Volume 28, No.1 - Spring 1982
Editor of this issue: Antanas Klimas
ISSN 0024-5089
Copyright © 1982 LITUANUS Foundation, Inc.



Like all languages, Lithuanian has what linguists call a phonemic, a morphological and a syntactic structure. By the phonemic structure we mean approximately the sound system of the language. The great advantage that Lithuanian has over many languages of the world is that the sound structure is so well correlated with the alphabet. If one learns how the individual letters of the alphabet are pronounced, one does not have the trouble that one might have with English. English is, of course, unusually bad in this respect and George Bernard Shaw even suggested that the word fish might be spelled ghoti (i.e. gh as in enough, o as in women and ti as in nation). Such an outrage would never occur in Lithuanian. I refer the reader to the chart below reproduced from Dambriūnas, Klimas and Schmalstieg's Introduction to Modern Lithuanian (New York, 1972), pp. 18-19.







High (close) vowels
Mid vowels
Low-mid vowels
Low (open) vowels








ū, ų


* e and a are lengthened in most cases in open syllables: gãlas 'end,' medis 'tree' (but: màno 'my,' etc.).

Explanation of the Vowels

Notice how simple the vowel system is. There are really only six kinds of vowels, but they can all be either short or long, with the exception of ė (pronounced a bit like the a in date, but without any y off-glide at the end of the vowel, as in English.) If one wants to count the short and long vowels as two vowels then one would have to say that Lithuanian has eleven vowels rather than six. Let's leave this problem to the linguist. Although Lithuanian is much better than English with regard to the orthography, it still isn't perfect. For example, the long vowel /ī/ (pronounced a bit like the English ee in beet, but again without the characteristic English y off-glide) can be represented in two ways in Lithuanian, either by the letter y or į. This hook (nósinė) under the letter shows that originally the vowel was followed by an -n, then became a nasal vowel and finally the vowel was lengthened and the nasal pronunciation was lost completely. An easy way to remember this is by comparing the English word in with the Lithuanian word į which also means 'in.' (In fact some Lithuanians still say in.) Likewise the long vowel /ū/ (pronounced a bit like the oo in the word boot, but without the w off-glide characteristic of the English vowel) can be written either ū (with the macron, or long mark on top of it) or ų with the nasal hook under it. Since ę (like the a in bat, but long) and ą like the o in American English hot, but long) derive from original nasal vowels they are also always long vowels. But there is again a trick because e and a can denote either a long vowel like ę and ą. In English we don't have any phonemic contrast between long and short vowels, even though you might get this impression from looking at an English dictionary which shows macrons (or long marks) over some vowels. For example, you will probably find the word bite supposedly to be pronounced bīt, but this is just a way school teachers and dictionary writers have of denoting the English diphthong, which really should be written ai or aj or something like that. Therefore a speaker of English learning Lithuanian might have trouble making a distinction between the short and long vowels. An English speaker might not be able to hear or to reproduce the difference between the short vowel of sèkti 'to follow' and the long vowel of sẽka 'follows' (3rd person present tense). Now ordinarily, of course, the accent marks aren't written in Lithuanian so the words màno 'my' (with a short initial vowel) and mãno 'thinks' (with a long initial vowel) will both be written mano and the speaker of Lithuanian can only tell by context which word is meant when he runs across it in a written text. Of course, in speaking, the words will be clearly kept apart by the length of the vowel. As my colleague Professor A. Klimas has pointed out to me, one might make up a sentence such as: Jõ žmonà mãno vienaĩp 'his wife thinks one way;' màno mãno kitaĩp 'mine thinks otherwise.' But in an unaccented text the sentences would be written: Jo žmona mano vienaip. Mano mano kitaip.


