for good is geras.

While the first one is used in greetings, this one is used everywhere else. So, remembering that bus (or autobus) is autobusas, how would you say:

?The bus is good.|Autobusas yra geras.

And, of course, the weather. It’s good today, init? Say:

?The weather is good.|Oras yra geras.

Now, try saying:

?The evening isn’t good.|Vakaras nėra geras.

The word good in that sentence is obviously not used in greeting (as in labas vakaras) but to describe the evening, so it’s geras. Pretty obvious stuff, actually.

Now, I want you to remember how to say:

?He does it.|Jis tai daro.

And from this:

?You (informal) do it.|Tu tai darai.

Awesome. Now, if somebody does something, we want to describe how he does it. For example, in English, if we have the word bad and we want to use it to describe some action, we make it into badly (as in you do it badly). So, in English we add ly to the word. In Lithuanian it’s similar:

The Lithuanian ly for words is ai. Ai is always added to the feminine version of the words.

If you have ever studied Spanish or French or Portuguese you know in these languages the ly is some version of mente which is added to the feminine version of the words as well. In Lithuanian, it’s the same, only that it’s ai.

So, for example, we have the word blogas - bad. The feminine version is bloga. You add ai and you get blogaai but Lithuanian does not like two repeating letters in the end of words so it becomes blogai.

Use this and say:

?You (informal) do it badly.|Tu tai darai blogai.

What about hotly. Could you make it:


The English word well should be goodly in English if it wasn’t an exception. In Lithuanian there is no exception about that word. It uses geras to make this gimmick. So, how would you say:

?I do it well.|Aš tai darau gerai.

Yup. So, do you remember how to say:

?He speaks.|Jis kalba.

Now, say:

?I speak well.|Aš kalbu gerai.

Try to brag:

?You (informal) speak badly but I speak well.|Tu kalbi blogai, bet aš kalbu gerai.

Now, we know how to do it... But wait, there is something missing. Remember, I told you that I would tell you (eh) the second reason why the word labas is still important in Lithuanian. I will now.

First, how do you think you would make the labas ly (or ai) form:

Well, obvious. It’s laba (feminine form) + ai = labaai, then remove the repeating a and it becomes labai.

Now, in Ancient Lithuanian it should mean well. But wait... we already have the word gerai to mean well. We don’t need a second well. Plus we are not likely to use the word well in any greetings (we just use labas and laba in greetings) so we will always dispense with gerai to mean well.

So, the question was: what do we do with the word labai?

Somebody came up with an answer. We sometimes use the word well to mean very (this book is well interesting - this book is very interesting) so... why not use this labai to mean very?

And that’s exactly what they did!

The word labai means very in Lithuanian.

So, as promised, I am telling you now: this is the second reason why the word labas is important: it’s ai form is used to mean very. Try using the word very.

?You (informal) do it very badly.|Tu tai darai labai blogai.

?You (formal) do it very well.|Jūs tai darote labai gerai.

You can use it in even more places:

?The weather is very hot.|Oras yra labai karštas.

And, let’s settle this with:

?I speak very well.|Aš kalbu labai gerai.

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