Volume 38, No.2 - Summer 1992
Editor of this issue: Antanas Klimas, University of Rochester 
ISSN 0024-5089
Copyright © 1992 LITUANUS Foundation, Inc.


The Pennsylvania State University

The purpose of this paper is a brief discussion of the Lithuanian verbs with the infinitive suffixes -in- and -y-. Vaillant, 1966, 364, writes that the Baltic conjugation of the type Lith. prašyti 'to ask' (3rd pres. prašo) = Slavic prositi (3rd sg. pres prositu) is the result of a mixture of two different Balto-Slavic iteratives, viz. those in -āti and those in -īti. Thus one encounters the Lith. inf. ganyti 'to herd' (3rd pres. gano), Slavic goniti 'to chase' (3rd sg. pres. gonitu), Lith. inf. mainyti 'to exchange' (3rd pres. maino), Slavic meniti 'to change' (3rd sg. pres. menitu).

Kortlandt, 1989,110, finds traces also of an *a-inflection in many *ī-verbs in Slavic, thus Serbo-Cr. hodati 'to walk' nosati 'to carry,' vozati 'to drive,' all of the latter carrying also the meaning 'back and forth.' In addition, Slavic nouns in -atai attest to the existence of *a-stem verbs, e.g., xodatai 'mediator,' povodatai 'guide,' etc. Kortlandt writes: The isolated character of these a-stems which can be compared with Latv. vadat 'to lead about' beside vadit 'lead' shows that they cannot be denominatives.'

According to Michelini, 1977, 252, the most ancient causatives are those which derive from thematic or athematic root nouns or from i-stems, the iterative-(causatives) in *āie/ o- verbs being due to a relatively recent dialectal development. In Michelini's view the suffix i derives from a contraction of the -i- of the nominal suffix with the -i- of the denominative verbal suffix. In Slavic the suffix was generalized throughout the entire paradigm of causatives and in fact extended to the verbs of mineti type, but in Baltic it was used only in the infinitive of causative verbs of the type of Lith. matyti 'to see.'

In my own view, the infinitive suffix Lith. -y-ti, Latv. -i-t here is derived from an etymological *-ey-tey (with an internal Indo-European monophthongization of the diphthong), possibly originally added to a substantival stem. The suffix *-ey-came to be connected with causative of iterative verbs, both of which semantic groups probably have their origin in intensives. Thus I assume an etymological present conjugation as follows:



1ts *bhoudh-y-om or *bhoudh-y-ō

*bhoudh-y-om-e (?)

2nd bhoudh-i or *bhoudh-ey

*bhoudh-i-t-e (?)

3rd *bhoudh-i or *bhoudh-ey


From this we have the Slavic buditi 'to awaken' (with regularization of the 1ts plural and probably the substition of the athematic 3rd plural, although an etymological *-int- in the 3rd plural would also be thinkable):




1st bužd-o



2nd bud-i-ši



3rd bud-i-tu

bud-i-te, -ta


In Old Indic the stem *bhoudh-ey- was chosen and the thematic endings were generalized, thus sg. (1) bodháyami I awaken," (2) bodháyasi, (3) bodháyati, etc. The Lithuanian counterpart báudyti 'to encourage, to urge on' has adopted the etymological *-a- stem in the present, cf. 3rd pres. báudo.

Stang, 1966, 325, writes that at one time Baltic verbs with a present in *-ā and an infinitive in *-ī must have had a short or long -i present stem. One notes the identity of the 1ts sg. of Slavic pišo 'I write' [Leskien's class IIIB] and [Leskien's class IV A] nošo 'I carry.' In Baltic also one could assume a similar identity of the 1ts sg. pres. *-jo of the *je/o stem verbs with the 1ts sg. pres. *jo of the *-i stem verbs. Thus following the paradigm of 1ts sg. pres. piešiu 'I draw' (3rd pres. piešia) the 1ts sg. gesiu 'I extinguish' led to the introduction of the 3rd pres. gesia (replacing *gesi-.

