Mažāsis Princos — in Samogitian.

The Samogitian language, also known as “Žemaitiu ruoda” in Samogitian or “Žemaičių kalba” in Lithuanian, is a distinctive dialect of Lithuanian spoken primarily in the Samogitia region in northwestern Lithuania. Although it is considered a dialect of Lithuanian, Samogitian exhibits significant differences in phonology, grammar, and vocabulary, which sometimes leads to it being regarded as a separate language.

Samogitian has a richer vowel system compared to Standard Lithuanian. It includes additional diphthongs and a greater distinction in vowel length. There are several consonantal differences. For example, the Standard Lithuanian š can become [s] in Samogitian. Additionally, the hardening or softening of consonants can differ. The stress patterns in Samogitian can differ from Standard Lithuanian, with a tendency for stress to fall on different syllables.

While both Samogitian and Standard Lithuanian use a similar system of noun declensions, there are differences in endings and sometimes in the declension patterns themselves. Personal pronouns and their declensions can differ. For instance, the Standard Lithuanian “aš” (I) in the nominative can be “aš” or “uš” in Samogitian. The verb conjugation system in Samogitian includes some unique forms and endings that are not found in Standard Lithuanian.

Samogitian includes a number of unique lexical items that are not present in Standard Lithuanian. These often pertain to everyday life, nature, and local customs. Due to historical interactions, Samogitian has incorporated words from neighboring languages such as Latvian, Polish, and German.

The Samogitian dialect is a strong marker of regional identity. Speaking it is a source of pride for many Samogitians and a way to assert their cultural heritage.