This brings up the next problem of Lithuanian, the problem of accent. A short accented syllable is marked by the grave accent à whereas a long accented syllable might be marked either by the circumflex as in ã or the acute as in ą. It used to be stated that the circumflex was a rising tone and the acute was a falling tone, but nowadays people talk more of the role of the stress accent. Thus an acute vowel (tvirtaprãdė priegaídė) is stressed more heavily on its initial part, whereas a circumflex vowel (tvirtagãlė priegaídė) is stressed more heavily on its second part. The difference can probably be seen best in the diphthongs. Compare the difference between áukštas 'high,' 'tall,' and aũkštas 'floor,' 'storey.' In the first word the a- is stressed and longer than the a- in the second word. The -u- in the second word is more heavily stressed and longer than the -u- in the first word. Professor A. Girdenis, the late Professor J. Kazlauskas and I all feel that the diphthongs are divisible into the individual vowels of which they consist. According to such analysis the diphthong au can be divided into its components a and u. Other analyses treat the diphthongs as indivisible entities. The matter is discussed very well by Klimas, 1970, 100-101, and I won't consider it further here.




































apical trill:  r 
lateral:    I
palatal spirant:  j

Explanation of the Consonants

Although it is not indicated on the chart, most of the consonants have two variants, a palatalized (or soft) and an unpalatalized (or hard) variant. Looking at the chart under 'dental' we find the 's' in a word such as saũsas 'dry' (pronounced a bit like English souses but with an ss sound, not a z sound at the end of the word). Or it might be pronounced soft (or palatalized) in such a word as sèkti 'to follow.' It sounds almost as though one were to pronounce sack tea in English, but with a y sound after the s, as if we could say *syack tea. The English speaker will usually hear the soft or unpalatalized consonants as if there were a y following them, but this is just a trick that the English speaker's ears play on him. Actually the y sound is pronounced along with the consonant itself and doesn't follow it. It usually takes an English speaker a little bit of practice before he can master such sounds. People who have spoken Lithuanian since their childhood don't usually have any trouble but people who first heard Lithuanian spoken later in life don't pronounce it quite so well. All of the consonants in Lithuanian except the j which is pronounced like an English y already exist in two varieties, a hard (unpalatalized) and a soft (palatalized) one.

I have already noted in chapter 1 that the morphological structure of the Lithuanian noun is quite complex, more similar to that of Latin, Greek and Sanskrit than to English and French. I mentioned in that chapter the nominative, genitive, dative, accusative and vocative cases, but said nothing about the Lithuanian instrumental and locative cases, cases which, as far as meaning is concerned, it shares with Sanskrit.

The Instrumental Case

The instrumental case can denote, e.g., the means with which something is done. Note the example: 'covered with clothes, dressed':

Lithuanian: drabùži-ais     àprengtas, àpvilktas
                 with clothes   covered, dressed
Sanskrit:    vastr-epa       channah

For the instrumental of respect cf.: 'blind in one eye':

Lithuanian:   (Vienà)    ak-imì     ãklas
                   in one     eye         blind
Sanskrit:                    aksn-ā    kānah

For the instrumental of way through which some motion is carried out cf.: 'he went away by the designated path':

Lithuanian:     nuródyt-u                  keli-ù         nuẽjo
                     by the designated      path           he went away

Sanskrit:        ādist-ena                  mārg-ena   prayayau

(The Sanskrit examples are taken from Gonda, 1966, 85-86.) The locative case is also used to denote the place where something is located in both Lithuanian and Sanskrit, cf. Sanskrit parvat-e 'in (or on) the mountain,' Lithuanian kaln-e. (Here the comparison looks superficially a little bit better than it actually is, because the Sanskrit ending -e probably derives from an earlier *-oi, whereas the Lithuanian ending -e might derive from an earlier *en.)


Now it is well known that no two persons, natives of the same language, speak it in exactly the same way. There are always minor differences in pronunciation, use of vocabulary, choice of vocabulary, etc. For the most part persons who have something in common tend to speak the language more alike than persons who have less in common. The more these minor speech differences increase, the less people have in common. Thus we can establish dialects, most commonly on the basis of geographic distribution, but dialects according to social or economic class are also usually encountered. All of the contemporary European nations have chosen some dialect or group of dialects upon which the standard language is based. Americans are for the most part satisfied with a middle-western Chicago type pronunciation and deviations in pronunciation from this norm are considered dialectical. Of course, this standard is a dialect also, although many people don't realize it. For any given group of speakers of one dialect, the other dialect seems odd or anomalous. Australians talk about the American accent, whereas Americans talk about the Australian accent.