These examples from the Lith. Acad. Dict. include citations from Sirvydas: 3rd pres. gesia (standard geso, inf. gesyti 'to extinguish'), gydžia (standard gydo, inf. gydyti 'to heal' [Acad. Dict. i, 284]), gimdžia (standard gimdo, inf. gimdyti 'to bear' [Acad. Dict. 1,284]), guldžia (standard guldo, inf. guldyti 'to lay down' [Acad. Dict. III, 707]), gundžia (standard gundo, inf. gundyti 'to tempt' [Acad. Dict. III 730]), kinkia (standard kinko, inf. kinkyti 'to saddle' [Acad. Dict. V, 815]), lopia (standard lopo [also lopijal, inf. lopyti 'to patch' [Acad. Dict. VII, 651]), kliudžia (standard kliudo [also kliudija}, inf. kliudyti 'to hinder' [Acad. Dict. VI, 114]), lankia (standard lanko, inf. lankyti 'to visit' [Acad. Dict. VII, 130), inf. lipdžia (standard lipdo, inf. lipdyti 'to glue, to paste' [Acad. Dict. VII, 550]), pykdžia (standard pykdo, inf. pykdyti 'to anger [Acad. Dict. IX, 944]), pildžia (standard pildo, inf. pildyti 'to fill' [Acad. Dict. IX, 977]), pjudžia (standard pjudo, inf. pjudyti 'to hound, to bait' [Acad. Dict. X, 41]), pūdžia (standard pūdo, inf. pūdyti 'to cause to rot' [Acad. Dict. X 844]), rodžia (standard rodo, inf. rodyti 'to show' [Acad. Dict. XI, 788]), rūkia (standard rūko, [also rūkija, rūkyja], inf. rūkyti 'to smoke' [Acad. Dict. XI, 923]), spirgia (standard spirgo [also spirgija, spirgyja], inf. spirgyti 'to fry, to roast' [Acad. Dict. XIII, 426]), stabdžia (standard stabdo, inf. stabdyti 'to cause to stop, to brake' [Acad. Dict. XIII, 606]), šaldžia (standard šaldo, inf. šaldyti 'to cause to cool' [Acad. Dict. XIV, 435]), šildžia (standard šildo, inf. šildyti 'to cause to warm' [Acad. Dict. XIV, 891]), mokia (standard moko), inf. mokyti 'to teach' [Acad. Dict. VIII, 324]).

Some verbs with an infinitive stem in (Lith.) -yti and a present stem in -ija derive from i'-stem nouns: akyti 'to get holes, to become porous,' 3rd pres. akija (akyja), pret. akijo, cf. akis 'eye'; dalyti 'to divide,' 3rd pres. dalija (dalyja, dalo), pret. dalijo (dalė), cf. dalis 'part'; dantyti 'to put in teeth; 3rd pres. dantija (danto) pret. dantijo (dantė), cf. dantis 'tooth'; rūdyti 'to rust,' 3rd pres. rūdija (rūdyja, rūdi, rūda), pret. rūdijo, cf. rūdis (usually pl. rūdys) 'rust'; vilnyti (vilnyti) 'to ripple, to surge, to be rough (of water) 3rd pres. vilnija, (vilnija), pret. vilnijo (vilnijo), cf. vilnis 'wave'; kirmyti 'to be eaten by worms, to become full of worms,' 3rd pres. kirmija (kirmyja), pret. kirmijo (kirmyjo), cf. kirmìs (kimis) 'worm'; Latv. salit 'to salt,' 1ts sg. pres. salu or saliju, pret. saliju derived from sals 'salt' (Stang, 1966, 366).

I propose that in these verbs the -ja suffix was merely added directly to the noun stem final -i, thus 3rd pres. *aki + ja > akija, pret. *aki + ja > akijo etc. The infinitive stem and the 3rd pret. stem are frequently identical (e.g. rinkti 'to gather,' 3rd pret. rinko) so on the basis of the pret. akijo, the infinitive stem akyti = akiti < *akij-tei was created, or else the infinitive was assimilated to the already existing stem in -i-. Stang, 1966, 367, notes that Slavic verbs with the conjugation 1ts sg. pres. -ijo, inf. -iti are limited to monosyllabic verbs (i.e., root type, e.g. pijo, inf. piti 'to drink,' bijo, inf. biti 'to beat,' etc.) with the exception of vupijo, inf. vupiti 'to cry.' The latter verb, because of its meaning, is probably an exception and could be derived from an interjection (Stang, 1942,51). In Slavic also the etymological origin of the denominative verbs in -iti could have been the etymological *i'-stem nouns, e.g., gosti 'gust' from which we have gostiti 'to entertain a guest.'

The Lithuanian verbs with an infinitive in -yti and a present stem in -ij- may also represent an etymological Baltic paradigm which would have been equivalent to Leskien's class IVA (nositi 'to carry') type. Thus a 3rd pres. *dųmi(-t[-]), pl. (1) *dųmi(-m-), (2) *dumi(-te), reconstructed on the basis of Slavic (cf. Russ. dymiti 'to emit smoke', 3rd sg. pres. dymit pl. [1] dymim, [2] dymite) was given thematic endings, i.e., the old athematic *-i- was replaced by -ij- plus the thematic vowel -a-. This replacement led to the creation of the Lithuanian parading of dmyti (dmyti) 'to emit smoke': 3rd pres. dmija, dmyja (dmija dmyja), pl. (1) dūmijame, dūmyjame (dmijame, dmiyjame), (2) dmijate, dmijate (dmijate, dmyjate).

