How does Vayag work?

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Jaxxed
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How does Vayag work?

Postby Jaxxed » 2010-10-10, 19:13

I've spent a week or two using the Lativan word: vajag

I heard the phrase 'ne vajag' a fair amount, and had a confusing week asking people if vajag is a verb (not needed), an advjective (not necessary) a noun (not a neccessity) or what?
This was hard for me to use at first as I'm used to english, where the necessity concept is a verb. Need to, Want to, Able to, Permitted to are all of the same nature.

In colloquial latvian, gribēt, drikstēt and varēt seem to be used as in english, but the use of vajag confuses me. to indicate necessity we are not using debitive or conjugating vajadzēt and following it with the infinitive of the actual verb.

In discussion with Latvian speakers, we've deduced that the phrase for 'you dont' have to' = often said 'ne vajag' is actually the phrase 'tevi ne vajag' with the dropped dative 2nd person. While the usage of the dative case is still confusing to me, I understand that this can loosely be directly translated as 'to you no vajag', but the nature of vajag is still perplexing me.
I can assume that it is a conjugation of vajadzēt, but what tense/mood?

What is the ontology of vajag? Is it proper Latvian or are people just using it with me because I don't speak Latvian?

I notice that vajag doesn't change based on the subject of the sentence, therefore I'm ready to assume that it's not connected to the subject, but perhaps rather the object (which is also dropped in 'ne vajag')

Also, is it right to assume that the phrase is actually meaning 'you do(n't) have to', as a polite alternative you 'you must(n't)'·

J

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Re: How does Vayag work?

Postby mak » 2010-10-12, 10:16

Hello, J.

nevajag is the negative of vajag which is the 3rd person form of the verb vajadzēt in the present simple tense of the indicative mood (you asked for it :P).

Are you familiar with the verb patikt? vajadzēt follows the same pattern as patikt i.e. the verb is in the 3rd person, the subject is in the dative, but the direct object is in the accusative case or the verb is followed by other verbs in the infinitive. This pattern has already been discussed on this forum here and you may want to read ciuppo2000's detailed post about it. Or if you're already familiar with the debitive mood, you use the verb in the same way except there's no jā- prefix and the verb to be is not used and the object is in the accusative.

vajadzēt can mean to need, should, have to, must and nevajadzēt is simply the opposite.

Can you give us some sentences with nevajag that confuse you? Also, I don't know how much you already know so if you need more detailed expalnations or sample sentences, let me know.
Last edited by mak on 2010-10-12, 19:35, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: How does Vayag work?

Postby ciuppo2000 » 2010-10-12, 17:37

Hello J.!

As usual Mak was exhaustive in his explanation and I would like only to draw your attention to one "peculiar" characteristic of the syntactic pattern of VAJADZĒT.

In a sentence with a verb like PATIKT (to like) as:

1) MAN PATIK ZIEMA (I like winter).

The THEME (ZIEMA) is the syntactic subject of the sentence, hence the nominative

In a sentence with the verb VAJADZĒT (to have to, need, ...) like:

2) MAN VAJAG ZIEMU (I need winter).

The THEME (ZIEMU) is the syntactic object of the sentence, hence the accusative.

In few words sentence 1) is a PERSONAL CONSTRUCTION, that is a sentence with a syntactic subject, but sentence 2) is an IMPERSONAL CONSTRUCTION, that is a sentence without a syntactic subject (of course this is true for Latvian and other languages; in English both sentences have a syntactic subject, "I", and so are both examples of personal constructions).


Ciuppo2000 :)

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Re: How does Vayag work?

Postby Levo » 2010-10-16, 10:10

ciuppo2000 wrote:
2) MAN VAJAG ZIEMU (I need winter).

The THEME (ZIEMU) is the syntactic object of the sentence, hence the accusative.


Exactly like in Hungarian and very similar to Estonian.
Btw, in Estonian vajadzēt is vajama. (Mul on talve vaja)

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Re: How does Vayag work?

Postby ciuppo2000 » 2010-10-16, 11:47

Hello Levo!

I already knew some Latvian lexemes (words) of Finnic (most probably Livonian/Estonian) origin, but didn't know nothing about VAJAMA/VAJADZĒT...very interesting...thank you for the helpful tip!!!

Taking also into consideration the fact that in Latvian the stress is (almost) always on the first syllable (a typical Finnic trait; Hungarian too?) and that in Lithuanian the stress pattern is very different and closer to other Indoeuropean languages, one could suppose that the ancestors of many Latvians were ... not Baltic ... but Finnic :hmm: !!!

Ciuppo2000 :)

PS: if you have noticed others similarities between Latvian and Estonian/Finnish/Hungarian lexicons (vocabularies), please, tell us :yep:

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Re: How does Vayag work?

