Lithuanian often makes use of diminutives to soften the connotation of words or make them more personal. The national symbol is Vytis, the white knight, sitting astride his horse and brandishing a sword; he symbolizes the nation's struggle to defend itself from intruders.The national plant is rue, and the national bird is the stork.
Dialects vary by region, and their distinctiveness often depends on the distance from the nearest big city or the proximity to borders, where incorporation of neighboring countries' words is common.
The language has survived despite a history of domination by foreign powers and serves as a focal point of cultural identity.
The flag consists of horizontal stripes in yellow, green, and red; the colors symbolize nature (sun and trees) Emergence of the Nation.
The origin of the nation and the development of its culture were strongly influenced by foreign occupation of the country and are the result of the perceived need of the people to preserve something of their own.
The intelligentsia, with help from the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences, drafted a document making demands for the future of the Lithuanian state.
Among those demands were autonomy, equal rights for aliens within Russia, the construction of Lithuanian schools, freedom of worship, and the return of Suvalkija, which was controlled by the Poles.
Lithuanians are fond of nature and have a strong feeling of a shared culture that begins as early as primary school, where folk music, national traditions, and holidays play an important role.
Among those who remember life under the Soviet regime, pride in surviving a period of repression and difficulty is a focal point of the national culture.
Lithuanian is spoken by nearly everyone in the country except for a few Russians and Poles in Vilnius and in the extreme east and south.
It is a language with many words to describe a single idea.
The most noticeable distinction between regions is the change in dialects as one travels across the country. Just over 40,500 square miles (65,000 square kilometers) in area, it shares borders with Poland and Kaliningrad (Russian Federation) in the southwest, Belarus in the east, and Latvia in the north.