Lithuanian Dialects

The most popular system of classification of Lithuanian dialects was that of Antanas Baranauskas, known outside of Lithuania as the Baranowski system. In 1898, Baranauskas published his book, Notes on the Lithuanian Language and Vocabulary, a system which became known chiefly through the further work of the famous German Slavicist, August Leskien. (See Senn, 1966, 43.) Another system was that of Kazimieras Jaunius who published his ideas in the Kaunas provincial chronicle (Pamjatnaja knižka Kovenskoj gubernii) in the years 1891-1899 and in his Lithuanian grammar (1911) and the Russian translation by K. Būga (1916). (See Zinkevičius, 1978a, 18.) Jaunius' system was greatly supplemented and perfected by A. Salys in his 1933 article and then in the mimeographed book published in 1946. Both Baranauskas and Jaunius used fundamentally the same system for the western Lithuanian dialects. After the Second World War as more: information on the dialects became available it became clear that the Baranauskas system was better for eastern Lithuania. Since Baranauskas was representative of this area, he knew the dialects intuitively better than the Samogitian (Low Lithuanian, Žemaitish) K. Jaunius. Therefore an improved version of the Baranauskas system has been worked out by the contemporary Lithuanian linguists A. Girdenis and Z. Zinkevičius. (See Zinkevičius, 1966, 13 and 1978a, 19.)

Both Baranauskas and Jaunius first divide the Lithuanian territory into two parts, High Lithuanian and Samogitian (Low Lithuanian.) I should point out here that the terms Low Lithuanian and High Lithuanian have nothing to do with the superiority or inferiority of the various dialects. In fact the terms go back to the Middle Ages when the Samogitian duchy occupied the central Lithuanian lowlands whereas at that time the High Lithuanian duchy had the highlands of Vilnius and Ašmena as its center. Unfortunately according to today's thinking the geographical terms are not quite appropriate because the center of the Low Lithuanian dialects is in the Telšiai highlands and the center of the High Lithuanian dialects is in the central Lithuanian lowlands. (Zinkevičius, 1978a, 21.)

In general the vowels of the Lithuanian dialects differ more than the consonants so the determination of dialects depends on the pronunciation of the vowels. The basic division is made according to the correspondents of the stressed diphthongs uo (and ie) when they occur in non-final position. In the Samogitian (Low Lithuanian) dialects the correspondents are for the most part pronounced as simple vowels, long ū, long ō, or ou, long ī, ę or ei. (The dot under the e means that the vowel is rather high or a bit like the -a- in English cake.)

The Samogitian (Low Lithuanian) dialects are called western, northern and southern respectively and the three dialects of High Lithuanian are called western, eastern and southern. A variety of the western dialect, the Kauniškiai is the basis of standard Lithuanian. (See Jonikas, 1972, 293-299 and Zinkevičius, 1978a, 25-28.) This dialect, although called Kauniškiai is different from that of the inhabitants of the city of Kaunas. One characteristic of this dialect which separates it from standard Lithuanian, however, is that the sequences -en- and -in- in infinitives and some other forms have passed to long vowels, rather than remaining as -en- and -in- respectively. For example, standard Lithuanian has gyvénti 'to live', gyvénsiu 'I shall live' but the Kauniškiai dialect has respectively gyvẽti, gyvẽsiu where the e is pronounced like the a in the English word class.

The Lithuanians of East Prussia, who lived there until the Second World War in what is now the Kaliningrad district (Kaliningrad = Karaliaučius = Königsberg = Regiomons) used a variety of the western High Lithuanian also. On a part of this territory the acuted diphthongs were monophthongized. Thus corresponding to standard Lithuanian šáukštai 'spoons,' dáiktas 'thing,' pavéikslai 'pictures' there existed the dialect forms šākštai, dākts, pavēkslai. This is why the name Kuršaitis is rendered in German as Kurschat. (See Zinkevičius, 1978a, 34.)