Kortlandt, 1989,107, suggests that the (thematic) suffix -ina and -ina reflect the singular and plural forms respectively of the same paradigm. In Kortlandt's view one should compare Skt. 3rd sg. pres. janati vs. 3rd pl. pres jananti. Michelini, 1977, 350, writes that, differently from the infix -n- the 'suffix' *-na-/*-ne- has been utilized in Baltic to form both transitive and intransitive (/iteratives) 'verbs of process.' As a result of various morphological levelings the two forms of the suffix *ine/o//*-ina arose which adopted the etymological *-o-grade root vocalism under the influence of iterative causative verbs in *-iti (pres. in *-a-). Michelini, 1981, 56, writes that in the Baltic languages from the two nasal suffixes (but it isn't clear to me exactly which two suffixes he has in mind) which were previously morphological variants, there arose two invariants, the opposition between which more or less corresponded to the active-middle opposition of other Indo-European languages. If the opposition were to be between the nasal suffix expressing an agentive meaning vs. the infix expressing a non-agentive meaning, the hypothesis would be more comprehensible to me.

Fraenkel, 1938, has investigated in detail the relationship of the n-stem nouns with the suffix -in-. Thus, for example, Fraenkel 1938, 21-22, (basing himself on the researches of Specht, 1933, 241-241) supposes that a Proto-Baltic form *mažmuo (with the suffix -men-), the weak cases of which would have given *mažmn-, which in turn would have passed to *main-. This furnished the stem for Lith. mažinti, Latv. mazinat 'to make something small, to decrease in size." On the other hand, Fraenkel, 1938, 23, writes that Lith. sausinti, Latv. sausinat corresponds well with Gk. hauainein 'to dry' which is derived from an n-stem, cf. Gk. auon 'dryness.'

Stang, 1966, 371, compares Goth. skalkinon 'to serve,' fraujinon 'to rule over,' gudjinon 'to serve as priest,' but re-marks that the Gothic suffix must be traced back to *ena whereas Baltic *ina- must be traced back to *-ona. He writes further that the suffix -ina- seems to be of deverbative origin and that somehow the old causatives with the "O-grade ablaut might have played a role in the origin of the -ina- verbs. It is possible that the old suffix-stressed (or respectively mobile?) causative verbs in *i are represented by the later ina-causatives. Stang writes, however, that one cannot just derive -ina- from -i- + -na- because a suffix -na- only seems to occur in Baltic in those instances where it goes back to -na-. Thus he believes it likely that the -in- in -ina- represents an old reduced vowel *one/o- which stands in some kind of ablaut relationship to -ena-. Stang writes further, 1966, 372, that he believes that this suffix is to be connected with the Greek suffix -ano, Armenian -anem. Stang quotes Vendryes (Festschr. Wackernagel, p. 265 ff.) who wrote that the Greek presents in -ano frequently have a factitive meaning which fits well with the punctual value and that in Armenian also the verbs in -anem had frequently served as causatives.

Poržezinskij, 1901,148, writes that some Baltic stems in ina and ena had factitive meaning and that there also existed factitive verbs with stems in āja and ēja. From these arose the stems in ināja and inēja by way of contimination. Stang, 1966, 373, suggests that some of the root-stressed causatives in *-t were contaminated with the root-stressed verbs in -ina-, cf. Lith. 3rd pres. budina 'awakes,' degina 'bums' and the old Lith. 3rd pret. pobudinaia, ischdeginoia. He writes further that the verbs in *ina probably originally had their infinitives in *-inati (cf. Latv. -inat). Although in modern Lithuanian we encounter the infintive -inti which belonged originally to the verbs in -ina, in Old Lithuanian we encountered such forms as budinoti, deginoti. Endzelins, 1951, para. 662, writes that the fact that one finds in Old Lithuanian preterits in -inojau besides presents in -inu and infinitives in -inti- could show that in Baltic a present stem in -inaja developed from a preterit stem in -inaja. Endzelins' view seems the most likely to me.

A number of Old Prussian verbs belong in this category: 3rd pres. kūmpinna /kumpina/ 'hindert, hinders, stops,' inf. kumpint 'verrucken, to disturb.' Various spellings of the 3rd person form are encountered: powaidinne, powaidinnei / pavaidina/ "bedeut, means,' inf. powaidint /pavaidint/ 'unterweisen, to instruct'; erschwaigstinai /erzvaigzdina/ 'erleucht, enlightens. Cf. the 1ts pl. tickinnimai, teckinnimai / tikinima/ 'wir...machen, we make.' The orthographic variants are not to be taken too seriously. See Schmalstieg, 1974, 184-193.

