Back

Learn Lithuanian

The Lithuanian language can definitely sound different if you are not familiar with it. You will not hear a language like it anywhere else in Europe – unless you should visit our Latvian neighbours.

The Lithuanian language is very old. Indeed, it is the oldest surviving Indo-European language. Among the European languages it has preserved the greatest number of phonetic and morphological characteristics of the parent language. Like Ancient Greek, our language has preserved long and short vowel sounds, as well as vowel sounds at the end of words, and the free emphasis that was characteristic of the classical Indian language of Sanskrit. Linguists say that Lithuanian is therefore the closest, among the Indo-European languages, to the parent language of Sanskrit. with the classical Indian language of Sanskrit, as well as Latin and Ancient Greek.

The Lithuanian language has always fascinated the world’s linguists and has been admired for its complexity and beauty. As the American scholar Benjamin W. Dwight wrote in his 1859 book Modern Philology: “If the value of a nation in the sum total of humanity were to be measured by the beauty of its language, Lithuania ought to have the first place among the nations of Europe.”

Lithuanian is the mother tongue of more than 80 per cent of the country’s inhabitants and is livingly passed on to each new generation. Lithuanian is our country’s official language, and we even have a State Language Inspection Office that ensures it is correctly used in government institutions and the media.

People from around the world study Lithuanian at Vilnius University. Such studies offer a wonderful opportunity to become acquainted with the oldest living Indo-European language – to hear how it sounds and to use it in everyday life.