Lithuanian declension

Lithuanian declension

:"This is an article about declension system of the Lithuanian language"Declension in the Lithuanian language is quite sophisticated in a way similar to declensions in ancient Indo-European languages (such as Sanskrit, Latin or Ancient Greek). It also is one of the most complicated declension systems among modern Indo-European and modern European languages.

Traditionally, scholars count up to ten case forms in the Lithuanian language. However at least one case is reduced to adverbs, and another is extinct in modern language. So the official variant of Lithuanian has seven cases, and an eighth case is used in some dialects and reduced to an adverb in others. The cases are:
* nominative
* genitive
* dative
* accusative
* instrumental
* locative
* illative (dialectic)
* vocative (nouns only)
* allative (reduced to adverbs)
* adessive (extinct)

The Lithuanian language has three grammatical numbers: singular , dual and plural. The dual number can be applied to any word, but it was used quite sporadically during the last century. And it's almost unused presently, except few words, that retain their dual forms. The singular and the plural are used similarly to many European languages. Singular, dual and plural inflections of the same case always differ among themselves and there's no rule, how to make, for example, the plural inflection from the singular of the same case.

Declension paradigms


The a-paradigm is used to decline:
* nouns of the first declension
* adjectives of the first declension (masculine forms)
* adjectives of the third declension (masculine forms, palatalized sub-paradigm)
* all pronouns (masculine forms), except the pronoun "pats" – 'own, self'
* all passive (the main sub-paradigm) or active (the palatalized sub-paradigm) participles (masculine, - active participles have their specific nominatives)
* all ordinal numbers (masculine forms, adjective inflections)
* significant part of cardinal numbers (masculine, see the list below)

The a-paradigm is the most complex declension paradigm in Lithuanian. It has two different sub-paradigms, one of which is the main paradigm. The second sub-paradigm is called "palatalized", which means that the last consonant of the stem before the inflection is always palatalized. Note that in this case the palatalization mark (the letter "i") is marked as a part of the inflection. The a-paradigm is masculine.

Also note, that inflection of the a-paradigm is different for nouns, adjectives, and pronouns in some cases. However not every pronoun is declined, using the inflections from the pronoun column in the table below. Some pronouns as well as every numeral of the a-paradigm use the inflections from the adjective column.

The main sub-paradigm

* Tas - 'that', rudas - 'brown', namas - 'house'.


* Part of pronouns ("kas" - 'who, what', "kažkas" - 'somebody, something', "tas" - 'that', šitas - 'this' etc.) use the main sub-paradigm, but others ("jis" - 'he', "šis" - 'this', "kuris"- 'which' etc.) the palatalized.
* Pronouns "koks" - 'what' (quality), "kažkoks" - 'somewhat', "toks" - 'such', "šitoks" - 'such'(demonstrative) , "kitoks" - 'different, other' have the inflection -s instead of the regular -is in the singular nominative.
* Pronoun "kitas" - 'another, other' is declined using adjectival inflections.
* There are few pronouns, that don't use the a-paradigm:
** Personal pronouns "aš" - 'I', "tu" - 'you, thou', "mes" - 'we', "jūs" - 'you' (plural), that formally are of the indefinite gender, each has its own specific paradigm.
** Pronoun "pats" - 'own, self' uses the i-paradigm.
** Note, that pronouns "kas" - 'who, what' or "kažkas" - 'somebody, something', that have the indefinite gender only, do use the a-paradigm.


* The a-paradigm (the main sub-paradigm) is used with all ordinal numbers in masculine and with all collective numbers.
* The a-paradigm (the palatalized sub-paradigm) is used with all numbers-for-plural-only in masculine.
* Cardinal numbers that use the adjectival a-paradigm (the palatalized sub-paradigm) in plural (as they're plural only) are:

keturi - 'four' penki - 'five' šeši - 'six' septyni - 'seven' aštuoni - 'eight' devyni - 'nine'

* Cardinal numbers that use inflections of nouns of the a-paradigm both in singular and in plural are:

šimtas - 'a hundred' tūkstantis - 'a thousand' milijonas - 'a million' milijardas - 'a billion' ... and other internationally accepted words for big numbers.

