Lithuanian Sign Language dictionary
Welcome to Lithuanian Sign Language dictionary online!
There are about 8000 signs of Lithuanian Sign language (LSL) provided here in this dictionary. The dictionary has been compiled since 2004 in cooperation of deaf and hearing specialists. It will be expanded and improved in the future.
Special features of this dictionary:
- signs are taken from the live LSL but not like equivalents of Lithuanian words;
- we tried to give more common variants (concerning regional variations, age etc.);
- the meanings of signs are described comprehensively and examples of their use are given;
- you can search signs as per the criteria: a word or a shape of a sign (see „How to use“), a search as per the topic is also intended in the future;
- sign-characteristic movements of lips are indicated.
Please, let us know if you notice some mistakes or have some comments: there is a Forum in the right corner at the top. If you notice a mistake or have some special comments or suggestions related to a concrete sign, you can leave a message at the bottom next to that concrete sign. Thank you very much for collaboration and sharing your experience.
How to use
Only a short description of the search is provided here. In order to find out how to use each criterion of the search, click the green question-mark next to the criterion.
Here you can find:
1. Which sign/signs coincide or partially coincide with the word you need. Select Paieška pagal žodį, Atitinkamas žodis, enter the word in the field below and click Ieškoti.
2. How the word you need is produced in sentences of LSL. Select Paieška pagal žodį, Vartojimo pavyzdžiuose, enter aword in the field below and click Ieškoti.
3. A sign according to its shape. Select Paieška pagal gesto formą, select the necessary parameters and click Ieškoti. We recommend selecting the parameters with the clearest shape at first – shape and place of the hand – which you can select from the illustrations by clicking Pasirinkti. However, if the search gives you too many results and it is difficult to find the necessary sign, specify the search by indicating the position of the hand, maybe the movement of lips, and in case the sign is shown with two hands, you can also indicate the parameters of the second hand.
After performing the search as per one or a few criteria, all the signs coinciding with these criteria are provided. By clicking a necessary sign, you are directed to the sign description window.
Description of a sign
In the description of a sign the following information is provided:
- The name of a sign or gloss – a relative name of a sign – is written in capital letters. It conveys a meaning of a sign as exactly as possible, but it is not the indication of this meaning. Some names of signs have numbers (1, 2, 3, ...) and/or letters (a, b, c, ...) at the end, for example, KURČIAS 1a, KURČIAS 1b, KURČIAS 2. Numbers denote signs of different shapes with the same or similar meaning named with the same word (for example, KURČIAS 1 and KURČIAS 2 are different signs with the same meaning „deaf“) and letters – different variants of the shape of one sign (for example, the signs KURČIAS 1a and KURČIAS 1b differ from each other just because the first sign is shown with the hand 1 and the second one – with the hand N).
- It is indicated below the shape of the hand a sign is shown; if the shape of the hand changes, it is denoted with the indicator →, and if a sign is shown with two hands and is non-symmetric, the shape of the other hand is written after the slash mark /; for example, the shape of the sign GAUTI is 5+ → A / Bn – it means the shape of the main hand is 5+ at the beginning of the sign, A at the end, and the second hand is Bn.
- Movement of lips. The slash mark / separates two or more possible variants of the movement of lips when a sign is shown.
- Then, meanings of a sign are indicated and appropriate words with examples of the use are provided. Each sign can have one or more meanings and one or more appropriate words can be suitable for each meaning. The example of the use is provided for each appropriate word – a sentence in sign language where a sign has the exact meaning and its translation into Lithuanian. The sentence in sign language can be seen by clicking Video next to the sentence.
- Grammatical information is indicated below: it is indicated if a sign is inflected in the direction, quantitative or polysynthetic, (by clicking the question-mark next to it, the meaning is explained) and if it is not – nothing is indicated.
- Below, under a blue line, it is indicated if a sign has any synonyms, homonyms or antonyms; they can be seen by clicking an appropriate box.
You can comment on signs or give any other remarks on them just below the description of each sign. You can write in Lithuanian or send a video recording.
At the bottom of the page („Peržiūrėta”) there is list of signs you have looked through during this log-in in order to find them again quickly.
About Lithuanian Sign Language
Lithuanian Sign language (LSL) is a language of Lithuanian deaf community and it is used by over 6000 hearing impaired and hearing (e.g. those who was born in deaf families, have deaf parents) people. LSL is a mother tongue, a means of communication and thinking for the most of these people. In 1995 LSL was officially recognised as a mother tongue of Lithuanian deaf community.
Sign language is not international one. LSL is one of more than 100 sign languages of the world which are used by the deaf. Each country has got its different sign language (e.g. Lithuanian Sign language (LSL), British Sign language (BSL), American Sign language (ASL) and so on.). Naturally, the grammar of different sign languages is rather similar.
