Lithuanian alphabet

The Lithuanian alphabet based on the Latin alphabet and includes additional diacritics. It is a largely phonetic alphabet, which is used exclusively for the posting of Lithuanian standard language. For the Samogitian dialect exists a modified form of the Lithuanian alphabet.


1) Ch has the phonetic value of [ x], similar to the German ch in ach.

2) The h is a velar fricative, similar to the High German ( unrolled ) r in rates.

3) The i softened ( palatalized ) the preceding consonant. Follows directly to the i one of the vowels a, o, or u, so that i is not spoken. The combination ia pronounced like e, Ia like ę, iai as ei and so on. An exception to this form of foreign words such as zodiakas [ zɔ ː d ʲ ː ijæ kɑs ].

4) This sound is in German only in foreign words before, for example G in gelatin.

The pronunciation information is only a recommendation dar. Who followed, will be understood by one of Lithuanians without problems. On allophonic variants of different letters is noted in the article about the Lithuanian language in phonetics.

A ± and are classified in the same place in the alphabet, as well as e, e and e; i, į and y; and u, u and u. It is therefore quite conceivable that in a dictionary inžinierius ( engineer), YPAC ( especially) and įpakuoti ( pack ) are directly behind the other. In contrast, š č is to c, sorted by s to z and ž. Saka ( branch) and sakai ( resin ) are together so far.

Tone marks

In dictionaries, the emphasis of the words is usually given. Since the Lithuanian three different sounds familiar, this diacritic with different characters can be specified. Here is the grave ` for the short tone, characteristic of Stoßtons is acute 'and the Schleifton one symbolized by the tilde ~, referred to in the Lituanistik as a caret. The i- point always remains preserved. A load the Schleifton on a diphthong ( in Lithuanian these also include compounds of a vowel with a sonorant Protestant consonants m, n, l or r ), the tilde is on the second part. In il, im, in, ir, ul, to, un, ur, and ui the Stoßton by Gravis, with the other diphthongs by the acute on the first component is displayed.

The following table lists all the vowels and diphthongs occurring with the possible tones:

1) During a and e are always short in unstressed syllables, these sounds occur in stressed syllables almost always schleiftönig (especially long) on. Stoßtöniges é comes only in the per- prefix, if this is followed by a vowel ( otherwise it is a diphthong ). Short -fitting à or è found only in grammatical endings, prefixes in the verb, in closed syllables in the verb stem, as well as uninflected parts of speech ( interjections, conjunctions, prepositions, particles ). Moreover, it is stressed e in foreign words usually short: universitetas, kritèrijus, Presas.

2) Ou and short ò occur only in foreign words.

3) Oi occurs only in foreign words, foreign words, interjections and dialectal expressions.

Sound-letter mapping

The Lithuanian spelling follows phonetic principles in the first place. Nevertheless, the relationship of different words in spelling is considered. Thus, the prefix is written už - in užkandis ( appetizer) with ž, although [ ʲ d ʲ ʊʃkan ɪs ] is spoken. The reason for this is that the same prefix in užaugti ( grow ) comprises voiced [ ʒ ]. By comparison, the German word forest writes not with t because you can hear the d in forests.

The letters ą, ę, į and ų are primarily used for the identification of grammatical phenomena. You will always be used for example for the endings of the accusative singular or genitive plural; also they are of such verbs that push it into some forms an n or m behind the vowel in the root. In addition, it is called unstressed a or e always short; ą or ę, however long, so this distinction is audible. Words that contain a į, can also words related with ą or ę own (internal flexion), see for example dristi ( dare ) and drąsus ( brave ). Words with the same wording y can not.

The distinction between e and ia is solely grammatical in nature. In the root word s is always written, as in most of the suffixes. The basic rule for the case of Lithuanian endings states that e can occur only where another form has a ė. The suffix - iav ( for Präteritumformen ) and foreign language suffixes such as - iacija ( " - ation " in German ) are the only examples in which ia not occur in the ending. The diphthong [ æʊ ] is always eu in foreign words, always written iau in Lithuanian words.