I have heard that Lithuanian and Romanian are related. As such, I want to know, to what extent they are mutually intelligible.

  • 5
    Moral: Don't believe everything you hear about language. In fact, don't believe anything you hear about language. Check the facts, because there is a great deal of BS about language out there.
    – jlawler
    Commented Mar 2, 2014 at 19:22
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    What you probably heard is that they are both "ancient" or "haven't changed" or that they're" conservative. In the case of Romanian that's largely an assumption based on the fact it's the "only" Romance language retaining three genders and a case system like Latin. In reality at least its case system can be analysed in other ways. Lithuanian on the other hand could even be more conservative than Latin itself ... So yes they're related but no they're not close at all. Perhaps as mutually intelligible as English and Albanian. Commented Mar 4, 2014 at 18:01
  • The only sense I can make of that "relation" is this: the ancient Balkan (Dacian-Thracian) substratum language that influenced Romanian (also Albanian and maybe Macedonian and Bulgarian) is a completely unknown language. Lacking any knowledge about that, a relation that can be imagined at that level is that with the Baltic languages (beside that, with the Iranian languages north of the Black Sea, with Armenian, Phrygian). But that amounts to a few words, nothing to do to mutual ineligibility of present languages.
    – cipricus
    Commented Nov 19, 2019 at 11:18

1 Answer 1


They aren't mutually intelligible at all. Lithuanian is a Baltic language, Romanian is a Romance language. Yes, they're related (both are Indo-European), but no more so than, say, English and Russian.

  • Plus Lithuanian is actually SO conservative, among all other Indo-European languages, it's actually similar to Sanskrit (another very conservative IE lang)
    – Joe Pineda
    Commented Mar 4, 2014 at 3:58
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    To give a precision to Joe's comment, Sanskrit is not really a very conservative language. It is relatively close to proto-IE because it is a very ancient language, so it had 3000 years less than say modern English to change. But given the relatively short time it has, Sanskrit changed quite a lot from proto-IE. For instance, all vowels e,o and a became a, a rather drastic simplification. The r/l distinction also was mostly lost. Plus, a relatively large part (larger than say in germanic or slavic or baltic languages) is borrowed from non IE languages.
    – Joël
    Commented May 28, 2014 at 0:30
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    @Joël: All modern languages that are not pidgins, creoles, or recently emerged are equally ancient. If not, Sanskrit, Lithuanian and English would not be related. They are leaves on the same plant whose branches and twigs are given different names at random unrelated intervals. All Indo-European languages have had the exact same number of years to evolve into their modern forms from their shared root at the bottom of the same tree. Commented Dec 22, 2019 at 10:37
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    @hippietrail uh... Sanskrit is a dead language, not counting liturgical and "revivalist" use, which can only change the language marginally, in a similar way to Latin. So given that Sanskrit and, for example, Latin were frozen in time at a point much earlier than present English or Lithuanian (or Hindi or Romance languages), I don't understand how you can claim they have had the exact same number of years to evolve.
    – LjL
    Commented Dec 22, 2019 at 21:06
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    @hippiertrail I think it is a well established practice that a name of a language also refers to a rough period of its use, hence the distinction between e.g. Ancient and Modern Greek. Sanskrit and Latin are names referring typically to the idealised language states millenia ago. It makes very little sense to use Latin in reference to today's Romance languages. So Sanskrit is a more ancient language state than, say, modern English.
    – Eleshar
    Commented Dec 23, 2019 at 12:14

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