At an earlier stage there were nasal vowels in Lithuanian, similar to the nasal vowels of Polish or French. The vowel that is now written ą, for example, was pronounced like the Polish -ą- in mąż 'man,'or the -on of French bon 'good' and the ę was pronounced like the -ę- in the Polish genitive case of the same word męża, or like the -in in French vin 'wine.' In standard Lithuanian these vowels with the nasal hook  'ž' under them are pronounced just like long vowels, but a standard Lithuanian word like žąsis 'goose' was originally pronounced something like the English expression John's sis (slang for John's sister). In southern High Lithuanian whenever the old nasal vowel ą occurred in word-final position or before an -s or a -z it came to be pronounced like a long ū (like the oo of English boot) and whenever an old nasal vowel ę occurred in similar circumstances it came to be pronounced like a long ī (i.e., a sound like the ee of English beet). Therefore corresponding to standard Lithuanian žąsis 'goose' we have southern High Lithuanian žūsis, and the standard Lithuanian accusative singular forms vaiką 'child' and katę 'cat' are respectively vaikū and katī in the dialect. (See Zinkevičius, 1978a, 40.)

In eastern High Lithuanian except for the northwestern corner in position before a consonant an original an and am have passed to un and um respectively and en and em have passed to in and im respectively. Thus, for standard Lithuanian rankà 'hand, arm' we encounter either runkà (or with retracted stress) ruñka and for standard Lithuanian kampas 'corner' we encounter dialect kumpas. Likewise instead of standard Lithuanian meñkas 'small, unimportant' and tempia 'pulls, stretches' we encounter miñkas and timpia respectively. (See Zinkevičius, 1978a, 49.)

It will be remembered that we classify the Samogitian (Low Lithuanian) dialects according to how the counterpart of standard Lithuanian uo and ie are pronounced. The word for 'bread' in standard Lithuanian is duona, the du- part pronounced a little like the English word do and the -on-part pronounced a little like the English word one and the final -a pronounced something like the English exclamation ah. If you can say something like do one ah, but putting the accent or stress on the word do you can come close to the correct Lithuanian pronunciation. The Lithuanian word for 'milk' is pienas. Pronounce the pi- part like English pea, the -en- part like the en in the English word enter, the -as part like the English exclamation ah and then add an -s, so you get pea-en-ah-s with the accent or stress on the word pea.

In southern Samogitian the word for 'bread' is pronounced dūna (like English dune followed by ah) and the word for 'milk' is pronounced pīns (like the English letter p- followed by the eents- part of the expression teentsyweent-sy, so an English speaker may come close if he says something like peents). Speakers of this southern Samogitian dialect are called dūnininkai after the way they pronounce the word for 'bread.'

In northern Samogitian the word for 'bread' is pronounced dôuna, somewhat the way we pronounce the word dough (or doe) in English, but the -n-ah following, thus dough-n-ah. The word for 'milk' is pronounced pêins, just about like the English pains except that one should pronounce the final -s like a true voiceless -s, not like a -z as we do in the word pains. The sign ^ or the little hat over the vowel shows that we have a special kind of dialect accentuation which in Lithuanian is called the laužtìnė priégaidė, broken intonation or pitch stress. The broken intonation is a glottal stop, the sound some English speakers make when they say bottle if they omit the -tt-. This broken intonation is also known in Latvian in which the word rîts 'morning' corresponds to the northern Samogitian rîts, but standard Lithuanian rýtas 'morning.' (See Skardžius, 1968, 14.) Speakers of this northern Samogitian dialect are called dóunininkai, again after the way they pronounce the word for 'bread.'

