Baltic languages are part of the Indo-European language family, spoken primarily in regions east and southeast of the Baltic Sea. Currently, Lithuanian and Latvian are the only spoken Baltic languages. Baltic languages are particularly important linguistically due to their preservation of many archaic characteristics of Proto-Indo-European. Lithuanian is considered as the most archaic of all contemporary Indo-European languages.
The discipline studies language contacts (particularly between Latvian and the Finno-Ugric languages), or how languages affect each other in multilingual environments, and the societal functions of language as part of the everyday life of people. Another research area is the comparison of Finnish and Latvian or Lithuanian culture, literature and folklore.
Central research subjects related to Baltic languages and cultures include
- Vocabulary comparison between Lithuanian, Latvian and Finnish (loans, different semantic groups)
- Comparison of Baltic and Finno-Ugric phraseology
- Comparison of grammatical elements (prefixes, suffixes, preposition government, etc.)
- Comparison of syntax in Baltic and Finno-Ugric languages
- Baltic onomastics
- Baltic sociolinguistics
- History of Baltic and Finno-Ugric languages
- Baltic literature and culture