Latvian: The language with three dialects and 1.5 million native speakers
10 facts about the Latvian language
Origin of the language
The Latvian language emerged in the current Baltic states.
History of the language
It is believed to have originated in the 8th century.
Learning the language
It takes approximately 1,100 hours to learn Latvian as an English speaker.
Latvian language for beginners
These are ten basics words to start learning Latvian
Music is a universal thing with no boundaries, whether you play inside or outside.
Music Director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra
Oh, these quiet short moments, which so once in a lifetime a person can steal for destiny when the heart freezes and becomes dumb of happiness.
Poet and writer
I'm very emotional: to lose love is the same as dying.
Fun facts about the Latvian language
Four letters in Latvian have a horizontal line over them. The line over ā, ē, ī, ū means the sound of the vowel must be extended when pronouncing it in a word.
11 special characters
The Latvian language has 11 special characters. Along with prolonged vowels, you can find č, ž, and š, which are similar to Slavic languages, and commas under letters ķ, ļ and ņ and on top of the letter ģ.
The ultimate challenge
Blatantly aware of their challenging language, Latvians tease new speakers by asking them to pronounce words with unique letters, such as “šaursliežu dzelzceļš” which means “narrow gauge railroad.”
Beware of the pronunciation
How you pronounce accents can drastically change the meaning of some words. “Kāzas” with a long “a” means “wedding,” but “kazas” means “goats.”
Feminine nouns exceptions
Most masculine noun genders have the letter “s” at the end of the word. However, some feminine words like “valsts” (country) or “nakts” (night) also end with “s.” These are exceptions to the rule.
If you thought your language has a lot of vowels, hang on. Latvian has nine vowels. With the exception of “o,” each has its own long version.
Pink is a unique color
When describing masculine objects, color words take an “s” at the end. However, “rozā” (pink) keeps the same form for both feminine and masculine nouns.
If you're in love with a Latvian, for example, “es mīlu tevi” means “I love you.” For more advanced speakers, you can utter “es mīlu tevi”, which means “beautiful as a flower.”
How to be negative
If you want to negate the verb in Latvian, add “ne” in front of it. For instance, “es saprotu” means “I understand” and “es nesaprotu” means “I don't understand.”
'Don’t “sveiki” strangers
“Sveiki” and “čau” are informal and friendly greetings. However, if you meet an unfamiliar person in a formal situation, use "labrīt” or "labdien."