Throughout history, Lithuanian verbal folklore, music and dance have undergone evolution with the passage of time. As late as the beginning of the 20th century, all of these expressional forms still had important roles in peasant culture. They fulfilled important functions in everyday life, work and amusement. As a result, the originality and variety of Lithuanian verbal folk arts is quite astonishing. Even though Lithuania is a small country, it is traditionally divided into four main ethnic regions. These divisions are based on dialects, traditions and other cultural elements: Aukstaitija (east), Zemaitija (west), Dzukija (southeast) and Suvalkija (southwest).
The variety of Lithuanian dialects is demonstrated by the map presented later in this chapter. The dialects of Zemaitija differ the most from the others. Their phonetic characteristics can only be recorded very roughly using the standard and literary Lithuanian language which arose from the dialects of Suvalkija.
"LITHUANIAN ROOTS", Edited by Rytis Ambrazevicius