Hitory of Lithuanian Language

Topics: Latvia, Baltic languages, Latvian language Pages: 3 (1071 words) Published: May 14, 2013
The Lithuanian language belongs to the Indo-European language family. As already mentioned, Latvian and Lithuanian are the only two Baltic languages and are distinct from the Slavic and Germanic languages. Historians believe that Balts already in the 2000 BC diverged from the Indo-European community. The contacts between Balts and the Finno-Ugric tribes have left the impact both on the development of Baltic and Finno-Ugric languages. To a greater extent it has influenced the Latvian language much more than the Lithuanian language. Baltic tribes, i.e. Couronians, Semigallians, Latgallians, Selonians as well as Finno-Ugric Livonians, have inhabited the territory of the present day Latvia. Therefore, the Baltic people are one of those rare European nations that have inhabited the same territory for such a long period of time. The languages of Latgallians, Semigallians and Selonians have been rather similar, which has resulted in their merging during the migration processes of their tribes. Apart from the other languages spoken by Latvian tribes, the Couronian language was essentially distinct from them. It was the reason why it managed to remain longer as an independent language of a nation and only later merged with Latvian and Lithuanian. By tribe consolidation the process of the Latvian language formation began in 10th – 12th centuries. The language characteristics of the different tribes have been preserved in the three dialects of the Latvian language, i.e. the Middle dialect, the Livonian dialect (also called ‘tāmnieku’) and the Latgalian dialect, which encompass over 500 dialectal varieties. Both living Baltic languages have preserved many ancient Indo-European characteristic traits. The primarily speech sounds, especially the vowels and diphthongs in the Baltic languages have been preserved more precise than in many other Indo-European languages. First written text in Latvian, the Lord’s Prayer, is dated back to the 16th century,...
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