Postby Levo » 2010-10-19, 16:53

Hello Ciuppo!
I'm very glad someone else sees these too :)
I was learning Latvian because I was so amazed how many similarities it has with my mother-tongue and also with Estonian. For a Hungarian, Latvian phonology is actually quite familiar also :) Almost everything has an exact Hungarian equivalent.

Man patik ziema - exactly like in Hungarian: dative, patikt in third person, ziema in nominative :)

Man ir māja. - We also use the Dative instead of any verbs like "to have"

Yeah, Hungarian has the stress on the first sylabelle almost all the time as well.
I have my Latvian grammar book left in a package in Estonia. I just want to make it be sent to me by mail :)

I could go on with the similarities, maybe next time I try to tell some of those tons of words which are not similar in Estonian the the Finnish equivalent, but similar to the Latvian one, like "piim" /piens/ "milk" or "maja" /house/ "māja".
I love Estonian and Latvian :)

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Re: How does Vayag work?

Postby Jaxxed » 2010-10-22, 14:05

Interesting explanations. Thanks for all the answers, short and long.

I find it interesting that in LV, as in french, the impersonal is used for demonstrating necessity, and the in the common cases, the necessity is considered external to the subject and object. there are philosophical ramifications of this that intrigue me.

RE: particular cases that were confusing: there were no cases that were confusing as the use is actually relatively simple, it's the meaning that wasn't clear to me.

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Re: How does Vayag work?

Postby ciuppo2000 » 2010-10-23, 14:35

Hello Levo!

So...let's open a new topic (we could call it Ugro-Finno-Baltica or maybe something less...highfalutin :ohwell: ) and with the help of all people who likes to visit and post in this forum try to make out if the similarities between Latvian and some Ugro-finnic languages, like Hungarian, Finnish, Estonian, are just coincidences or due to some deeper reason or reasons.

Of course it would be presumptuous of us to believe that we can really even get near to solve these question. Many scholars has written and go on writing about this or similar topics.

In any case it would be very interesting, useful and funny to share ideas, knowledge and hypothesis and to try at least to tackle the question!

These issue should be approached from at least two different point of view: the LINGUISTIC one and the HISTORICAL one.
This two approaches of course are complementary and one has to back the other one.

Similarities may be found in the LEXICON (similar words), in the FONOLOGY (similar sounds), in the MORPHOLOGY (similar suffixes, prefixes, endings and so on) and in the SYNTAX (similar construction).

We have already some examples of this 4 kinds of (certain, possible or supposed) similarities as for instance:

LEXICON: MĀJA (latv.) // MAJA (est.) // HOUSE (eng.); VAJADZĒT (latv.) // VAJAMA (est.) // TO HAVE TO (ing.) ...

FONOLOGY [c] <ķ> (latv.) // [c] <ty> (hun.); the stress almost always on the first syllable of a word ...

MORFOLOGY: the suffix for names of agent -ĀJS (latv.) // -JA (est.) ...

SYNTAX: the expression of possession not with a specific verb, but with TO BE and the DATIVE (or maybe some other cases or phrase) ...

But many more are needed in order to try to find the real reason(s) of these similarities.

With the contribution of all interested persons, we could try first of all to collect some data (linguistic and historical) and then try to explain and systematize these data.

Since the main hypotheses should be basically two:

1) Latvian and Ugro-finnic are closely related.

2) Latvian and Ugro-finnic are not at all related.

We could form two teams: one which should support hypothesis 1) and one which should support hypothesis 2).

We could also post this new topic also in other language-specific forums (Hungarian, Finnish, Estonian, Saami and Lithuanian) in order to broaden the number of persons potentially interested in giving their input in the discussion.

Ciuppo2000 :)

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Re: How does Vayag work?

Postby Levo » 2010-10-24, 10:48

Hi Ciuppo!

It's a nice idea, and I'm glad that someone other is also interested in this topic. Though I think the topic is already researched.
Most linguists, historians and other scientists say that before Baltic tribes invaded the present-day Latvia, there had been Livonians living there.
Latvian is told to be the Finno-Ugrianized version of the Baltic languages with its loanwords and loan-grammar. Of course Baltic language(es) had their effect on nearby Finno-Ugrian ones as well.
If you compare Lithuanian, Latvian and Estonian traditions and culture you will see other facts as well.
In their traditions, cuisine, also mentality Latvians are somewhere between Estonians and Lithuanians. I saw it too with my own two eyes. In some things they are told to be completely like Lithuanians, and in some things they follow exactly the same habits as Estonians.
I met a Livonian woman in person, who was born and raised in the present-day Liivimaa. She is very patriotic about her Livonianism :) She sang lots of folk-songs, knows lots of dances, plays the kannel (kokle in Latvian, kanklés in Lithuanian, kantele in Finnish, which is the same instrument, found only in one other place out of the Baltic region in Europe traditionally, it is Hungary). She stated that Latvian culture is the Finno-Ugrian Lithuanian culture :) In her opinion they took almost everything from the Livonians.
I lived one year in Estonia. Before I had read a lot about Estonia and Latvia as well. During my time out there I've been to Latvia more times. One must admit that the two cultures are abundant in similarities. And now I don't mean only the post 13th century ages.

