Sunday, January 24, 2010
This method would work with other heavily declined languages as well. The thought occurred to me the other day that when explaining declension in Lithuanian, there really is no need to explain it using sentences that are written completely in Lithuanian, as this may tend to confuse the learner who is forced to take everything on in one go (verb conjugation, unfamiliar words, declension, different word order, everything). So when teaching declension why not just write out sentences almost entirely in English (or whatever the mother tongue of the student happens to be), with only the words being used to show declension in Lithuanian?
To demonstrate this, I've taken each of the words in the Lithuanian declension page from Wikipedia used to show how all five declensions work, and have created a short story or conversation using each and every form in both singular and plural, at least once. I've also done my best to make them as memorable as possible, as imparting the information in a specific story may make it easier to retain than just one dry sentence after another.
I've just finished writing it out so there may still be a typo or two, and hopefully lyzazel will take a look at it. Also note that this is more of a memorization exercise than a perfect demonstration of cases in Lithuanian, so not all instances will match up to their Lithuanian equivalents.
The next "level" after this would be declination of adjectives as well, but adjectives are much easier so the stories for those shouldn't take very long to create.
|vaikas = child|
Into the room walked a vaikas. This was the third vaikas because there were already two vaikai on the other side of the room. The vaiko face looked worried, while the other two vaikų faces looked quite calm at first. On the one vaike was very little money, while on the two vaikuose in the room there was quite a bit; they were from a rich family. The two vaikai called to the one vaikui. "Vaike, what are you doing here?" The one vaikas responded to the two vaikams: "Vaikai, I am here because your father sent me." What? The two vaikų father sent a new vaiką to join them? Did he not love the two vaikus he already had? What was he attempting to do with this vaiku? The new vaikas thought to himself: "Use them, vaike. You may not like them but with these vaikais and their family you may be able to accomplish great things..."
|brolis = brother|
Once upon a time there were three broliai. The middle brolis said to the eldest broliui: "Broli, I am bored of our life here in this small village. Let us set out to the city to see what opportunity awaits us." The eldest brolio face lit up as he had always wanted to make a name for himself. But the youngest brolis said to them, "Broliai, I still have one year left of school here. Let us wait just a bit longer." The other two brolių faces showed disappointment but they knew their little brolis was right. On the eldest brolyje was a sword, and he went out back to practice it some more for when the time came. Meanwhile, on the two younger and weaker broliuose were books, and they took them out to study by the firelight in the house. But while they had a year to wait, to all three broliams came a kind of hope. It was very likely that next year someone would hire the eldest brolį to become a soldier, and certainly someone would hire the two younger and intelligent brolius as scribes. In the beginning they would probably need to use the eldest broliu to pay the bills, but eventually they would all become three great broliais.
|arklys = horse|
A: "What's your favourite animal?"
B: "Well, I'm not sure but I think I like that arklį over there."
A: "That one? In general arkliai usually like humans, but that one arklys doesn't like people at all."
B: "But I used to have two arklius back home that looked like that one and they were both very nice. Here, let me try calling him. Arkly! ...."
A: "Told you, he doesn't like people. With that arkliu you won't even get over that ridge, let alone the next town."
B: "Well, have you even tried sitting on the arklyje? That arklio body looks like it was made for people to ride."
A: "I don't know. It looks to me like pretty much all arklių bodies are made for that. You might know arklius better than I do."
B: "I think I do. I used to give carrots to my two arkliams back home. My guess is that this arklys likes them. Here, let's try giving this arkliui a carrot or two."
A: "So how far did you ride before using your two arkliais?"
B: "Pretty far. I would always have a big saddle with lots of equipment on my two arkliuose, and they enjoyed the ride. I would even take them together with a friend of mine sometimes. Just tell them arkliai, to the city! and off they'd go."
|motina = mother|
There are many types of motinos in the animal kingdom, and indeed the human motina is actually quite similar to them. On the human motinoje is the same instrument for producing milk that one finds on other motinose among mammals. It's true that other mammals get stronger quickly by means of their motinomis, but a human baby will still develop quite a bit over time relying on its motina too. Of course, there are also large differences. The human motinos body is only made to have a single baby every few years, while the bodies of cat motinų are capable of giving birth to many kittens at a time. Also, I'm not sure if my kitten remembers his motiną or not, but humans continue to talk with and see their motinas even after they grow up. My friend still says "motina!" whenever he sees his motiną. And so to the human motinai and all the motinoms in the animal kingdom we say to them "Motinos, good job!"
|katė = cat|
A: "Look, there's a katė on the street! Let's call it and see if it comes over."
