Lithuanian is a very old language with connections to Latin, Ancient Greek and
Sanskrit. This quote is attributed to French linguist Antoine
Anyone wishing to hear how Indo-Europeans spoke should come and listen to
a Lithuanian peasant.
Lithuanian Embassy Flag by Mr.TinDC is licensed under CC BY 2.0
This is in itself very interesting, also because Lithuanian is less well-known,
and has survived bans and attempts of being eradicated in the past. I also have
a personal connection to the language because it is the native language of
my girlfriend and her family. I am trying to learn it, and while I (slowly)
do so, two things stand out to me:
The first is that in Lithuanian, when you read a word, you know (almost) how to
pronounce it. This is very different from for example English and Danish, where
the connection between writing and pronunciation is complicated and fraught
with exceptions. See for example ghoti, pronounced “fish”.
The second is that Lithuanian uses seven cases, which means a word has seven
different forms depending on its role in a sentence. A remnant of a case system
is seen in personal pronouns in English: I helped her, and she helped me. “I”
and “me”, as well as “she” and “her”, have the same “meaning”, but a different
form depending on roles such as subject and object. In Lithuanian, every noun
and adjective changes depending on role. And these roles include cool things
like being a location or an instrument or means of doing something!