* Some cardinal numbers have their own specific paradigms:
** a number "du" - 'two' uses a paradigm of the dual number.
** a number "trys" - 'three' uses a specific paradigm, similar to the i-paradigm.
** a number "dešimt" - 'ten' is undeclinable (however it's a shortened word from "dešimtis" - 'ten', which is of the i-paradigm).

List of numbers, that don't use the a-paradigm

Here is a list of numerals that don't use the a-paradigm in the masculine. See the o-paradigm for feminine numbers.

du - 'two' (dual number, has a special paradigm) trys - 'three' (the i-paradigm) vienuolika - '11' dvylika - '12' trylika - '13' keturiolika - '14' penkiolika - '15' šešiolika - '16' septyniolika - '17' aštuoniolika - '18' devyniolika - '19' (numbers 'vienuolika' - 'devyniolika' are singular words of the o-paradigm) dešimt - 'ten' (undeclinable, sometimes "dešimtis" as a word of the i-paradigm)

Nominatives of the active participles

Note that:
* The sub-paradigm for adjectives is fully identical with the main sub-paradigm and is mixed-type, with some inflections palatalized and others not.
* The plural of nouns in this sub-paradigm is identical with the plural of nouns of the a-paradigm (the palatalized sub-paradigm).


The o-paradigm is used to decline:
* part of nouns of the second declension (whose singular nominative ends with -a or -i)
* adjectives of the first declension (their feminine forms)
* adjectives of the second declension (their feminine forms, the palatalized sub-paradigm)
* all pronouns (their feminine forms)
* all passive (the main sub-paradigm) or active (the palatalized sub-paradgm) participles (feminine)
* all ordinal numbers (feminine forms, the main sub-paradigm)
* cardinal numbers from "vienuolika" - 'eleven', "dvylika" - 'twelve' to "devyniolika" - 'nineteen' (in singular!)
* (feminine) cardinal numbers, that are used in plural, except a number "trys" - 'three'.

The main sub-paradigm

* Ta - 'that', ruda - 'brown', meška - 'bear'.

Note, that the inflection of the plural genitive is palatalized (-ių).


The i-paradigm is used to decline:
* nouns of the third declension, which are mostly feminine (dantis - 'tooth', debesis - 'cloud', vagis - "thief" and few nouns that end with -uonis in the singular nominative are masculine exceptions)
* nouns of the fifth declension, which are mostly masculine (duktė - 'daughter', sesuo - 'sister' are feminine exceptions)
* pronoun pats - 'own, self' (masculine form)
* number trys - 'three' (has the plural only)

All these words use the unsuffixed sub-paradigm, except the nouns of the first declension, which apply the suffixed sub-paradigm

Unsuffixed sub-paradigm

The words in the table:
* pilis - 'castle', vagis - 'thief'.

Other features:
* Other cases than the singular nominative always have a suffix, -en- for masculine words and -er- for feminine words. There are only two feminine words, using the suffixed sub-paradigm, duktė - 'daughter' and sesuo - 'sister'.

* A word duktė - 'daughter' has the inflexion instead of -uo in singular nominative.
* A word šuo - 'dog' has a suffix -un- instead of -en-. The root of this word formally is a single "š-", but historically it was "šu-", that subsequently amalgamated with the suffix, and the further cases are šuns, šuniui, šunį and so on.

* A word sesuo - 'sister' has a synonim sesė, that's used in vocative ('sese!') more often, than the first ('seserie!'). The synonim "sesė" is of the ė-paradigm.

Dual number

The dual number has its specific inflections, that are similar with plural inflections with some specific differencies:
*Nominative, accusative or vocative: masculine words end with -(i)u, feminine with -i
*Genitive and locatives are the same as in the plural.
*Dative has the inflection of the plural dative, but without the final "-s", so "-(i)ams", "-iems", "-(i)oms", "-ėms", "-ims" in the plural give -(i)am, -iem, -(i)om, -ėm, -im in the dual respectively
*Instrumental has the same inflections as the dual dative, but they are pronounced in different intonation.

