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Latvian for Beginners: Lesson One : Introduction

Hey Guys,

I decided to create a series of Latvian lessons so you can get to know my language and culture better or maybe even kick start your path in learning Latvian.

Latvian is a member of the Baltic group of languages. Its closest related living language is Lithuanian.It has several relative languages that are extinct (Old Prussian,Curonian etc.)

Latvian has three dialects : Riga/Vidzeme (standard), Kurzeme (difference in pronounciation) and Latgallian (sometimes considered a seperate language).The differences between Riga dialect and the Kurzeme dialect, mostly pronounciation and vocabulary. The Kurzeme dialect usually knocks off the last vowel and is spoken faster than the Riga accent: Septiņ- / Septiņi the former being Kurzeme and the latter being Riga.

The Latvian Alphabet consists of 33 Letters:

A a = a in Dad.

Ā ā = a in Car.

B b = b in Brother.

C c = ts in Cats.

Č č = ch in Chair.

D d = d in Door.

Dz dz = ds in Lids.

Dž dž = j in Jog.

E e = e in Elephant.

Ē ē = ai in Fair.

F f = f in Finger.

G g = g in Gap.

Ģ ģ = is pronounced similar to d and j together.

H h = h in House.

I i = i in Gin.

Ī ī = ea in Mean.

J j = y in You.

K k = c in Car.

Ķ ķ = is pronounced similar to t and j together.

L l = l in Line.

Ļ ļ = is pronounced similar to l and j together.

M m = m in Man.

N n = n in Noon.

Ņ ņ = n in new.

O o= o in Corn (sounds like uo) or o in On ( differs in every word).

P p = p in Spine.

R r = Spanish rolled R.

S s = s in Sun.

Š š = sh in Shine.

T t = t in State.

U u = oo in Foot.

Ū ū = oo in Moon.

V v = v in Vacation.

Z z = z in Zebra.

Ž ž = s in Pleasure.

We will learn about Dipthongs Another day.


There are 7 cases and 2 genders in Latvian

The seven cases are:








There are 6 declension groups (3 for Feminine Nouns and 3 For Masculine Nouns). We will learn more about this in an in-depth lesson about cases.

I hope you enjoyed the first lesson of Latvian for Beginners. Please Comment,Thumbs Up or Leave a Lingot

Atā un visu Labu!! Verner

August 31, 2015



Duolingo needs a Latvian course.


I agree to you


Wow, awesome, keep going! :)


Thank you Verner5! Please keep going! I signed up to Duolingo to learn Latvian...what do we need to do for there to be a basic introductory course?


I agree 100%!!! What can we do to get Latvian on Duolingo?! Me and my partner (who is Latvian) are moving there next year and I am trying to learn but it is a very difficult language! It is hard when not emerged in it too. My partner writes me homework etc and I am progressing slightly but I would really really love Duolingo to pick up Latvian!!


Thank you! I'm also very curious about Baltic languages and will definitely work on a Latvian or Lithuanian tree, whichever comes first! :))) I hope Duolingo approves your application to create a course!


I am trying to get a Latvian course on this App, but so far myself & wife have been unable to, I love duolingo, and wouldn't mind if I had to pay. But thanks for at least putting something down on here.

  • 2244

The Baltic languages were always a bit of a mystery for me, even now they are among the few European languages that I wouldn't recognize if I heard them spoken.

I'd probably dabble in a future Latvian or Lithuanian tree, at least to see how they compare to the Slavic and the other Indo-European languages if nothing else. But from what I can tell, Lithuanian and Latvian, though in the same family, are not that close - are they?


They have a lot of words in common, the grammar is very similar (almost identical) and the roots of many words make them more mutually intelligible aswell as suffixes and prefixes.


Still though, far from being mutually intelligible. A bit of a shame, though perhaps more exciting that way.

[deactivated user]

    Lithuanian and Latvian are both very similar languages...they share many words and have similar words.


    Quite nice, just stumbled upon this, happy to see that people are interested in the language.

    A few things I'd like to add. Use phonetic alphabet when describing sounds, because these English approximations are just that - approximations, they will also vary depending on the speakers native accent, so you should indicate whether you base it on US/UK or some other form of the language.

    This is especially evident for ģ, ķ, ļ, approximating them as you (and many others do) guarantees an erroneous pronunciation, because the tongue position of the true sounds is vastly different than that of trying to slide from d to j (in the case of ģ). Also the quality of the vowel sounds and consonants is different even if they seem quite close (c>ts not quite, but close). And lastly the very first approximation A ~ Dad is off, Dad actually corresponds much more to the wide E (in Latvian there's to types of E). The short A sound is like "ou" in Touch.

    But again, was pleasantly surprised to see this. :)

    Paldies, Verner :)


    Paldies! I married a Latvian about 13 years ago and am still struggling to get a good grasp. Now that we have kids, I have a much stronger incentive to learn. In line with the previous comment, what can we do to facilitate a Latvian Duolingo course?


    I am Latvian but lost my language so trying to start over


    I'm from a Latvian family/bloodline so I want to learn more while I'm still young. I'm also starting to not understand my parents, and to my other family members too. ;(


    This was 4 years ago that this thread got started! is there any help that Duolingo needs in creating a course for Latvian? I would happily volunteer some time and energy doing research and helping to assemble a course.


    I'd help too! Half-British and half-Latvian over here, studying a degree


    Outstanding) Thumbs up and Lingot for your labor of love


    Thank you, looking forward for the second lesson :)


    good start. Hope you'll add this language also in full


    I really want to learn Latvian, and I'm trying to work through "Latviešu valoda studentiem", which is a great new book - but still a book, and it's so much harder for me to get into a study routine with a book than with Duolingo...

    I was recently thrown into a Latvian-speaking group for 2 weeks, and I do often understand the topic of conversations in Latvian, but otherwise I was pretty useless, sadly. I picked up some specialty vocabulary about "florbols" though :D Latvijas speciālā olimpiāde <3 - I need a Duolingo course more than ever now, so I can talk to my "florbolistus" ;)


    There should definitively be a course in Latvian at Duolingo!


    I need a Latvian cours also :)


    Was there any continuation of this?


    I'd say that A as in America as dad has a ae type of sound. And where is the "Nekatrā deklinācija" - non assignable declension. But yeah, this is a very good subject and many people could benefit from this.


    Liels paldies! Mums vajag Latviesu kursa.

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