If you’re looking for languages similar to Lithuanian, you should go for Latvian. In addition, old Prussian and Polish also have similarities with this language.
These languages share some common features with Lithuanian. So if you’re interested in learning a language like Lithuanian, these are good options.
Languages Similar To Lithuanian – Here Are 3 Languages!
Language is a medium of communication. It is a system for the expression of thoughts and feelings.
Due to cultural diversity, an estimated 6700 languages are present today. Lithuanian is one of them.
Lithuanian is the official language of Lithuania, a country located in Eastern Europe. It is also one of the 24 official languages of the European Union.
About 2.96 million native Lithuanian speakers in Lithuania and about 170,000 abroad.
Not many people know about this language. But it is the most conservative living Indo-European languages. It belongs to the Baltic branch of the Indo-European language family.
The Baltic languages are a group that includes Lithuanian, Latvian, and Old Prussian.
These languages are all closely related, with similarities in grammar and vocabulary. People who love to learn unique languages may like learning Lithuanian.
Moreover, those who already understand Lithuanian can learn Latvian, Old Prussian, and some Polish with a little effort.
Latvian Is The Most Closely Related Living Language To Lithuanian
The Latvian language (latviešu valoda) is the official state language of Latvia. It is one of the official languages of the European Union.
It has about 2 million native Latvian speakers in Latvia and about 100,000 in abroad.
Further, this is a closely related living language to Lithuanian. In fact, back in the day, these languages were one language. There were just two dialects, the Latvian-Lithuanian dialect.
After centuries of different rules and cultural influences, these languages have diverged significantly.
Nevertheless, a Latvian speaker can understand about 60% of Lithuanians and vice versa.
This shows both languages share some similarities. Here we will see some commonalities between the Lithuanian and Latvian languages.
1. Baltic Language Family:
Lithuanian and Latvian languages are part of the Baltic language family.
A language family is a group of languages related through descent from a common ancestor. Languages of a family have common features.
Similarly, the Baltic language is a language family and shares certain features.
Lithuanian and Latvian languages are two languages of the Baltic language family. So, both languages have common features such as syntax, some vocabulary words, etc.
The grammar of Lithuanian and Latvian are also quite similar. Like, nouns in Lithuanian have gender, case, and number, just like in Latvian.
For example, the Lithuanian word for “table” (stalo) is masculine. At the same time, the Latvian word for “table” (Galdi) is feminine. So, gender is important in both languages.
The two languages also share some similarities in pronunciation. For instance, Lithuanian and Latvian both have a pitch accent.
It means that the stressed syllable in a word is pronounced at a higher pitch than the other syllables. A higher pitch typically indicates a long vowel.
And both languages use pitch to differentiate between words with the same sound.
4. Vowel Harmony:
Lithuanian and Latvian also have what’s called vowel harmony. It means that the vowels in a word usually match up in terms of quality.
So, if a word has a front vowel, like /i/ or /e/, then all the other vowels in that word will also be front.
The same goes for back vowels. This harmony rule doesn’t apply to every word, but it’s a big feature of both languages.
Regarding vocabulary, Lithuanian and Latvian share around 60% of their words. This is higher than the percentage of shared words between English and German (around 40%).
An example is the word “head” in Lithuanian (Galva) and Latvian ( Galva), which are cognates. It means they come from the same roots in their ancestor’s languages.
Syntax (or word order) is the style in which words form phrases and sentences. Lithuanian and Latvian have very similar syntax.
For example, the sentence “I am going to the store” would be “Esu einu į parduotuvę” in Lithuanian. The same SVO order exists in Latvian.
7. Writing System:
Scripts used to write Lithuanian and Latvian are also quite similar. Both languages use the Latin alphabet with a few additional letters.
This also makes them easily accessible for English speakers.
8. Official Languages:
Both languages are official languages of the European Union.
In case you didn’t know, there are 24 official languages in the EU. For example, Lithuanian is the official language of Lithuania. While Latvian is also the official language of Latvia.
If you’re looking for languages similar to Lithuanian that are also useful for business or travel, Latvian is a good choice.
Old Prussian Share Some Similarities With Lithuanian
Old Prussian was a West Baltic language. It was common in parts of present-day Germany, Poland, and Russia.
It is now extinct, meaning that no speakers of the language exist.
However, some scholars believe that old Prussian shares some similarities with Lithuanian. This is because both languages are part of the Baltic language family.
Although this language is now extinct, it can still give you knowledge of Lithuanian.
Moreover, Lithuanian is an old language. So, this language can help you understand the history and culture of the Baltic region.
1. A Part Of The Baltic Group:
Baltic languages are a sub-branch of the Indo-European languages. Old Prussian was a Baltic language.
It was the language of the people living in parts of present-day Lithuania and Belarus. This language is now extinct.
Still, Lithuanian and Latvian languages have many similarities with Old Prussian.
The reason is that they had common ancestors who spoke languages from the same branch.