Western Samogitian is spoken in the Klaipėda region. This area never belonged to the Samogitian Duchy, but was ruled rather by the Teutonic knights and, although the dialect belongs to the Samogitian group, the area is historically and ethnographically separate. In this dialect the word for 'bread' is pronounced dô.na. For the American it is difficult to hear or to distinguish between the pronunciation of the word for 'bread' in the northern and the western Samogitian dialects. It is also pronounced something like dough-n-ah, but without the -w sound or off-glide which we have in English dough (or doe). The word for 'milk' in the western Samogitian dialect is pê.ns and is pronounced like the northern Samogitian dialect word, except that in this case there is no -y (or -j) off-glide, so the English speaker would again have difficulty in distinguishing the two words in the western and northern Samogitian dialects. Speakers of this dialect are known as dónininkai. (See Zinkevičius, 1978a, 121.)

There are, of course, many other characteristics of the dialects. Salys (1933, 22; 1946, 9) held to Jaunius' view that one could separate the Samogitian from the High Lithuanian dialects by the fate of the sequences *tja and *dja. (Remember that the j is pronounced like the English y.) Reconstructed forms such as the nominative plurals *jautjai 'oxen, bulls' and *medjai 'trees' are spelled jaučiai and medžiai (although pronounced /jaučei/ and medžei/) respectively in standard Lithuanian. This is easy to understand because in English the old sequence t-y and d-y are usually pronounced like English ch (=Lithuanian č) or English j :as in jet, i.e., Lithuanian ). Thus we really pronounce don't you something like doncha and did you something like didja, didzha.

The change of *tj and *dj  to č and is exactly like the English change of ty to ch and dy to j. In the Samogitian dialects, however, this change did not take place, so corresponding to High Lithuanian jáučiai and mẽdžiai we have Samogitian jáutê. and mèdê. where the t and d have been retained. (See Zinkevičius, W8a, 19.) Girdenis and Zinkevičius, however, find the pronunciation of the vowels more important than the pronunciation of the consonants for the establishment of Lithuanian dialect boundaries. (Zinkevičius, 1978a, 19.) As noted before in standard Lithuanian the contrast between the words áukštas 'high, tall' and aũkštas 'floor, storey' is better described as a difference in the position of the stress, i.e., on the á- in the first word and on the -ũ- in the second word. The Samogitian accentual picture is too complicated for easy description.

Of course, there are subdialects of each of these major dialects and one could go on dividing forever. In addition, it frequently happens that similar types of non-standard pronunciation are encountered in several sub-dialects. It can be an open question as to which features are chosen to differentiate dialects. Suppose that one chooses a certain area in which the vowels are pronounced in a certain way as the basis of one's classification. (The line that one draws to show this area is called an isogloss. The term isogloss is defined by Mario Pei in the following way (1966, 136): "A line separating areas called isogloss areas, where the language differs with respect to a given feature or features; a line marking the boundaries within which a given phenomenon or feature is to be found.") Another feature may be encountered which includes a smaller or a larger area than the way the vowels are pronounced. Thus the included areas do not quite correspond, or the isoglosses may not quite correspond. For example, we have established above that the southern High Lithuanian dialect is characterized by such forms as vaikū for standard Lithuanian vaiką 'child' (ace. sg.) and katī for standard Lithuanian katę 'cat' (ace. sg.). In addition to this we also encounter the phenomenon known as dzūkavimas, that is pronouncing things with a Dzūkish accent. Now this means that instead of using č (like English ch) or (like English j) the speaker uses c (like English ts) or dz respectively. Therefore instead of standard Lithuanian čia 'here' and džiaugsmas 'joy' (like English cha and djowksmas) one hears cia or ca (like English tysa and tsa) and dzaugsmas. In addition in this dialect t and d occurring before i, į, y and ie are replaced by c (English ts sound) and dz respectively. Thus for standard Lithuanian tik 'only' and diena 'day' one hears cik (English tsik) and dziena. (See Zinkevičius, 1978a, 41-42.) However, this feature is not limited to the southern High Lithuanian area but extends across its borders in a northeasterly direction. In fact the feature even extends as far as the Latvian border to the east of Zarasai and separates the western Vilniškiai subdialect from the other east High Lithuanian dialects. (See Zinkevičius, 1978a, 44 and 76.)

In addition to the major dialects of High Lithuanian and Samogitian which were each divided up into three subdialects according to the names of the directions, these subdialects in turn may be divided up into smaller entities according to other characteristic features. These smaller subdialects are given the names of major cities in the ' regions where they are spoken.

