Introduction to Lithuanian Basics:
Lesson 21

By Linas

Let’s talk about the infinitives. If you remember, you form them accordingly for each a, i and o separately.

Let’s start with i and get back the skills.

He is silent is jis tyli.

In English, you don’t say that but in Lithuanian you have a word for to be silent. Thus jis tyli means literally more or less he is silenting (or he silents). Can you deliver:

To be silent

Answer: Tylėti
Not correct. Please try again.

Use this infinitive:

She doesn’t want to be silent but she is silent.

Answer: Ji nenori tylėti, bet ji tyli.
Not correct. Please try again.

Thus, for i you change i to ėti.

What about o?

Lithuanian for she sees is ji mato.

Make to see:

To see

Answer: Matyti
Not correct. Please try again.

She wants to see it but she doesn’t see it.

Answer: Ji nori tai matyti, bet ji to nemato.
Not correct. Please try again.

I see it but she doesn’t want to see it.

Answer: Aš tai matau, bet ji nenori to matyti.
Not correct. Please try again.

Thus, o becomes yti.

Well, as a matter of fact, there are a couple of exceptions to this o to yti rule.

In the exception to yti rule, these words change the ending not into yti but into oti.

These words are very very few and they can probably be counted on fingers (at least the ones that come to my mind). Also, they are very very rear, words such as to lie (as in: to lie in the shadow) – tūnoti except two “oti” instead of “yti” word which are not rear.

One is... to know.

Lithuanian for he knows is jis žino.

Remember, that ž is from pleasure.

Knowing that it is an oti instead of yti word, say:

To know.

Answer: Žinoti
Not correct. Please try again.

The other one is to search.

Lithuanian for he searches is jis ieško.

It's another oti instead of yti word. How would you say:

To search

Answer: Ieškoti
Not correct. Please try again.

We won't be using this word for some time so you don't have to remember it well now but we will get back to it and remind you of it eventually.

That’s it. Not painful, was it?

So, again:

O changes to yti to form the infinitive except for žino and ieško!

We have dealt with forming the infinitives for o and i verbs successfully. The only one left is a and it is more complicated because there isn’t a single rule that could let you form the infinitives infallibly. I have, though, taught you the general A which is to take the last a off and change it to ti. We will be learning some exceptions to the general A, as well as quite a few new verbs in the next few lessons (including this one). Let’s start with to speak.

What is he speaks in:

She speaks Lithuanian.

Answer: Ji kalba lietuviškai.
Not correct. Please try again.

Kalba is pretty close to the general A. You could try to apply it. If you applied it, it would be kalba – a + ti = kalb + ti = kalbti. This would probably be understood.

However, here is what happens in practice: Lithuanian finds lbti not very elegant to pronounce so it smuggles another ė in there and it becomes kalbėti. So, even though a is a, it looks as if it was one of the i crowd in terms of forming the infinitive.

I want to speak Lithuanian.

Answer: Aš noriu kalbėti lietuviškai.
Not correct. Please try again.

Now, you know how to form the future. Say:

She will speak Lithuanian.

Answer: Ji kalbės lietuviškai.
Not correct. Please try again.

Did you remember how kalbės should be kalbėsi but it dropped its i because it’s the form for she (which is the same as the form for he or they). Try informally:

You will not speak Lithuanian.

Answer: Tu nekalbėsi lietuviškai.
Not correct. Please try again.


I will speak Lithuanian tomorrow.

Answer: Aš rytoj kalbėsiu lietuviškai.
Not correct. Please try again.

Kalbėti is one of the very few or maybe even alone with this ė thing among all the a verbs. However, it is an easy exception to remember (just remember that kalba is the ė that hangs out with i verbs) and it is kind of important so I had to mention it.

As we are done with a short summary and with kalbėti, we will be talking about some more patterns a verbs use now.