Lithuanian Essentials: Beginner's Quick Guide

As I'm learning about my Lithuanian heritage, I am also learning about the language. So far I have looked at Lithuanian greetings, some common courtesies, how to ask questions, numbers, directions, basic verbs, descriptive words, and parts of the body.

An upcoming trip to Lithuania was going to provide a really good opportunity to test out these 10 most important things to know, to get by in any language for myself and see how good my advice is! Unfortunately, due to some unforeseen medical issues with a family member, that trip is most likely going to be put off until next year. But I'm still going to finish the list. This week I'll look at the final item: vital information.

10. Vital information

Aš vegetaras. : I am a vegetarian.

Aš alergiškas... : I am allergic to …

riešutams. : to nuts.

žuviai. : to fish.

vėžiagyviams. : to shellfish.

aspirinui. : to aspirin.

antibiotikams. : to antibiotics.

penicilinui. : to penicillin.

Aš nėščia. : I am pregnant.

Sergu astma. : I am asthmatic.

Aš diabetikas. : I am diabetic.

Aš epileptikas. : I am epileptic.

Vartoju vaistus... : I’m taking medication for …

Negali girdėti. Jis kurčias. : He can’t hear you. He’s deaf.

That doesn’t cover everything, but it’s a good sample of what you should know. If you're traveling to Lithuania and you have a medical condition, legal status, or other detail which you should know about, which wasn’t listed here, learn how to say it.

Putting it together

If you’re being treated by a doctor, you can add some of these phrases to the body parts we learned, and build informative phrases like Vartoju vaistus širdžiai, to let him know I’m taking medicine for my heart.

Grammar note: The noun following goes in the genetive case, which is formed by changing the endings as follows:

Nom.-as-is-ys-a-i-is-us
Gen.-o-io-io-os-ės-ios-ies-aus

If you’re in a restaurant, you can say Ką pasiūlytumėte dėl vegetaras? to ask if the waiter can recommend something for a vegetarian. And if you have a food allergy, you can say Aš alergiškas riešutams. Ar galiu valgyti šito? to tell the waiter I’m allergic to nuts. Can I eat this?

One more note about grammar. The thing to which you are allergic should be described in the dative. For simplicity, the words I have listed above are already declined to the dative case.

Final comments

That’s the end of my ten most important things to know, for Lithuanian. This list is still untested by me. I had hoped to put it to a test next month, but now it appears that I won't be going to Lithuania until next year. Knowing me, I probably won't be able to spend the next 6-12 months without learning more Lithuanian, so I may have to look for another opportunity to test my list.

But that serves as a good reminder that you shouldn’t feel the need to limit yourself to these ten things. This is a good guideline to begin your studies, especially in preparation for travel, but there is always more to know, and no reason why you should stop after just learning what I’ve written out in my list.


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Author: Yearlyglot
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  • Wow, well I'm sorry about that. But you're right to be stubborn and insist on keeping up your Lithuanian--if you don't use it, you lose it. Have you at least had the opportunity to talk to a native speaker yet?Cheers and best wishes,
    Andrew

  • Thanks. Yeah, I'll keep learning it -- especially as it is a part of my heritage.
    One of my coworkers is Lithuanian, so I've had opportunities to speak a little with him. Of course I'm really not conversational, since I've intentionally tried to learn only the stuff for my 10 things list.

  • žuviui. -> žuviai
    to fish.
    vėžiagyviui -> vėžiagyviams (if you say vėžiagyviui, it means "a shellfish" as in I am allergic to a shellfish - particularily this one shellfish - which is in turn funny)
    vaistus už… -> vaistus (definitely no už here)
    negali išklausyti -> negali girdėti / negirdi (negali išklausyti means "he can't have a hearing of you" - like in a court or in a story - which is again funny)
    Vartoju vaistus už širdaus -> vartoju vaistus širdžiai
    You could hear say ,,vaistus nuo širdies skausmo" or perhaps you could even hear somebody say ,,vaistus nuo širdies" although the latter one does not really make sense (you are using medicine against your heart - as if the heart was a disease)

  • Thanks for corrections once again! This is my last post on Lithuanian for a while, so I'll let the Lang-8 people correct me and give you a break. :) Hopefully the next time I write something up, it won't have so many errors.With that said... just the act of writing these posts forced me to learn a lot. And your corrections and explanations have been very helpful!

  • No problem. I also love to do that: write and use the language even before I learn everything perfectly. That's one of the most efficient ways to learn and it's fun too.

  • Hi,
    I enjoyed reading this as your situation is just like mine. I also have Lithuanian ancestors and the language was not passed down further than my grandfather. I also work as a Linguist and have just recently started learning Lithuanian. I have been to Lithuania twice now and intend to go back every couple of years. Lithuanian will also help you read somewhat in Latvian (I've just returned from Latvia too!).

  • Thanks!

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