Introduction to Lithuanian Basics:
Lesson 35

By Linas

Lithuanian has these little quirks like pa which modify words a bit. There are a lot like pa that come at the beginning of words. Truth is, there is one that comes at the end of words and is pretty handy so we will be learning it now.

Let’s talk about actions a bit. I’ll get you an example.

Lithuanian word for he washes (as in he washes a car, somebody’s hands, etc. is plauna.

Do you remember the word for a head?

A head

Answer: Galva
Not correct. Please try again.

If you wanted to use a head as an object in a sentence, you would change it into galvą (don’t worry about the details, we will be learning them in future lessons: just remember that you will say galvą instead of galva in the future sentences in this lesson).

If you wanted to say he washes a head, you would say that literally in the same word order (except there is no word for a in Lithuanian so you skip it). Say it:

He is washing a head.

Answer: Jis plauna galvą.
Not correct. Please try again.

This sentence means that he is washing somebody’s head. Usually, though, if you find yourself in a situation where you are washing a head, it’s your own head.

In Lithuanian, if you say plauna, you mean washes. If you want to direct an action to yourself, you would add something...

You add si to the end of words in Lithuanian to direct an action to the person who is being talked about!

If we were all grammar-like, we would say that si is the reflexive form but we don’t need to. We just need to know that si makes the action more related to who we are speaking about.

While plauna means washes, we could say plaunasi and that would mean washes to himself.

So, if you wanted to say he is washing his head, you would simply say he is washing a head and you would add that si to turn the action to the subject of the sentence: him. This would imply that he is washing his head.

He is washing his head.

Answer: Jis plaunasi galvą.
Not correct. Please try again.

Therefore, it’s pretty simple and if you have si, you don’t need to specify whose head he is washing and just say a head.

You could also avoid using si and actually say he washes HIS head should you wish to do so but si makes things more simple so Lithuanians tend to use it.

Lithuanian word for cuts (as in to cut using scissors) is kerpa.

If you wanted to use the word for hair as an object you would say plaukus. Also, you are actually saying hairs instead of hair because Lithuanians thing there are many hairs instead of just one. You don’t need to remember this word because we will be using it just as an example here.

How do you think one would say he is cutting his hair:

He is cutting his hair.

Answer: Jis kerpasi plaukus.
Not correct. Please try again.

What about:

He is washing his hair.

Answer: Jis plaunasi plaukus.
Not correct. Please try again.

In fact, you could even say simply, for example, jis kerpasi without saying hair and Lithuanians would understand that you are implying hair and saying he is cutting his hair.

In some cases, you could use si for senses even more interesting then the one I have described. For example, what is Lithuanian for he does:

He does.

Answer: Jis daro.
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Daro not only means he does but it can also mean he makes!

What if you said he does and directed the action does to him by adding si? Well, you would get jis darosi which would have two possibilities:

a) it could mean that he is doing/making something for himself (for example, doing his homework for himself, doing (i.e. building) a house for himself, etc.)

b) it could mean that he is doing/making himself into something, or, if you think about it, to be making yourself into something is actually to be turning himself into something or to be becoming something.

I am aware that the second meaning is a bit more distant and a bit harder to read but it’s just a matter of wrapping your head around it. The idea is pretty simple: by saying he is making myself good you mean he is becoming good.

Use this second meaning and say:

He is becoming good.

Answer: Jis darosi geras.
Not correct. Please try again.

This si thing is actually very useful because you have one word less to learn if you know that you can use daryti + si.

We have just introduced si, we will continue talking about how it works, and more importantly, we’ll be learning how to use it in the next lecture.