Aukštaitian dialect

Aukštaitian (Lithuanian: Aukštaičių tarmė) is one of the dialects of the Lithuanian language, spoken in the ethnographic regions of Aukštaitija, Dzūkija and Suvalkija. It became the basis for the standard Lithuanian language.

Aukštaičių tarmė
Native toLithuania
RegionAukštaitija, Dzūkija and Suvalkija
Language codes
ISO 639-3


Map of the sub-dialects of the Aukštaitian dialect (Zinkevičius and Girdenis, 1965).
Western Aukštaitian
  Sub-dialect of Šiauliai
  Sub-dialect of Kaunas
  Sub-dialect of Klaipėda Region
Eastern Aukštaitian
  Sub-dialect of Panevėžys
  Sub-dialect of Širvintos
  Sub-dialect of Anykščiai
  Sub-dialect of Kupiškis
  Sub-dialect of Utena
  Sub-dialect of Vilnius
Southern Aukštaitian
  Southern Aukštaitian or Dzūkian sub-dialect

Revised classification of the dialects, proposed in 1965 by linguists Zigmas Zinkevičius and Aleksas Girdenis, divides the Aukštaitian dialect into three sub-dialects based on pronunciation of the mixed diphthongs an, am, en, em and the ogonek vowels ą and ę:

Western Aukštaitian – most similar to standard Lithuanian – preserves both the diphthongs and the vowels. It is further subdivided into two sub-dialects:

  • The Kaunas sub-dialect is spoken mostly in Suvalkija. This sub-dialect separates long and short vowels pretty well and properly stresses word endings.
  • The Šiauliai sub-dialect is spoken in a strip between Samogitia and Aukštaitija. This sub-dialect almost always shortens unaccented long vowels (dumẽlis instead of dūmelis – little smoke, vãgis instead of vagys – thieves, lãpu instead of lapų – leaves) and moves accent mark from the end of the word (ràsa instead of rasà – dew, tỹliu instead of tyliù – I am silent, žmònos instead of žmonõs – wives').

Southern Aukštaitian preserves the diphthong, but replaces ą and ę with ų and į (žųsis instead of žąsis – goose, skįsta instead of skęsta – drowns). It is spoken mostly in Dzūkija and therefore is known as the Dzūkian dialect.

Eastern Aukštaitian replaces the diphthongs with either un, um, in, im or on, om, ėn, ėm (pasumda instead of pasamdo – hiring, romstis instead of ramstis – support). The ogonek vowels are replaced with either ų, į or o, ę/ė (grųštas or groštas instead of grąžtas – drill, grįšt instead of gręžti – to drill). It is spoken mostly in Aukštaitija. It is further subdivided into six sub-dialects.



  • Jašinskienė, Janina, ed. (2005). Tradicijos. Iliustruota Lietuvos enciklopedija (in Lithuanian). Kaunas: Šviesa. p. 55. ISBN 5-430-04158-0.