According to statistics, there are over 6 millions deaf people in the world for whom sign language is the only naturally learnt language. Nevertheless, it is possible that the number of sign language users is bigger. Sign language is a basement of the deaf as a linguistic and cultural community.
LSL is a separate language, absolutely different from Lithuanian. It has got its own grammar, expressed by the use of space, proforms, mimics and other movements. It is not true, that every Lithuanian word has got an equivalent sign. One word may be expressed by two, three or more signs. E. g., a word can may be interpreted as IT IS ALLOWED or IT IS POSSIBLE in sign language, a word man – as MAN or SPOUSE. A sign indicates a notion, not a word or a sound.
LSL is a natural language. It was not created artificially but originated itself naturally as a means of communication between the deaf. It is difficult to say when the beginning of sign language was, because there are no any reliable sources of information. Russian Sign language (RSL) has done a great influence on LSL during the Soviet occupation. That is the reason why LSL and RSL both have got many similar or the same signs.
We often face the wrong opinion, that sign language is poor and it is impossible to discuss elaborate topics in sign language, because it is not expressive enough or there is lack of signs. It is not true. Some people think that sign language has not got grammar – case, degree, conjugation, etc. However, sign language has got grammar – it is related to the use of space, proforms, and non-handed elements.
There are some cases when one word is expressed in different signs, for example, the word “run” is expressed differently to say “blood is running from the nose (a nose is bleeding)”, “water is running from the tap”, “a wolf is running”, “time is running”. Sometimes hearing people think that there are about 3000–4000 signs in sign language. To tell the truth – there are many more.
As Lithuanian contains some dialects, Lithuanian sign language has got different variants as well, for example, some signs in Vilnius, Kaunas, Klaipėda, Šiauliai are different. For example, signs PEA, KITCHEN are different in Vilnius and Kaunas. Signs, used by the youth and the elderly can be different too, for example, now we show signs TABLE, CAKE, JULY, AUGUST in one way and the elderly use other signs for these words. Young people learn many new signs at school, communicating with their friends and the elderly may not know some of their signs, but they do understand what it is said. At school or in a group of friends there is often one person whose sign language is brilliant and others absorb his signs and use them. Children learn a lot of signs from their deaf parents and if parents are hearing then children learn signs from their peers.
A lot of variants of sign language are used in Lithuania, but there is no common form of Lithuanian sign language. It was tried to standardise LSL by publishing the “Vocabulary of Lithuanian sign language" (books 1–5, started in 1995). However, the deaf did not accept it and lots of signs did not consolidate. Common form of languages cannot be created in an artificial way. But in the course of time, a certain variant of sign language can be consolidated (for example, sign language of the deaf living in Vilnius – in this variant of LSL teaching material for the deaf and hard of hearing is compiled and used all over Lithuania).
Hearing people often have a question: what do signs denote: letters or words? Actually, they denote neither letters, nor words. Signs, as well as words, denote notions. Also, there is a finger spelling in LSL and usually some special Lithuanian words are finger spelled (names, titles and some specific terms while there is not a sign for it yet.).
Sometimes, such a form of speaking is used when people speak Lithuanian (using voice or voiceless) and sign at the same time. It is called a calque language. It is not sign language, but Lithuanian shown in signs. For example, Lithuanian can be spoken, written, written in Braille or shown in signs. In this case, signs denote words. Thus, the calque language does not use the grammar of sign language and the meanings of words are not considered very often. For example, the word “stand” is shown as the sign STOVĖTI without considering whether a person, a car or an animal is meant; the word “happy” is always interpreted as the sign LAIMĖ, although the sign LAIMINGAS is used to speak about the feeling in LSL.
The calque language is difficult to understand for the deaf, its understanding depends on a person’s lip-reading ability because the main text is said orally and signs are just like the auxiliary means. So, the calque language is a proper means of communication for those who have not been deaf since birth and some hard of hearing whose mother tongue is Lithuanian. However, the calque language is incorrect in respect of sign language.
When the deaf communicate with hearing people, they also often use Lithuanian together with sign language. This kind of speaking is similar to the calque language, but the deaf often use more grammatical features of sign language, for example, verbs are inflected in the direction, quantitative nouns are used etc.
LITHUANIAN EDUCATIONAL CENTRE FOR THE DEAF AND HARD OF HEARING
Filaretu str. 36, LT- 01210 Vilnius, Lithuania
Phone number: +370 5 2154427
Headmistress Girdutė Lepeškienė
DEPARTMENT OF METHODOLOGICAL AIDS AND SIGN LANGUAGE
Phone number: +370 5 2153959