Latviešu valoda - Sean of the Dead

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Latviešu valoda - Sean of the Dead

Postby Sean of the Dead » 2009-12-17, 4:11

Sveiki draugi! :D


I am soon to start learning Latvian with my dear boyfriend Bryon (bryonj2255 here on Unilang), but even before I have begun learning it I have a couple questions.

First, I have seen that the letters <e> and <o> have two different pronunciations, yet I know of no way to tell which way the letter is meant to be pronounced. Does anyone know of a dictionary, whether English <> Latvian or just monolingual Latvian, that shows the pronunciations of words? An online dictionary or a printed book both work. Also, is there a rule or general way of being able to tell how they are pronounced?

Second, while speaking about books, does anyone know of a site that sells books in Latvian and ships to the USA?

And lastly, is there a rule for when to use a certain tone in Latvian? From what I have gathered, it only appears on long vowels and diphthongs, but I haven't seen anywhere that explains how you know which to use, since they aren't marked in the orthography. I mean are they like in Norwegian, where a word with one syllable has one tone, and polysyllabic words have another? I'm not saying that they work the same way, but that there's a general rule to knowing which to use, with a couple exceptions. ;)


For future reference, how would you say "the person after/below me" or "the following/next person" (whichever works the best in Latvian)?
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Re: Latviešu valoda - Sean of the Dead

Postby mak » 2009-12-18, 23:30

Čau!

How serious are you about learning Latvian?

Here are the rules on how to pronounce e and o (in Latvian)
http://www.liis.lv/latval/ortoep/ortep3.htm
http://www.liis.lv/latval/ortoep/ortep4.htm

You can order books from http://www.amizante.lv

I don't know much about tones but this website claims that this spelling & pronunciation dictionary has information about tones for every word. I assume it will also tell you how to pronounce the words that have the letters e and o in them.

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Re: Latviešu valoda - Sean of the Dead

Postby Sean of the Dead » 2009-12-18, 23:53

I am very serious about learning it. We plan to learn it as part of a challenge over the next year, and continue after that, and we both really love Latvian. It's beautiful. :blush:

Thank you so much for those links! Hopefully I'll be able to get that dictionary, but it's very expensive. :oops:

Oops, it appears we have an unanswered question; don't want it to be forgotten. :P
For future reference, how would you say "the person after/below me" or "the following/next person" (whichever works the best in Latvian)?


Also, could someone possibly translate this sentence please, and maybe gloss it too? I'm working on translating tho page about the pronunciation of <e> that Mak gave me, but I really can not figure this out.
Šaurās [e] skaņas izrunu pamato kādreiz visur lietotā mīkstinātā [ŗ] skaņa šaurinātājskaņas funkcijā.
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Re: Latviešu valoda - Sean of the Dead

Postby ciuppo2000 » 2009-12-19, 13:48

Frankly speaking you should not pay too much attention, at least in the beginning, to the open/closed E/Ē question or to the special tones of some syllables.

The correct pronunciation of the grapheme (letter) O is instead a much easier question to tackle and moreover an incorrect pronunciation would raise a greater "disapproval" from native Latvian speaker than an incorrect pronunciation the grapheme E/Ē.

You should focus at the the beginning mainly on syntax, morphology and on extending your Latvian
vocabulary. Only when your knowledge of Latvian will be deeper you will be able to return to the issue of E/Ē pronunciation and of the tones.

A good and not very expensive grammar is
"A SHORT GRAMMAR OF LATVIAN - TERJE MATHIASSEN - SLAVICA PUBLISHERS, Inc - 1997"

A good monolingual dictionary http://www.tezaurs.lv/sv

ciuppo2000

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Re: Latviešu valoda - Sean of the Dead

Postby Sean of the Dead » 2009-12-19, 19:12

Yeah, that's what I had been thinking, since it's not too important, and I'll be understood fine without always pronouncing the E/Ē right, but I've always been somewhat of a perfectionist when it comes to pronouncing any language, so I wanted to do as well as possible, because to me, pronouncing an entire letter wrong is unacceptable. :lol:

I was planning on getting that grammar, but it's good to know a near-fluent speaker recommends it. Just curious, how long ago did you start learning Latvian, and using what? Thanks for the link. :)

Is no one able to provide translations?
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Re: Latviešu valoda - Sean of the Dead

Postby ciuppo2000 » 2009-12-22, 8:09

I started learning Latvian many years ago, so taking into consideration this fact I should speak and write it better than I am actually able :silly: .
I used in the beginning mostly teaching material intended for Russian speaking people (though my Russian was and is very poor), material that I had the possibility to buy or get during my stays in Latvia (Jūrmala) and afterwards I tried to get all books on Latvian written in English or German.

As for the translations:

the person below me cilvēks zem manis
the person after me cilvēks aiz/pēc manis
the next/following person nākamais cilvēks

By the way the ē in the word cilvēks is open.

In any case the opinion of a native Latvian speaker on this translations would be welcome :)

ciuppo2000

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Re: Latviešu valoda - Sean of the Dead

Postby Sean of the Dead » 2009-12-22, 8:44

Great! Why the interest in Latvian? Just a random interest, or ancestry, or...?

Also good to see I translated "the following person" correctly in the thread I made. :)
Thank for all of them! One question though, where did the "-is" ending in "manis" come from? I'm not so sure.

I've translated most of the page on the pronunciation of <e>, and it has been really helpful. From what I learned, I figured it would be open, but I wasn't too sure. Thanks for letting me know. :y:
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Re: Latviešu valoda - Sean of the Dead

Postby mak » 2009-12-22, 17:00

ciuppo2000's translations are fine

Most prepositions in Latvian take the genitive. The genitive of "es" is "manis"

(the <e> in "es" is open. Someone who knows this stuff can correct me if I'm wrong)

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Re: Latviešu valoda - Sean of the Dead

Postby Bryon » 2010-06-01, 21:48

Several months ago I was learning Latvian with Sean of the Dead, and we liked it a lot, but we had stopped learning it because I couldn't see how useful being fluent in it would be, and that my time would be better spent learning a different language, one that would be at least somewhat useful to us as independent translators in the future (for me, Finnish.) But, we still really like Latvian, and were wondering: if either/both did learn it seriously, and got quite fluent in it, how useful would it be for translating? I mean, what is the demand for translations from Latvian to English (or the other way around)? If either/both of us would have a use with it for translating, then it would give us a great excuse to learn it. We both love the culture and history, and all the media and literature in it, but unless it would useful to us, it would be better to spend our time learning a different language. You can't always get what you want unfortunately. :( :P

Many thanks to your replies, we look forward to reading them!
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Re: Latviešu valoda - Sean of the Dead

Postby Sean of the Dead » 2010-06-12, 23:22

Well, we have decided that we will learn Latvian anyways, we love the language, the country, the culture, everything.

And I wanted to share this song, it's beautiful. :mrgreen:
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Re: Latviešu valoda - Sean of the Dead

Postby mak » 2010-06-15, 14:15

Bryon, you are right, you are better off learning other languages.

Knowing Latvian which is spoken by only 2m people (0.03% of the world population, that's not even one 10th of a percent) is not useful at all unless you plan on living here. Then again if you live in Riga or near the Russia/Belarus border you might be better off learning Russian. If you marry a Latvian, he/she will probably be more happy to learn English than watch you struggle learning Latvian. If you plan on doing business with Latvians, I'm guessing you will be more successful if you speak flawless English than broken Latvian with a heavy accent.

Latvian translators will be better at English than you will ever be at Latvian. If you are a linguist why don't you learn Lithuanian? But if Latvian is just a hobby then it's a nice language to learn.

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Re: Latviešu valoda - Sean of the Dead

Postby Sean of the Dead » 2010-06-15, 19:27

mak wrote:Latvian translators will be better at English than you will ever be at Latvian. But if Latvian is just a hobby then it's a nice language to learn.

Thanks for the encouragement. :P But you are right, Latvian would be useless for translating, but we will still learn this magnificent language some day, to gain access to the country and culture. :)
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