Sometimes a -d- is inserted between the root and the ending Lith. -inti, Latv. inat, cf. Latv. biedinat 'to intimidate,' dzirdinat 'to give to drink' (cf. Lith girdinti). According to Endzelins, 1951, para. 666, this 'din' is a little less common in Latvian than in Lithuanian, cf. Latv. darinat 'to cause to do' beside Lith. darydinti. In Latvian the -d- retained its original function as hiatus filler, whereas in Lithuanian the suffix -din- developed a special causative meaning (Stang, 1966, 374). According to the Lith. Acad. Gram., II, 265, the -d- helps to retain the closed syllable or removes a hiatus, thus siųsdinti 'to cause to send' (from siųsti 'to send').

Endzelins writes, 1951, para. 667, that some of the Latvian verbs in -inat derive from causatives. Thus cilinat 'to lift repeatedly' was originally the causative of a Latvian verb equivalent to Lith. kilti 'to rise.' After the primary verb had disappeared in Latvian and since cilinat had the same ending as the iterative cilat it was easy to connect cilinat with the verb celt 'to lift up.' The iterative meaning of verbs in -inat is often only weakly felt and many times is completely absent so that the meaning of the derivative in -inat is hardly different from that of the primary verb.

In Western High Lithuanian and Dzukish dialects the suffix -inti changes into -yti, so that, e.g., instead of the infinitives budinti 'to awake,' deginti 'to burn' one encounters budyti, degyt, etc. although the present and preterit retain the -in-suffix, thus 3rd pres. budina, degina, 3rd pret. budino, degino, etc. The reason for this is probably phonetic: in these dialects the mixed diphthong -in- usually becomes -y- before an -s- thus vadinsiu 'I shall name' passes to vadysiu, etc. i.e., the -n- is lost with compensatory lengthening of the preceding vowel. Thus on the model of the new future tense the infintive vadyt, the frequentative past vadydavo could have been formed. Similarly, beside standard siūdinti 'to have something sewn' (<siūti 'to sew') and želdinti 'to grow (trans.), to plant trees and bushes' (< želti 'to grow [intro.], to spring up'), one encounters (Lith. Acad. Gram., II 265) siūdyti and želdyti.

The suffix -in- can also have an iterative meaning in Lithuanian, e.g., kankinti 'to torture' (cf. kenkti 'to harm') švilpinti 'to whistle' (cf. švilpti 'id'), etc. A large number of these verbs are onomatopoetic, e.g., barškinti 'to knock; to clatter,' birbinti 'to play a fife, pipe,' triuškinti 'to crunch,' etc. Many are created from adjectives and denote attribution of the quality of the adjective to the object, e.g., bendrinti 'to generalize' (cf. bendras 'general, common'), piginti 'to reduce the price, make cheap' (cf. pigns 'cheap'). This procedure is common for general European words, e.g., aktyvinti 'to activate, make active' (cf. aktyvus 'active'). Sometimes nouns serve as the basis for these verbs. They may denote a description or the way a thing is looked at or considered: apuokinti 'to call somebody an owl; to wander about blindly' (cf. apuokas 'owl') bobinti 'to call someone an old woman' (cf. boba 'woman, old woman'); the creation of that which is signified by the base word, e.g., audrinti 'to make stormy' (cf. audra 'storm'), garinti 'to evaporate,' (cf. garas 'steam'), etc.; the covering of something with the item which the noun denotes, e.g., auksinti 'to gild' (cf. auksas 'gold'), anglinti 'to dirty with coal, charcoal' (cf. anglis 'coal; charcoal'), etc.; a manner of movement which recalls the base noun, e.g., gervinti 'to walk clumsily, with spindly legs' (cf. gervė 'crane'), varlinti 'to drag oneself along (like a frog),' cf., varlė 'frog,' egc. (lith. Acad. Gram., II, 264-5).

I believe, however, that in many verbs the suffix -ina merely replaces an earlier suffix -ija. Thus the 3rd sg. dalina 'divides up' replaces an etymological dalija (still attested). The present stem then passed into the infinitive, giving dalinti. In the present stem the replacement of -n- by -i- is represented in Lithuanian verbs such as griauti 'to destroy' (3rd pres. griauna), mauti 'to put on' (3rd pres. mauna), džiauti 'to hang up to dry' (3rd pres. džiauna), piauti 'to cut' (3rd pres. piauna), etc. where the suffix -n- replaces an etymologial -j-. Thus griauja, mauja, džiauja, etc. are older than the verbs with the nasal suffix.

In sum, then Proto-Baltic verbs with the stem *-i- in both the present and the infinitive may have been at the base of four contemporary Lithuanian conjugations: (1) inf. mokyti 'to teach' (3rd pres.) moko (2) inf. mokyti 'to teach' (3rd pres.) mokia; (3) dmyti, (dmyti) 'to emit smoke' 3rd pres. dmija, dmyja, (dmija, dmyja); (4) dalinti 'to divide up' (3rd pres.) dalina.

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