Your name in Lithuanian

Each time I receive a message from my bank in Lithuania, I am reminded of the insistence of that language to Lithuanianize foreign names,


although I don’t quite understand what’s wrong with my first name, which already ends in a perfectly Lithuanian -as (but maybe it is the regressive intransitive vocative case or some other grammatical peculiarity that I never understood). And why is my last name not properly Lithuanianized, like that of movie stars and fictional characters? I want another -as in the end.

So when you move to Lithuania and want to fit right in, you have to add -as, -is or -us (if you are male) or -a or -ė (if you are female) to your first name. Please don’t ask what to do if you are intersexual, because Lithuania doesn’t understand any jokes about this.

To the family name, you add another -as, -ys or -is if you are male. If you are female, your last name is even more complicated. If you are unmarried, you add -aitė, -ytė, -ūtė or -utė. I could never hear a difference between ū and u, but I was told that it’s a huūuūge difference. If you are married, you add -ienė and you keep that form even once you are widowed (I seem to remember also if you are divorced). If you want to be super-progressive and show that your civil status or your love life is nobody’s business, you can now add -ė.

In other words, if you have already mastered several languages and need a real challenge (i.e. massive headache), move to Lithuania.

By the way, I think pet names need to be Lithuanianized too. And agentas Džeimsas Bondas is fighting Munreikeris and Spektras, which really included a Lithuanian actor, Gediminas Adomeitis, playing in the film with, of course, Danielas Craigas. He did not win an Oskaras, though.

About Andreas Moser

Travelling the world and writing about it. I have degrees in law and philosophy, but I'd much rather be a writer, a spy or a hobo.
This entry was posted in Cinema, Language, Lithuania and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Your name in Lithuanian

  1. Jackie says:

    Thanks Andreai Moseras for this very interestingas informationas. Curious to know how one decides between the various suffix options offered for male/female, or is it random preference as it appears from your Bank? Best wishes from (the rather more exotic-than-usualas but always super- progressive) Jacquelinea Dansoné.

    • Haha, I see you are already getting used to having a Baltic name!
      I don’t know if you can freely choose or if Lithuanians simply have a gut feeling what suffix would work with what name. Most people told me that I would be “Moseris”, not “Moseras”. Maybe one needs to have some musical ear for this.

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