The Lithuanian language belongs to the Baltic branch of the Indo-European language family (see Baltic, languages). Within the Baltic group it forms a more restricted unity with the Latvian language as opposed to the language of the ancient Prussians, extinct in the century. XVII but known from documents. The main characters in which Lithuanian and Latvian differ have been indicated under the heading Latvia. However, it can be noted that in Lithuanian the mobility of the accent gives rise to a variety of types in each declension which creates considerable difficulties for those who learn the language. Also noteworthy is the fact that in two languages so closely related the adjective forms the comparative in a completely different way, that is, in Lithuanian with the final – èsnis (which holds a remainder of the suffix indoeur. * – jes), in Latvian with – ā ks (indoeur. * -ā qos). In conjugation the Lithuanian it fashioned a new imperfect (marked by endings – Daviau – daviai, – dav ė etc.), Which does not do coll’imperfetto indoors, disappeared in the Baltic as in almost all European languages, nor has feedback in Latvian. For Lithuania religion and languages, please check ezinereligion.com.
Linguistic Lithuania is not the same as political Lithuania. Lithuanian actually enters Latvia only briefly, where the linguistic island of Cīskodas marks the extreme limit of its diffusion in the north, since the Lithuanians residing in Riga are to be considered as emigrants like those established in England and in the two Americas. The German border also divides the Lithuanians living in the so-called minor Lithuania south of Nemunas from their homeland. The Polish border, on the other hand, penetrates very deeply into the Lithuanian linguistic territory. In return, there are several Polish nuclei within the borders of Lithuania; nor do you lack Russian, German and Hebrew linguistic islands (Yiddisch). We cannot neglect the Lithuanians who emigrated especially to the United States, not only because they represent a large part of the whole nation and although they have become bilingual they remain tenaciously attached to the language of their fathers, but also because in times when in Lithuania, especially in the part subject to the Russia, literature was suffocated by exorbitant political measures, the Lithuanian colonies of America were very active centers of national culture.
Lithuanian dialects fall into two main groups: Upper Lithuanian and Lower Lithuanian. The different treatment of the phonemes tj, dj in the two groups is usually taken as discriminating factor ; but since the results are resp. d ž, characteristic of Upper Lithuanian, are also found in a fraction of Lower Lithuanian, it seems more convenient to base the distinction on the fact that to the diphthongs ie, uo of Upper Lithuanian the Lithuanian low responds with ī, ū (SE zone.) and with ẹ i, ọ u (zone NO.): e.g., píenas p ī ns péins “milk”, dúona, d ū na dóuna “bread”. The low Lithuanian or Samogitian or žemaitic (from ž emas “low” derives ž ema ī tis “resident of the low lands”, a name that responds better to the geographical reality of the past than to today) occupies an area limited by the Baltic sea, from the Latvian linguistic border and from a line that can be indicated approximately by fixing the points: Vegeriai, Šiauliai, Raseiniai, Eržvilkas, Tauragė, Katyčiai and Rusnė. In Upper Lithuanian there are two dialectal areas, one in the west, contiguous to the Samogyian territory and more restricted, the other to the east and wider. It is saidEastern Lithuanian the complex of dialects spoken in this one, and Middle Lithuanian the other, which is the one on which today’s literary language is based.
The documentation of Lithuanian begins with the translation of the Lutheran catechism and of a certain number of liturgical chants made by M. Mažvydas (Königsberg 1547). However, the most ancient Lithuanian relic, if authentic, would be a poem whose text reached us woven on a silk ribbon with the date 1512. The study of Lithuanian, already cultivated in the country in the previous two centuries, entered the modern phase with Laut – und Tonlehre by F. Kurschat (Königsberg 1849), who then gave the most copious grammar of the native language, after a great German glottologist, A. Schleicher, dictated the first scientific grammar and showed the importance of Lithuanian for Indo-European linguistics. Not a few illustrious scholars of this have been (A. Leskien, A. Bezzenberger) and are (E. Fraenkel, E. Hermann) valiant Lithuanians. In the resurrected Lithuania the study, even scientifim, of the national language flourishes and will flourish, even if death has already kidnapped strong workers (K. Büga in 1924, J. Jablonskis in 1929).