Latvian for Beginners: Lesson One : Introduction
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.
!INFO ABOUT NOUNS!
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
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!!
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?
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 :)
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" ;)