Lithuanian is a Baltic language related to Latvian and Old Prussian
with about 3.2 million speakers in Lithuania. There are also Lithuanian
speakers in Poland, the USA, Brazil, Argentina, Canada, the UK and Uruguay.
Lithuanian first appeared in print in the form of a catechism in 1547.
The first Lithuanian dictionary was printed during the 17th century.
Between 1864 and 1904 the printing and teaching of Lithuanian was banned
- Russian, Polish, Belarusian or Latin had to be used instead.
After this ban was lifted in 1904, there was a resurgence of Lithuanian
Lithuanian at a glance
Native name: lietuvių kalba
Linguistic affliation: Indo-European, Balto-Slavic, Eastern Baltic
Number of speakers: c. 3.2 million
Spoken in: mainly Lithuania and Poland
First written: 1547
Writing system: Latin alphabet
Status: state language of Lithuania
From 1918 to 1940 Lithuania was independent and over 7,000
books in Lithuanian were published. During the Soviet period (1940-1991), literature in Lithuania
tended to follow the socialist realist model, while Lithuanian ex-pats
wrote mainly about the culture and traditions of Lithuania. Since 1991,
when Lithuania once more gained its independence, a large number of
publications in Lithuanian has appeared, including newspapers, magazines
and scientific and technical works.
Lithuanian is the state language of Lithuania and one of the official
languages of the European Union (EU). It is also recognised as a minority
language in Poland.
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They
are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another
in a spirit of brotherhood. (Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)