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Re: How does Vayag work?

Postby ciuppo2000 » 2010-10-28, 10:44

Hello to everybody!!!

The statements and considerations contained in Levo's latest post are, as far as I know, basically all correct, but, in my humble opinion, it is highly improbable that scholars (especially Latvian ones) would agree about such a definition of Latvian language as simply a Finno-Ugrianized Baltic dialect and, even more improbable, that the majority of Latvians would agree about the fact that their culture is simply a ... Finno-Ugrian Lithuanian culture.

Moreover some of Levo's claims or which Levo has quoted savour a little bit of ... "Finno-Ugrianism"...
For example ... he talked about present day "Liivimaa" (a name that could be, by and large, translated as "Livonia"), but this is a concept that nowadays lives only in Livonian, Estonian (and maybe Finnish) culture; for all other cultures is, by now, (and unfortunately taking into consideration the lot of the Livonian people) only a historical concept.
It would be really wonderful if we could still see on an earth political map ... a Livland...inhabited by Livonians, wouldn't be!!!

Levo's "Finno-Ugrianism" is of course ... natural and understandable. Many of the people that speak an Indoeuropean language suffer from "Indoeuropeanism" (included the undersigned), but if we take this not as an ideological stance, but simply as a working hypothesis ... nothing wrong!!!

Taking the above-mentioned into account I would like to examine some of Levo's considerations from an "Indoeuropean" point of view (and let's take this, please, simply as a game or an intellectual competition!!!)

On the understanding that Latvian language and culture is basically a typical Indoeuropean language and culture, we must admit that under some aspects it seems really as a "middle course" between Lithuanian and Estonian/Livonian.

The simpler explanation could be the following:

Latvians share with their Lithuanian cousins a common ethnic origin; this common origin is of course the source of related languages and many common beliefs, customs and traditions.

On the other side Latvians and Estonians/Livonians share a common historical/political/cultural evolution, due, first of all, to the contiguity of the two peoples territories; to the fact the some Latvian tribes merged with the Finnic tribes living around the Gulf of Riga, but, and above all, to the fact that starting from the German/Teutonic invasion the two peoples were englobed in a single political entity.
Starting from the XIII century and for at least 500 years for Latvians were without doubts easier to have contacts with Estonian people than with their Lithuanian cousins.

Then the fact that nowadays Latvian literary language has many similarity with Estonian could be considered a "historical incident". The Latvian standard comes from the dialect of Riga and the sorrounding territory, just the territory where the ethnic merging between Latvian tribes and Livonian/Estonian tribes were stronger.
If the standard would have come, let's say, from the Curonian territory (West Latvia and North-West Lithuania, nowadays Latvian Kurzeme) the similarity between Latvian and Estonian would have been surely less.

In my previous post, the statement: "one could suppose that the ancestors of many Latvians were ... not Baltic ... but Finnic", was a sort of a "provocation"...

...my "Indoeuropeanism" and in my humble opinion the historical, linguistic and archeaological data lead me to the conclusion that: yes, surely many Latvians have Finnic ancestors, but the majority have Baltic ancestors...at least as back in time as a Baltic ethnicity can surely be assessed (and this could open of course another puzzling question... ).

I am sure, and really do hope, that Levo, or anyone else (where are you, Latvians friends!?!) which is interested in this topic or simply likes the scientific dialectics with its never-ending contrast between theses and their confutations, will give his/her contribution to this friendly and interesting "game"...


ciuppo2000 :)

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Re: How does Vayag work?

Postby Levo » 2010-11-06, 10:52

Just one reaction,
I wasn't speaking about my own opinion about Finno-Ugrianism, but about that Livonian woman's opinion where I emphasized her patriotism on purpose :)
As for the term "Liivimaa" - if you hadn't had any contact with it before and then you live in a place for 9 months, and also read books about it in their language where it's called "Liivimaa" then you would probably use automatically this word too.

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Re: How does Vayag work?

Postby Sol Invictus » 2010-12-24, 5:37

ciuppo2000 wrote:The Latvian standard comes from the dialect of Riga and the sorrounding territory, just the territory where the ethnic merging between Latvian tribes and Livonian/Estonian tribes were stronger.
If the standard would have come, let's say, from the Curonian territory (West Latvia and North-West Lithuania, nowadays Latvian Kurzeme) the similarity between Latvian and Estonian would have been surely less.

Um, southern Kurzeme, the northen dialects are the most Livonian influenced there are :whistle:


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