I have briefly mentioned the Kauniškiai subdialect of Western High Lithuanian. In the northern part of the latter we find the Šiauliškiai subdialect named after the chief city in the area, Šiauliai. This dialect is characterized by an increasingly more consistent shift of the stress forward in the word the farther to the north one travels. For example, in some areas instead of standard Lithuanian šakà 'branch,' nešù 'I carry' we encounter šàka, nèšu. (Zinkevičius, 1978a, 37.)

In eastern High Lithuanian we distinguish six subdialects, named after the cities: 1. Širvintos, 2. Panevėžys, 3. Anykščiai, 4. Kupiškis, 5. Utena, 6. Vilnius. The first three dialects above are characterized by the fact that they shorten the long vowels of unstressed syllables, whereas the last three don't.

For example, in the Širvintiškiai dialect we find the nominative plural ãk-is 'eyes' with a short final vowel as opposed to standard Lithuanian ãk-ys with a long final vowel. (Zinkevičius, 1978a, 57.) The Panevėžiškiai dialect, differently from the preceding dialect, merges the final -a and -u after a hard consonant, thus for the first singular present standard Lithuanian neš-ù 'I carry' a somewhat similar sounding form is pronounced, but the vowel is very short and open and the rounding characteristic of the u is somewhat less. But in this dialect the third person present tense is something like nẽš-u (for Lithuanian nẽš-a 'he carries'), the difference between the first person singular and the third person being a difference in the position of the stress. (Zinkevičius, 1978a, 60.)

The Anykščiai and Kupiškis dialects are characterized by a kind of open o pronunciation where standard Lithuanian has a (i.e., the sound of English father, not the a of English face). Thus for standard Lithuanian rãtas 'wheel' one encounters the dialect form rỏ.tas. (The low dot after the vowel means that the vowel is half-long, i.e. a quantity somewhere between a short vowel and a long vowel. The s- shaped sign above the o denotes the middle tone which is similar to the circumflex intonation but somewhat shorter. (Zinkevičius,, 1978a, 149-150.) The Kupiškis dialect differs from the Anykščiai dialect by virtue of the fact that for standard Lithuanian e and ė we encounter a or ā in word-final position and before a hard or unpalatalized consonant. Thus for standard Lithuanian dėdė 'uncle' we find the dialect form dã·da. (The raised dot after the vowel is another way for writing a long vowel.)

In the Uteniškiai dialect an unstressed ė or ie of standard Lithuanian have been merged into e. (i.e., a half-long vowel resembling the a of English at). Thus for standard Lithuanian tėvẽlis (diminutive of tėvas 'father') and pienẽlis (diminutive of píenas 'milk') we encounter the dialect form te.vẻ.li.s and pe.nẻ.li.s respectively. In the Vilniškiai dialect on the other hand the vowel ie of pienẽlis is retained as such, but the dialect is characterized by the same sort of Dzūkish pronunciation described before.

Now the Samogitian dialect area is much smaller and less conservative than High Lithuanian. Some specialists ascribe these differences to the Curonian influence, since the latter language was replaced there by Lithuanian. The Raseiniškiai (named for Raseiniai) subdialect of Southern Samogitian is characterized by retention of the sequence -an- and we encounter (in places with retraction of stress, in places without it) either rañka 'hand' or (as in standard Lithuanian) rankà. Differently in the Varniškiai dialect (named for the city of Varniai) we note that -an- is replaced by -o.n- (with a high, half-long o) so corresponding to standard Lithuanian rankà we encounter rõ.nkà (either with or without stress retraction depending upon the region.)

The Telšiškiai (named for Telšiai) dialect of Northern Samogitian is characterized by an alternation in the root vowel depending upon whether the final vowel is open or not. Thus we encounter the nominative singular form pùskubilis 'small vat, tub' vs. the genitive singular pòskobẽle (for standard Lithuanian pùskubilio). In the Kretingiškiai (named for Kretinga) dialect this alternation does not take place and we encounter the nominative singular po.skoblis with the same prefix and root vowels as in the genitive singular po.skoble.