B: "Here kate kate kate..."
A: "No luck, he ran away. I hear there are a lot of katės in this neighborhood."
B: "There are. My sister always gives food to all the katėms that live here, and sometimes pets those kates too."
A: "Yeah, I was hoping we could pet that katę too."
B: "Well, it takes time. A katės personality isn't like that of a dog. You can't just go to where there's a group of katės and say "Hey katės!" and expect them to come over.
A: "So what about the kittens of these kačių?"
B: "Their mothers usually take care of them. I gave some food to a katei on the street the other day and it turned out that she was the mother and carried the food all the way back to them."
A: "I saw a katę the other day on the street - on that katėje was a moustache that made it look like Hitler."
B: "You should have taken a picture. If there is a moustache on those katėse they're called "Kitlers" and with those katėmis you can get pretty famous online if it's funny enough."
A: "Note to self - take picture of katę, use kate to get famous..."
|pati = wife|
|Vocative||pati (or pačia)||pačios|
In that house there is a husband and pati, newly married. It's not just your average couple though, because the pačios husband is overly attached to her, and another man secretly loves his pačią. On the pačioje is a wedding ring that she wears out of obligation, as opposed to on other pačiose who wear their wedding rings out of love and joy. She became a pačia a few years back, around the same time that most of her other friends became pačiomis too. Those pačių husbands are generally pretty average people, and they are fairly happy pačios. When those husbands proposed and gave rings to their pačioms they were very happy, while when this husband gave his ring to his pačiai she was secretly unhappy but accepted it nevertheless out of pity. This couple sees the other husbands and pačias on the weekend sometimes, though this pati would rather spend the weekend alone. After the couples return home the husbands say "pati (or pačia), did you have a good time?" and the answer is usually yes. But the one pačios answer is often no. The lesson here: pačios, be careful about making such decisions lightly!
|vagis = thief (masculine)|
Vagys are very popular in role-playing games. Using a vagimi a team of players can get into areas they never could before without him. On your average vagyje is a set of lock-picking tools, and on many other vagyse are tools that let them disguise themselves as completely different people. A vagies personality is also very interesting, as they are less altruistic than other characters. The moral character of these vagių can even be slanted towards evil. Using these vagimis in an adventure is also very exciting - you never know when you are going to hear "Hey, vagie, stop! Somebody catch that vagį!" If there is a vagis in a bar and you want to approach that vagiui to join your team, it's best to think of what you have that the vagis would want. It's also good to remember that too many vagys can be a bad thing. In full out combat it's easy for monsters to injure those vagis as they are individually quite weak, and if you are a group of vagys you're going to always have officials telling their guards "Go to those vagims and arrest them all; they're criminals so we'll take them out in one fell swoop." You certainly don't want an adventure to end with the words "Vagys, for the good of the state I hereby sentence you to death!"
|akis = eye (feminine)|
A: "You know what's interesting? My akies colour is a kind of weird green."
B: "Don't you mean your akių colour? You have more than one akį, you know."
A: "Oh yeah. I was just reading about the Cyclops in Greek mythology so maybe that's what did it. The Cyclops did pretty well just using one akimi."
B: "Sure, and many other animals use more than two akimis as well so they would look at our two akis and think them to be pretty weird. Exactly the same way that we look at the one akį of the Cyclops and wonder how he lived with that."
A: "The akis is pretty varied when you think about it. The akys of birds are capable of seeing ultraviolet as well.
B: "And even on your average akyje you don't even find the same components either. On the akyse of insects you find a weird kind of honeycomb-type shape."
A: "Yeah, those akys are pretty weird. Well, to my akims they look weird, that is."
B: "And to the akiai of the Cyclops your akys look weird too."
A: "I suppose so. I wish I could use other akis sometimes. I'd look at one of them and say "Akie, come here! Time to try you out.""
B: "Talking to inanimate objects already I see. I bet when you get older you'll say things like "Akys, don't fail me now!" when you're alone."
