There are over 85% of native speakers of Lithuanian in Lithuania, which is the country’s official language. 90% of the speakers in the country are fluent. Lithuanian is considered a national identity, due to the centuries of its usage in the country. For this reason, the ability to speak Lithuanian has been used since the 19th century in order to determine whether an individual is a Lithuanian citizen or not. Aside from Lithuanian, other minor languages, such as Russian and Polish, are spoken in some regions of Lithuania by its native speakers.

As aforementioned, the official national language in Lithuania is Lithuanian. Lithuanian is also used as an official language in the European Union and is the most popular language in Lithuania, with over 3 million native Lithuanian speakers. Lithuanian is part of the Indo-European language family and an Eastern Baltic language. Lithuanian is the most conservative language of all languages in the Indo-European family, having retained most of the original features found in ancient languages, such as Ancient Greek. The Lithuanian language experienced its greatest threat during the years of Soviet occupation in the 20th century, when Russification started to encourage the use of the Russian language in the country.

Lithuanian has two distinct dialects in its original form: Aukstaitian or Highland Lithuanian, and Samogitian, or Lowland Lithuanian. These two dialects are further divided into three sub-dialects, with Aukstaitian divided into South, East, and West, while Samogitian is also divided into South, East, and West. The standard version of Lithuanian is actually derived from west Aukstaitian. Lithuanian uses the Latin script in its written form. The Commission of the Lithuanian language regulates the official use of standard Lithuanian in the country.

The minority languages spoken in Lithuania include Russian and Polish as the largest ones. Russian is spoken by about 8.2% of the population, a result of its usage having been enforced during Lithuania’s occupation by Soviet Russia, when Russian was used as the lingua franca. Ukrainians, Belarusians, and Jews in Lithuania also speak the language aside from Russians.

Another minor language spoken in Lithuania is Polish, which is natively spoken by about 5.8% of speakers in Lithuania. Polish is predominantly used in southeastern parts of the country by a minority ethnic Polish community inhabiting the region. Although Lithuanian is used for all official communication purposes in the country, the use of these minority languages is promoted by the government by using them as the medium of instruction in regional educational institutions.


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