Now it is not only phonetic features or the manner of pronunciation which differentiate dialects, but also morphological features. By morphology we mean the roots, the suffixes and endings, of the words, chiefly adjectives, nouns and verbs as far as Lithuanian is concerned. We have mentioned above the various noun case endings which Lithuanian has in common with Latin, Greek, Sanskrit etc. But in the dialects these case endings are sometimes used in different ways from the way they are in the standard language. For example, in standard Lithuanian one says: gyvenu Klaipėdoje 'I live in Klaipėda.' In this sentence one finds the correct use of the locative, i.e. in the form Klaipėdoje the -oje is a locative case ending which denotes 'in Klaipėda.' Now in standard Lithuanian if you wanted to say 'I am going to Klaipėda' you would say važiuoju į Klaipėd-ą and use the preposition į which means 'in' or 'to' with the accusative ending on the end of the noun. But in the Klaipėda region itself, around the mouth of the Nemunas river (which the Germans call Memel and the Russians Neman) one can hear gyvenu į Klaipėd-ą. The use of the preposition with the accusative case is apparently under the influence of German and from the point of view of standard Lithuanian such a usage must be considered incorrect. (Zinkevičius, 1978a, 33.) Apparently under the influence of English, some American Lithuanians make the same mistake.

Now in old Lithuanian (and we shall see in some contemporary dialects but not in the standard language) there are some additional cases which probably developed under the influence; of the Finnic languages spoken in the area. These cases have the following names and meanings: 1. an illative or directive case (vidaus einamasis vietininkas) which denotes motion to or in the direction of some place, 2. an adessive case (pašalio esamasis vietininkas) which denotes the place where, or in the vicinity of which something is, 3. an allative case (pašalio einamasis vietininkas) which denotes a motion to the vicinity of some place.

Examples of the use of these cases are found in various dialects. Thus in standard Lithuanian one says: einu į miest-aą 'I am going into the city, down town' in which the preposition į 'to, into' is used with the accusative case ending to denote the goal of motion. But in southern High Lithuanian one hears also ainu miestan (ainu = dialect form of einu) in which the illative case ending -an is used to denote the goal of motion. Now in standard Lithuanian one says gyvenu miest-e 'I am living in the city' where the locative case ending -e denotes the place where the subject is. In the same southern High Lithuanian dialect, however, there has been a confusion so that now one hears the etymologically incorrect form gyvenu miest-an 'I am living in the city.' (Zinkevičius, 1978a, 46.)

Of particular interest to linguists are dialects beyond the borders of Lithuania proper in what is now the Belorussian republic of the Soviet Union, in the settlements called Gervėčiai, Lazūnai and Zietela. In Lazūnai, for example, we find the old adessive and allative cases still in use. Note the following example of the adessive case:

tris     pūdus    rugių žmog-iep                 pirkau 
three   poods   of rye at the man's place   I bought.

'I bought three poods of rye from the man.' (A pood equals 36 pounds avoirdupois weight.) The ending -iep is the old adessive case of žmog-us 'man.' Another example:

kojos     kap     arkl-iep 
legs       like      at a horse's.

'Legs like a horse's (legs).' In standard Lithuanian the expression would be: kojos kaip arklio 'legs like a horse's' and the noun arkl-io is the genitive singular case of arkl-ys 'horse.' Note the following example of the allative case: moma daktar-op važiavo 'mama traveled to the doctor's place.' Here the ending -op denotes the allative case, the place in the vicinity of which she is going. Standard Lithuanian would render this with the expression: mama pas daktar-ą važiavo where the preposition pas plus the noun in the accusative singular renders the same meaning. (See Zinkevičius, 1978a, 81.)

Thus it is evident from the preceding that Lithuanian, like all other languages of the world, has different dialects. It is for this reason, perhaps, that sometimes a word or form which is acceptable to one Lithuanian will seem odd or strange to another one. The matter is explained very naturally if the individuals in question come from different dialect areas.