When two languages share a common family, most of the time, they tend to share common features.
2. Shared Vocabulary:
Old Prussian and Lithuanian languages are very similar in terms of words. There are several words of Old Prussian origin in Lithuanian.
For example, the word for ‘sun’ in Lithuanian is ‘saule’, which comes from the old Prussian word ‘saulai’.
Moreover, there are some words that speakers of both languages would understand. Even if they are not from the same root, they can still get it.
For instance, the word “brother” is “bratas” in Lithuanian, “brats” in Latvian, and “brālis” in Old Prussian.
3. Free Word Order:
Free word order means that the order of words in a sentence does not determine its meaning.
This is different from languages like English, where word order is very important.
For example, “I see a cat” has a different meaning from “A cat see I.”
In Lithuanian and old Prussian, the word order is not as important. This is because of inflection (the way words change to show grammatical meaning).
4. Use The Latin Alphabet:
The Lithuanian and old Prussian languages use the Latin alphabet. It includes letters such as A, B, C, D, etc.
This is the popular alphabet in English, Spanish, French, Lithuanian, old Prussian, etc. So both languages use similar alphabets.
5. A Rich History And Culture:
Old Prussian and Lithuanian are the languages that hold the key to understanding the history and culture of the Baltic region.
Lithuanian is one of the oldest languages in Europe, with records of its use dating back to the 13th century.
Old Prussian, on the other hand, was used by the ancient people who inhabited the region we now know as Lithuania and parts of Latvia and Estonia.
Both languages are no longer spoken by native speakers. Still, they are an important part of Baltic culture and history.
Polish Is A Distant Relative Of Lithuanian
The Polish language is the official language of Poland. It belongs to the West Slavic branch of the Slavic languages and is closely related to Czech and Slovak.
While Lithuanian belongs to the Baltic branch of the Indo-European languages.
Some people think Lithuanian and Polish cannot be similar as branches are different.
Well, both languages share some common points. This is true that they are not much alike, but still, Polish is a distant relative of Lithuanian.
If you focus on Lithuanian, only Latvian is similar to this. Old Prussian is already outdated, so if Polish has similarities, we should not ignore them.
1. Polish And Lithuanian Are From The Indo-European Family:
The languages Polish and Lithuanian come from the Indo-European family. This is the largest language family in the world.
While both languages are Indo-European, they come from different branches of that family.
Lithuanian is a Baltic language, while Polish is a Slavic language. Although subgroups are different, both still belong to the parent branch.
2. They Share Some Common Grammar Rules:
There are similarities in the grammar rules between the Polish and Lithuanian languages.
For example, both languages use the accusative case to show the direct object of a sentence.
Like, in Lithuanian, people add an -a ending to a word. On the contrary, in Polish, you can add an -ę ending for the same purpose.
Also, both languages use the genitive case to show possession. In Lithuanian, adding an -o ending to a word do the job, while in Polish, adding an -u ending has the same purpose.
The letter might be different but the key style to convey meaning is the same in both cases.
3. Both Languages Have Similar Word Order:
Word order is an important part of any language. It is the order in which words are set in a sentence.
Lithuanian and Polish have very similar word orders. For example, both languages use the SVO (Subject-Verb-Object) word order in most cases.
This means that the subject comes first, followed by the verb, and then the object.
For example, in the sentence “I am eating a sandwich”, “I” is the subject, “am eating” is the verb, and “a sandwich” is the object. The same order exists in both languages.
Why Lithuania Has Fewer Similar Languages?
Before starting a new language, everyone asks themselves how difficult it will be.
To have an estimation, they try to find languages similar to the one they want to learn. This helps them to imagine the difficulty level and what methods could be useful.
Generally, things go well. But, when you try to find the languages as Lithuanian, the results are very disappointing.
There are not many languages similar to Lithuanian. So people find it frustrating when they can’t get much about the Lithuanian.
– One reason for the Lithuanian not having much similar language is its age. It is one of the oldest languages in the world. People say that it was first spoken around 3,000 years ago.
– Further, the language has been isolated for a long time. This isolation has allowed the language to develop independently from other languages.
For this reason, Lithuanian is an “exotic” language.
– Moreover, the language holder did not have much contact with neighboring countries.
That is why today we can say that Lithuanian is one of the most mysterious languages in Europe.
– In addition, people who speak Lithuanian did not try to influence other languages. Instead, they converted themselves to languages spoken in neighboring countries.
– Finally, not having much technical and modern knowledge in Lithuanian is a reason. Due to this, the language went through a severe decline in the 20th century.
Lithuanian is an old language with the very limited speaker.
There are only three languages similar to Lithuanian. These are Latvian at first rank, followed by old Prussian and Polish.
If you want to have a deeper knowledge of Lithuanian, knowing these languages can help you. However, learning about a less popular language is a challenging job.
You might need extra effort because Lithuanian is not much known outside its region.
Nevertheless, it can be rewarding to learn a language with such a long and interesting history.
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