Although Lithuanians may appear as reserved and non-emotive speakers, the Lithuanian language has many beautiful words for expressing affection and love.
Expressing feelings takes time for Lithuanians, when they do however you can be sure that they mean it. Lithuanians are known for being quite particular about keeping it slow in relationships and their culture is based on old-fashioned traditions: they take their time before expressing love and fondness.
The word “Meilė” and its many forms are the most commonly used words of affection in Lithuanian. This word translates to “love”, and many different words and phrases can be formed from it:
Saying “I love you” is obviously not reserved for romantically involved partners. It can also be used with close family members. The term “Mano meilė” can be used:
The reason the word “Meilė” is switched to “Meile” in this example is because of the change of the case: Lithuanian language has 7 cases and when a vocative case is used the words ending with “ė” switch to “e”. E.g.:
In Lithuanian, the most common words of affection for men which are used by women are:
These three Lithuanian terms of endearment can be used when addressing a loved one. They can also be used when referring to a loved one in a conversation with someone else. For example:
The words of affection from the previous section can be easily changed into feminine forms, for example:
In Lithuanian, adjectives with endings such as -usis and -asis correspond to the masculine gender, while the endings -ioji and -oji correspond to the feminine gender.
There is an easy explanation to this and a way to memorize the words. They are the combination of the adjectives and pronominals: jis, ji (he, she) + the adjective. For example:
When expressing love, it is also common to address a woman as the following:
However, the meaning of the last phrase depends on the context since it could also mean “My female friend”.
Lithuanians don’t just call their loved ones by name, they come up with terms of endearments that are reserved for the significant other. Here are some of the terms:
It is also common to use a superlative degree of comparison when expressing affection. These adjectives must match the nouns in terms of gender, for example:
Some common Lithuanian terms of affection used with friends are:
For close friends, it is not unusual to use diminutives which are created by adding a suffix to a name. For example:
Name diminutives are commonly used in informal situations to express friendliness and familiarity and can also be used with children. As you can see, there are certain suffixes to be used with names. By far, the most common ones are -elis/-elė and -ėlis/-ėlė.
Other suffixes include: -ukis/-ukė, -utis/-utė, -ytis/-ytė. They are also very common when creating cute words of love and coming up with nicknames.
The standard words used to address family members in Lithuanian are:
In addition, some diminutives can be formed and are used by many:
In total, the Lithuanian language contains at least 80 suffixes and has a great potential for the formation of new words. A diminutive is an important part of the Lithuanian language to express not only affection, but also to convey ironic or artistic meanings.
These are some cute and playful Lithuanian words to address children:
In Lithuanian, there are different levels or degrees when expressing fondness, let’s review a few phrases that Lithuanians use the most:1 Tu man patinki
This phrase is used to confess to someone that you like them. It can be addressed both to a man or a woman. It may also be turned into “Tu man labai patinki” (I like you a lot) or “Tu man be galo patinki” (I like you endlessly).2 Tu man rūpi
The expression above may be used when talking about love towards a partner or a family member to express tenderness and re-assure them of your feelings.3 Aš myliu tave
Often shortened to “Myliu tave” (Love you) and said to your significant other, close friend or a family member.4 Aš tave įsimylėjau / Įsimylėjau tave
A timeless confession.5 Aš pasiilgau tavęs
Could be shortened to “Pasiilgau tavęs” (Miss you) or “Aš ilgiuosi tavęs / Ilgiuosi tavęs” (I am missing you).6 Tu esi gražus (M) / Tu esi graži (F)
A polite phrase to make a compliment. In this example we can see that adjectives can easily have masculine and feminine forms created by adding an appropriate suffix, in this case it is -us for masculine and -i for feminine. The word “gražus/graži” can be used to describe anything that has an aesthetically pleasing quality, like a person, scenery, piece of art, an item, etc.7 Tu esi patrauklus (M) / Tu esi patraukli (F)
Used not only to describe a physical appearance in Lithuanian, but also an attractive personality, this is a great phrase to compliment someone you recently met or want to express fondness to. Can also be shortened to “Tu patrauklus / Tu patraukli”.Conclusion
Despite seeming to be reserved and cold at first, Lithuanians use plenty of cute names and diminutives to express their affection. Specifically when addressing adults, it is important to keep in mind which level of familiarity you wish to maintain. The best way to learn is to pay attention to how a particular person addresses you or what are the common terms used by your group of friends.