My Lithuanian language skills continue to improve and I am conducting more and more conversations and correspondence in Lithuanian.  However, I am nowhere near fluent and I still fall back on English with colleagues and acquaintances who speak English.  Sometimes this means switching to English completely, but sometimes it means throwing in a word or two in English when I don’t know the Lithuanian word.  As a result, I start speaking and writing a hybrid Lithuanian-English – or one could say, “litglish.”

For example, an email to a colleague at the university…

Aš galiu proofread knygelę.  Kada jusų deadline? [I can proofread the booklet.  What is your deadline?]

Or an email to an acquaintance prior to traveling to a conference…

Mums reikia check-in online ir spausdinti musų boarding passes. [We have to check in online and print our boarding passes.]

“Litglish” goes both ways – I also find myself speaking English with Lithuanian constructions. Don’t be surprised to hear me say in English “We with Giedrė went to see a movie lasts night,” which is an exact translation of the Lithuanian “Mes su Giedre …”, instead of “Giedrė and I…”


About amanda

Creating academic and public environments for the humanities to flourish Researching Soviet and Eastern European history Engaging people and ideas as a writer and interviewer Traveling as much as possible View all posts by amanda

3 responses to “Litglish

  • Lauryna

    Well, sometimes it’s easier to throw in an English word than to say it all Lithuanian, like the word ‘deadline’ you have mentioned. It actually doesn’t have a translation, even though the dictionary suggest “paskutinis terminas” or something similar, no one ever would say “kada jūsų paskutinis terminas”, that’s just not right. It’s like saying ‘what is your ending period?’, it’s just not right…

    I find myself using lots of English words in my speech, words like ‘deadline’. My friends think that I’m transforming into american even though I don’t live in US, haha. But when you think of it, Lithuanian language is lacking of words that describe a specific object/subject not the ones that gives a general description. I mean, if you search for a word ‘excited’ in a dictionary you get 2 results in Lithuanian: 1. sujaudintas and 2. sužadintas (used in scientific language), but if you search for word ‘sujaudintas’, you get 10 different words in English. So it’s kind of frustrating when you try to translate some English text into Lithuanian because you run out of words very quickly!

  • Hinrich Peters

    I speak german. About other languages – english, lithuanian, russian – I can only say: I TRY to speak…
    When I told a good lithuanian friend, that I wish to learn lithuanian, he asked me: So, you wish to ride a dinosaurus? Good comparison, I think.
    When I have conversations in “lithuanian english” I’ve learned very much about lithuanian syntax.
    But for me is the nuke: We talk together. How ever 😉

  • Ken Virta

    I have enjoyed hearing German spoken frequently while I work at T-Mobile, which is owned by Deutsche Telecom (for the moment, anyway). I’m frustrated that after 25 years of neglect, my German has disappeared. However, I can still pick up what is being said because English is often thrown in. I suspect that I enjoy it because it reminds me of listening to my dad and grandmother speak Finnish, which I also couldn’t understand,as a child.

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