|sūnus = son|
Sūnūs play an important role in mythology, history and popular culture. Alexander the Great's father once famously said to his sūnui: "Sūnau, ask for thyself another kingdom, for that which I leave is too small for thee." There is of course also the story of the prodigal sūnus from the Bible. Daedalus had a sūnų named Icarus, and on his sūnuje were the wings of feathers and wax he used to try to escape but flew too close to the sun. His sūnaus ambition was too great and he ended up perishing in the ocean. Worf in Star Trek: the Next Generation is one of two sūnūs of Mogh. Mogh's sūnų goal was to regain their family honour. Though Mogh perished honorably in battle, he was accused of being a traitor after death and he surely would have liked to say to his sūnums: "Sūnūs, I did not betray the two of you; I died defending the Empire." if he could. Eventually though they were able to expose the plot that made their father look like a traitor and they became sūnumis with honour again. Romulus and Remus from Roman mythology are also interesting. The river deity Tiberinus took these two sūnus and kept them safe. Some say that later on one day there was a shovel on the first sūnuje Romulus, with which he killed his brother and became the sūnumi for which the city was named. Other accounts say though that Romulus didn't kill his brother and that in these two sūnuose was only love for each other.
|profesorius = professor|
"Profesoriau, come in." said Sherlock Holmes. In walked the profesorius, who seemed quite nervous at being in the presence of the legendary detective. On the profesoriuje was a gold pocket watch, which Holmes expertly noted as he intently watched the profesorių. Nervous, he began to speak. "I became a profesoriumi just five years ago, and am thus still new and do not know the other eight profesorius I work with as well as I should, though I engage in research daily with those those profesoriais. It really is quite the closed society and one cannot simply say "profesoriai, I am one of your circle now and should be privy to your secrets" just by having the same academic degree. In fact, on those profesoriuose is a certain seal that they own but I do not, and I have never been able to ascertain what sort of meaning it has to those profesoriams. I did approach one profesoriui one day to ask, but he pretended as if I had never asked in the first place." There was silence, and finally Holmes spoke. "Nine profesoriai in one faculty, very interesting. There is a reason why they did not speak to you of the matter - those profesorių group is one only known to a few and never has more than eight members. But we can discern something about the group nevertheless. Tell me about the profesoriaus countenance at the time, the one you dared to ask about the group that day..."
|vanduo = water|
Vanduo is common in most places on Earth, and humans as well as animals usually need to drink vandenį every day. There are many types of vandenys, and using these various types of vandenimis - for example vandeniu from the sea, or vandeniu from rivers, humans can do more than just drink. Humans take these vandenis and use them for scientific research as well. For these vandenims one needs a type of self-sustaining ecosystem, otherwise it would all disappear. For the vandeniui in a river for example you need a mountain to provide a source. In these various vandenyse you can find humans doing different things, like bathing or exploring or even using those vandenų features as weapons of war. In the fantasy desert world of Dark Sun, certain priests even worship these vandenis, saying things like "O vandenys of the past, please return and restore the green age that once was! I ask you to come forth now, rain vandenie!" Vandens appearance to the people of that world is a very welcome one, as they do not even have enough of it to bathe in vandenyje as people from other worlds can.
|sesuo = sister|
A: "So I heard you're the only boy in the house and have two seseris."
B: "That's right. The first sesuo of mine was born before me, and two years after I was born we had the second so there are two seserys in total."
A: "What is your first sesers personality like?"
B: "She's pretty responsible and feels almost like a mom so I don't even call her by her name, just seserie."
A: "And is the personality of both seserų the same?"
B: "No, she's completely different. I watch my second seserį and think just how little she resembles the first."
A: "Do you talk to your seserims a lot?"
B: "Sure, but I talk to my second seseriai more. She's become a really nice seserimi to me. Well, both of them have become nice seserimis of course, but the second is easier to talk to."
A: "I noticed a new ring on your first seseryje the other day."
B: "Yeah, I've seen a lot of jewelry on both my seseryse fairly recently. I think they both have boyfriends or are just trying to show off. I sometimes ask them "Hey seserys, what's up with all the jewelry?" but they never tell me of course. My seserys are pretty secretive."
|duktė = daughter|
There are a lot of dukterys of famous and powerful people throughout the world. The president of Uzbekistan has a dukterį that is quite powerful and is often said to be interested in running the country after his death. Chelsea Clinton is the duktė of Bill and Hillary Clinton, and she became a much more well-known dukterimi during the election campaign in 2008. On these dukteryse is often found a type of dilemma where they have to balance being so famous with trying to live a normal life. A dukters personality is largely shaped by the culture in which she grows up. Many countries still try to avoid having dukteris, and this often results in these dukterys becoming dukterimis that work extra hard to impress their family. These dukterų ambitions often know no bounds, and this ambition is especially found in the dukteryje of a family with no other children, as this child wants to become a dukterimi that the whole family can be proud of. To these dukterims I say "Dukterys, you are absolutely correct!" It is actually a blessing in disguise for a dukteriai like this to be given such responsibility, as it is far better than a life without ambition. So do not despair, dukterie, your life is what you make it.