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This map shows the regions of the world where Lithuanian is commonly spoken (red circle). Approximately three million speakers of Lithuanian live today. Lithuanian is in the Baltic family of languages that descend from the Balto-Slavic branches of Indo-European. It is most closely related to modern Latvian and to the extinct language of Old Prussian.

Lithuanian has been an especially important language for scholars seeking to reconstruct the Proto-Indo-European tongue because Lithuanian appears to be strikingly conservative in its grammar and its acquisition of vocabuly. The language has changed remarkably little in perhaps 7,000 years. (Some scholars point out--only half in joke--that a Lithuanian peasant can often understand simple phrases in Sanksrit.) For whatever mysterious reason, this language preserves some very old features which have disappeared from practically all the other languages of the Indo-European language family.


Daniel M. Short originally created this map and the other Indo-European language charts for his website at http://www.danshort.com/. I reproduce these images here with the author's permission, but they are copyrighted by Daniel Short as of 2002. These charts should not be reproduced or reused without Mr. Short's approval. You may contact him at danshort@gte.net for more information. These images are not public domain.

 

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Copyright Dr. L. Kip Wheeler 1998-2017. Permission is granted for non-profit, educational, and student reproduction. Last updated January 5, 2017. Contact: kwheeler@cn.edu Please e-mail corrections, suggestions, or comments to help me improve this site. Click here for credits, thanks, and additional copyright information.