Introduction to Lithuanian Topic- Participles:
Lesson 4

By Linas

Welcome back!

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

We also learnt that the by-participle is formed by adding nt instead of ing, and there’s a small glitch with the ont turning into an ant.

We also learnt that we can simply add the is (masculine) or i (feminine) ending to the by-participle to turn it into a participle.

And we were also introduced to the shortening rule (but just for the masculine ending) where an anti becomes just an ą (or an inti becomes just an į).

All good so far.

Now let’s get back to the fact that the by-participles are impersonal. As we have already talked about, one way to make them personal would be by adding the pronouns (man, tau, jums, etc.) or nouns in dative. But is there another way?

You would think, maybe it would be enough to use a participle instead and that would make the by-participles personal? But actually not, because the participles are adjectives that can refer to anyone in the sentence.

Thus we have a invented a special kind of participle that refers to the one doing the action in the sentence (the agent or the subject). Since it only refers to the one doing the action, it’s only a half-assed kind of a participle, and it’s called just that: half-participle - pusdalyvis.

Lithuanians were probably thinking dam it, do we really need another participle? Because:

To form the half-participle, you add dam to the infinitive form without the infinitive ending ti, and add the appropriate masculine (as) or feminine (a) ending.

Thus, for example, turėti was to have. You take away the ti and get turė, and then you add dam and you get turėdam. Then you add the feminine ending a and you get turėdama, which is the half-participle (pusdalyvis) form.

Since the pusdalyvis refers to an action that an agent of the sentence must be doing, there must always be an agent indicated in the sentence.

Let’s form a sentence. First, how do you say:

I read

Answer: Aš skaitau.
Not correct. Please try again.

And now try it with the pusdalyvis (use the feminine form here):

I read while walking.

Answer: Aš skaitau eidama.
Not correct. Please try again.

Could you say "Aš skaitau einant"? Well, you would probably be understood but the difference is that einant leaves the possibility that someone else is doing the walking (for example: aš skaitau, jam einant - I read while he is walking), while eidama clarifies it - it must refer to the agent (or subject) of the sentence, the in this case.

Use a half-participle to say:

I eat while I think about you.

Answer: Aš valgau galvodamas apie tave.
Not correct. Please try again.

You could use a simple by-participle instead of a half-participle, but a by-participle would leave the possibility that someone else is doing the action, thus Aš valgau galvojant apie tave would leave the option open that someone else (and not me) is thinking about you while I eat, thus Lithuanians prefer to use a half-participle to avoid all doubt.

Finally, say (having in mind that he is also doing the driving):

he talks while driving

Answer: jis kalba vairuodamas
Not correct. Please try again.

By contrast, you could use a by-participle and say "he talks while his brother is driving". His brother (in the dative case) is "jo broliui", thus that would be:

he talks while his brother is driving

Answer: jis kalba jo broliui vairuojant
Not correct. Please try again.

So the half-participle clears up all doubt.

Hope that is clear!