How To Ask Questions In Lithuanian

In anticipation of a coming trip to Lithuania this fall, I wanted to learn a little about the language. I decided this would be a good opportunity for me to put my list of the 10 most important things to know, to get by in any language to the test.

We've already learned some Lithuanian greetings, and some common courtesies. This week, we'll learn how to ask questions.

3. Questions

I had initially expected Lithuanian question words to be difficult, as the parent language of those complicated Slavic languages. But while they do turn out to be just a bit more difficult than question words in vulgar Latin languages, they're actually not so bad — and much easier than Russian or Polish.

Kas? : Who?

Kas? : What?

Kur? : Where?

Kada? : When?

Kaip? : How?

Kiek? : How much/many?

Kuris? : Which?

Kodėl? : Why?

Už ką? : For what?

Kam? : To whom?

Su kuo? : With whom?

Iš kur? : From where?

Kur yra ...? : Where is ...?

Kur jūs dabar einate? : Where are you going now?

Kas tai? : Who (or what) is this?

Koks jūsų vardas? : What is your name?

Kiek tai kainuoja? : How much does it cost?

Kiek valandų? : What time is it?

Basic answers might include:

Taip. : Yes.

Ne. : No.

Gal. : Maybe.

Galbūt. : Maybe.

Notes

I immediately took note of the fact that who? and what? both use the same word. Conceptually, this isn't a problem for me, as I'm already used to calling things he or she. (Most languages lack a word for it.) But it's interesting to me that this is the first time I'm seeing no difference in the question word.

That question word, kas, goes through full noun declension, which is why we see who and what appearing in the various forms kas, , kam, and kuo. There are actually seven noun cases (but I'll leave out the vocative because it doesn't make sense to ask who or what in that form):

nominativekas
accusative
genetiveko
dativekam
instumentalkuo
locativekame

While the noun declension can make things a little more difficult with who/what questions — especially if you're not previously accustomed to that with any other language — the good news is that the rest of the question words are completely straightforward. I was surprised to see that where questions don't change form to reflect motion.


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  • Although you have written it, I guess it's still worth pointing out that "what?" is usually "ką" (accusative of "kas") as in "what are you doing" because it usually comes in accusative.Then "kainuoija" is actually spelled "kainuoja" and "gal" and "galbūt" both are contractions of "gali būti" which means "may be" (English "maybe" is also a contraction of the same).Ir bet kuriuo atveju, sekmės keliaujant po Lietuvą. Į kokius miestus ketini važiuoti ir kiek laiko truks tavo atostogos?

  • Thanks for pointing out the spelling error. I don't know why, but my fingers insist on typing an "i" every time I use that -uoja ending!Aš vis dar nenusprendė, kiek laiko truks mano atostogos. Galbūt 8 dienias. Galbūt mažiau. It depends on my father - he's going with me. We'll definitely go to Vilnius and Kaunas, and we want to see the hill of crosses. But we haven't yet decided on what else to do. Do you have suggestions?

  • "Nenusprendžiau". "Nenusprendė" is for "he has not decided.That sounds good. The standard touristy route is also Trakai which I think you will still go to, then there's Neringa, Palanga and all the seaside cities which are worth a visit at least once I guess (although they are a bit crowded during the summer but that is the only time to go anyway). The curonian spit is worth seeing (as in described shortly here in LP: https://www.lonelyplanet.com.... The hill of crosses is in my mind nothing special really. One Estonian girl who saw it to whom I talked not a very long time ago described it as "Well, it is really a hill" and I think that's a good summary.

  • I'm happy to be constructing sentences at all, so I'm okay with the fact that I'll make some grammatical errors. After my experiment with the "10 things" list is done, I'll get into learning more grammar and make an honest effort to learn Lithuanian. But for now, I'm actually trying to force myself to keep it dumbed down a bit! :)Sure, the hill of crosses is probably just, well, a hill. With some crosses. But there is nothing like that here, and while it's interesting enough to me, it will likely be something my father will remember for the rest of his life. So that's significant, even if it seems strange to a native.We're planning for September, so that's after summer, but hopefully before bitter cold. I'd really like to be there when the trees change color.

  • How do you say / write "gold glitters I
    Even in the mud" in lithuanian?

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