The Baltic languages are a fascinating group of languages that share many similarities, but also have their own unique features. In this blog post, we will compare and contrast the three Baltic languages: Lithuanian, Latvian, and Estonian.
Table of Contents
The Lithuanian language
Lithuanian is the largest of the Baltic languages, with over three million speakers. Lithuanian is a highly inflected language, meaning that there are many different endings for words depending on their grammatical function. For example, the word for “book” can be either “knyga” (nominative case) or “knygos” (genitive case).
Lithuanian also has a large number of loanwords from other languages, particularly Polish and Russian.
The Latvian language
Latvian is spoken by over two million people. Latvian is less inflected than Lithuanian, but still more so than Estonian. One interesting feature of Latvian is that it has two different writing systems: the traditional Latin alphabet and the more modern Cyrillic alphabet.
Latvian also has a number of unique loanwords, particularly from German and Scandinavian languages.
The Estonian language
Estonian is spoken by over one million people. Estonian is the least inflected of the Baltic languages, with very few grammatical endings. Estonian also has a unique writing system, which uses the Latin alphabet but includes a number of additional letters.
Estonian has loanwords from many different languages, particularly Finnish, German, and Russian.
Are the Baltic languages related to any other languages?
The Baltic languages are most closely related to the Slavic languages, particularly Polish and Russian. However, they also have some similarities with the Germanic languages, particularly Lithuanian.