Other features:
* It depends on the paradigm, whether "-(i)" in the brackets is used or not. The masculine i-paradigm always has "-iu" as the nominative inflection.Irregularities:
* A word "du" - 'two' has three modifications of the stem, d- (in nominative and accusative), dv- (in dative and instrumental) and dviej- (in genitive and locatives)
* Words "mudu" - 'we (both)', "judu" - 'you (both)', "juodu" - 'they (both)' (masculine), "jiedvi" - 'they (both)' (feminine), as well as "šiuodu" - 'these (both)', "tuodu" - 'that (both)', "abudu" - 'both' and their feminine counterparts have a specific paradigm, based on declension of a word "du" - 'two' (see an example in the paragraph about pronouns).

Shortened inflections

Inflections, that have two or more syllables, are often shortened in Lithuanian, eliding the final short vowel. Shortened inflections are especially used in the spoken language, while in the written language full inflections are preferred. The elision occur in:
* Singular locative. Inflections -ame, -yje, -oje, -ėje may be shortened to -am, -y(j), -oj, -ėj. Note, that a one-syllable inflection -e of the a-paradigm isn't a subject of the rule.
* Plural instrumental. Feminine inflections -omis, -ėmis, -imis may be shortened to -om, -ėm, -im. These inflections coincide with respective inflections of the dual number.
* Plural dative has one-syllable inflections, but sometimes they are shortened, skipping the final -s, to -am, -iem, -om, -ėm, -im. These inflections coincide with respective inflections of the dual number too.
* Plural locative. A masculine inflections -uose may be shortened to -uos. What however doesn't pertain to inflections -yse, -ose, -ėse, whose shortened variants would coincide with inflections of other cases.

Also there's just one occasion, when the whole one-syllable inflection may be skipped. This may be done with feminine active participles of the past tense (or of the past iterative tense) in the singular nominative. So a word "dariusi" - 'who was making, who has made' can be said as "darius". Note, that this shortened form coincides with the sub-participle of the past tense.


Nouns in Lithuanian language have five declensions which are defined by the inflection in singular nominative and genitive cases. It is currently proposed that the classical declension rules should be reformed to better reflect inflections.

Only few borrowed words, like taksi (taxi) or tabu (taboo), are not subject to declension rules.

(pati is one of only two Lithuanian nouns with the ending -ti; the other is marti, which means "daughter-in-law")

Third Declension

-is (masculine & feminine)


In Lithuanian language adjectives have three declensions determined by the singular and plural nominative case inflections. It is proposed that the three classical declension rules would be regrouped into four: two masculine and two feminine.


Personal pronouns "aš" (I), "tu" (you) "jis" (he, it), "ji" (she, it) and the reflexive pronoun "savęs" are declined as follows:

Singular1st Personmanęsmanmanemanimimanyje
2nd Persontutavęstautavetavimitavyje
3rd PersonMasculinejisjojamjuojame
Reflexive pronounsavęssausavesavimisavyje
Dual1st PersonMasculinemudumudviejųmudviemmudumudviemmudviese
2nd PersonMasculinejudujudviejųjudviemjudujudviemjudviese
3rd PersonMasculinejuodu "or" jiedujųdviejųjiedviemjuodujiedviemjuodviese
Plural1st Personmesmūsųmumsmusmumismumyse
2nd Personjūsjūsųjumsjusjumisjumyse
3rd PersonMasculinejiejiemsjuosjaisjuose

Note, that the table contains only the objective genitive of pronouns "aš", "tu", "savęs". The possessive genitives of these words are "mano", "tavo" and "savo" respectively. Compare "jis manęs laukia" - 'he waits for me' and "mano draugas" - 'my friend' ('friend ' is in masculine), but in "jis mūsų laukia" - 'he waits for us' and "mūsų draugas" - 'our friend' the both genitives coincide as in almost any word.


*J. Marvan. Modern Lithuanian declension: a study of its infrastructure. University of Michigan. 1979
* Lituanus. [ Lithuanian in the 21st century] . Retrieved 2007.04.28
*I. Savickienė, A. Kazlauskienė, L. Kamandulytė. [ Naujas požiūris į lietuvių kalbos daiktavardžio linksniavimo tipus pagal natūraliosios morfologijos teoriją] . Retrieved 2007.04.28

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