Language Tips!

Bankas, baras, klubas, restoranas, sportas - it sounds easy enough. However, at this point, sadly we have to shatter the illusion and confess that Lithuanian is actually trickias indeedas. We know that you can travel to Spain and pick up the lingo in a month or so, but you'd have to be a veritable genius to do likewise in this neck of the woods.

That said, there's no reason why you shouldn't master a few of the basics. It's not that difficult. You'll be heartened to hear that in the overall scheme of things, Lithuanian is nowhere near the top spot in the world's most difficult languages (as it goes, Hungarian and Japanese stole the show in a survey by the bods at the British Foreign Office). So it's time to prepare for Mission Vilnius and crack those cretinous tongue-twisters!

There's a famous Monty Python sketch where a dastardly writer is sued for creating a wildly misleading phrasebook. Tourists had found themselves asking highly unsuitable questions when all they were really after were directions to the train station. We assure you that all the words below are absolutely genuine, and unless a virus has got into the system, nothing unseemly is included below. Trust us - you'll be speaking Lithuanian in the blink of an eye! Kavine - Cafe
Kava - Coffee
Arbata - Tea
Vanduo - Water
Sultys - Juice
Vynas - Wine
Alus - Beer
Stotele - Station
Traukynas - Train
Vaistine - Chemists

Below you'll find a few of the most basic words to get you started. It's true that English is now widely understood in Vilnius, but the locals will always be delighted to hear you have a bash at their own language. The older generation was of course obliged to learn Russian, but it's not the favourite language with the locals, as it brings back bleak memories. Similarly, you can often make yourself understood in Polish, but you'll be most popular by trying you're luck in the local tongue.

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Vladas from Lithuania Reply Jan 4th, 2015

Sveikas is usually said to a friend/family member (pretty much anyone that you know), but the trick is that the ending 'as' means that the word is like he/she in English, so you can only use 'Sveikas' referring to a male. However if you say it to a female you'll say 'sveika'. If you want a simple way to change the "gender" of the word that ends with 'as' or 'a' just swap those endings and you're good.

Sara from Lithuania Reply Jun 5th, 2014

As tave myliu or As myliu tave means exactly the same- I Love you.

Marti from Ireland Reply Dec 30th, 2012

Danga, a "chemists" or a "chemist" is European English, aka British English, for pharmacy.

Danga Ilginis from United States Reply Apr 5th, 2012

Vaistine does not mean chemists ... it basically means pharmacy

ruta from Lithuania Reply Dec 28th, 2011

sveiki also means healthy. sveiki you say to group of peoples or in formall hello. sveika(s) is one person.

Anntointette from United States Reply Nov 12th, 2011

Nothing 'clicks' to listen. Also, mother, father, grandmother, etc. would be helpful to let people know your family members are from there. Thanks

Ellie from United States Reply Sep 5th, 2011

I was wondering if someone could tell me what the translation of the word sveikis is. I've read that sveikas is hello. Is there a difference with the (is) and(as) ending?

mikas from United States Jun 11th, 2013

my friends have taught me lithuanian. sviekas mean healthy i think. as if you would be referring to a healthy food.

Lithuanian from Canada Reply May 25th, 2011

this site is horrible... some of the translations are way off! i mean they vaguely mean the same thing but there are better ways to translate it. Vaistine means a pharmacy (chemist as per website) now that i went into the comment page i don't remember others but geesh. People are ether trolling or just using google translate :)

Justin Bieber from Canada Reply Sep 26th, 2010

Lithuania is awesome..I might come and visit someday ;)

brittany from United States Reply May 10th, 2010

i LOVE learning lithuanian thinngs i would really LOVE to know more thow by the way wazzzzzzzzzup

O.D from United Kingdom Reply Mar 5th, 2010

Dear Sir / Madam, We are an English school looking to translate a few documents from English into Lithuanina for our Lithuanian students. We do pay if you are accurate and fluent in English and lithuanian. Please advise asap or pass on to someone who may be interested- we are looking urgently. jad7892003@yahoo.co.uk

EL from Jordan Reply Feb 19th, 2010

You know what....I have been in Vilnius for 6 months and this place is very racist, to religion, colour, you name it. I just don't understand how will I stay another year in this city..and dont get me started about ppl in kaunas

bebras from Lithuania Reply Dec 18th, 2009

why would you ever go here? the place is highly racist and antisemitic

Steve Wonder :)) from Australia Reply Jun 11th, 2009

more please :)

Steve Wonder :)) from Australia Reply Jun 11th, 2009

more please :)

Mahdiukas Pagiezukas from Lithuania Reply May 25th, 2009

nu, sviekas, Cia Mahdi is Irano, is Silko kelias, Just love lithuanian language, so so so nice

Miguel Oyarzun from United States Reply Mar 31st, 2009

I highly recommend the "Lithuanian Out Loud" podcasts to anyone interested in learning the language. Go to http://lithuanian.libsyn.com/ and select "Language Course" to start from the beginning...

Vladav Andrevicius from United Kingdom Reply Jan 14th, 2009

ok I wanna learn some useful Lithuanian as well and give some good surprise to my Lithuanian friend Edvinas Sirutavici, he'll be happy to hear me speak in his language

Giedre from Lithuania Reply Dec 8th, 2008

There was a question "I am learnign Lithuanian what does Kas pas tave gero? mean". And someone answered that it means "What do they drink at your place" or sth. - this is total bullshit :) Kas pas tave gero? MEANS What's new? or How are you, any good news? Kas pas tave gero has nothing to do with drinking ;)))))

princess from United Kingdom Reply Sep 17th, 2008

labas, i am learning lithuanian from a friend and it is so cool. lithuanian rocks!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Orangelimon from United States Reply Sep 17th, 2008

"kas pas tave gero" is kinda like "what's good" smthn' like "what's goin' on" u know...it has nothin' to do with drinking or anything like that =D common people,get serious, don't try to confuse others ;)

veronica from United States Reply Aug 10th, 2008

this was helpful.but more words and sentences would surely be appreciated.I AM OF Lith,heritage.

Andrew from United States Reply Jul 24th, 2008

Damo - 'Kas pas tave gero' means 'What do they drink at your [place]'.

Damo from United Kingdom Reply Jul 9th, 2008

I am learnign Lithuanian what does Kas pas tave gero? mean

kwangsoo from Korea Reply Jun 27th, 2008

it will be of help for my future travel to Lithuania

kwangsoo from Korea Reply Jun 27th, 2008

it will be of help for my future travel to Lithuania

kwangsoo from Korea Reply Jun 27th, 2008

it will be of help for my future travel to Lithuania

pratik from United Kingdom Reply Jun 7th, 2008

i love you my baby i want to be with you for life

Orangelimon from United States Reply Apr 21st, 2008

It doesn't really matter if you'll say "As myliu tave" or "As tave myliu" But in your case it would sound better if you'd say "As tave myliu"

Brian from United States Reply Apr 12th, 2008

My great grandmother and grandmother have always said As myliu Tave and told us it was I love you. I have looked this up and get conflicting answers most of withch switch the last two words. Is this something that can be said either way? My grandmother is sick and it may be something I put on her tombstone or a flower arrangement but want to get it right, or hope that she has been right. Thanks for your help with this. Brian

Vilnius Life from Lithuania Reply Mar 19th, 2008

Can anyone out there help us with recordings of the above phrases in good, spoken, Lithuanian? If anyone is able to help (someone with a clear speaking voice and some recording eequipment!) please contact us at Vilnius Life so we can add these to the site. Drop us a line at info@vilnius-life.com and we will contact you about how to do this! Many thanks, the Vilnius Life team

Gyvybė from Lithuania Reply Mar 17th, 2008

novelle, good afternood (day) is not "labas dienas", but "laba diena" ;)

Orangelimon from United States Reply Mar 16th, 2008

" Ash-Me,I" "Tu-You" "Kodel-Why?" "Kaip-How?" "Kur-Where?" "Kada-When?"

Orangelimon from United States Reply Mar 16th, 2008

"Myliu tave-Love you !" "Noriu taves-Want you !" "Tu man patinki-I like you !" "Gerai atrodai- you look good !"

Orangelimon from United States Reply Mar 16th, 2008

Kaip sekasi?- How is it going? Reply--> Neblogai-not bad. Gerai-good. Blogai-bad. Normaliai-fine-so so.

Michael from United Kingdom Reply Nov 14th, 2007

Are you still a virgin? = Ar tu dar mergelė?

novelle from United States Reply Nov 2nd, 2007

good morning - labas rytas good day - labas dienas good night - labanaktis goodbye - sudeiv excuse me - atsiprasiau

desmond from Netherlands Reply Nov 2nd, 2007

please i would like to no more like when u wanna say to ur lady,i love u,where are u,things that have to do with love thanks!!!

Caroline from France Reply May 10th, 2007

It's very interessant. Could you say something more than "this is a dog's life" and "good night, good morning, cheer up ?" Thaank yoou.

Gum from United States Reply Mar 2nd, 2007

Here's a few more words and phrases I found useful when I was there. You'll never be able to pronounce them (especially without seeing the LT characters), but it's a start, right?:
Geras - Good
Labai geras - Very good
I Sveikata - Cheers!
Skanus - Delicious
Myliu - Love
As tave (labai) myliu - I love you (very much).

From the Uzupis Constitution:
Suo turi teise myleti ir globoti kate. - A dog has the right to be a dog.
Nenugalek - Do not defeat.
Nesigink - Do not fight back.
Nepasiduok - Do not surrender.

Also, 'Viso Gero' is a better one to learn for 'Goodbye.' 'Iki' is more like 'see you later' and should only be used with friends. It's polite to say 'Viso gero' to shopkeepers as you exit (and it's pronunciation is straightforward--go for it).

Laime! (Good luck!)

gk.richardson from Aruba and Netherlands Antilles Reply Feb 15th, 2007

i wil love to be in luthuania.

Sunny from Taiwan Reply Feb 10th, 2007

it's really useful. Could you write some more sentences, such as "good morning¡Bafternoon¡Bnight", and so on? Thank you!