Latvian accent

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Latvian accent

Postby lang » 2010-11-22, 12:07

Hi

I would like to ask what your thoughts on the Latvian accent are and if it is more similar to Russian, like Lithuanian, or more similar to Finnish like Estonian?

Or maybe Latvian and Lithuanian accents sound alike which is like a Russian accent? I don't speak any of these, but to me Latvian accent sounds Russian, but I know Latvian language is not similar to Russian.

Thanks.

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Re: Latvian accent

Postby エヴァルダス » 2010-11-22, 15:59

The question you asked is not answerable objectively. Many sounds of Latvian correspond to the ones of Lithuanian, some of them are similar to Russian, some seem to be taken from finno-ugric languages. There are some important phonetic rules that differentiate Latvian pronunciation from the Lithuanian one and repproach it to Estonian. The four soft consonants are more similar to Russian than to Lithuanian. Language mellody is easy to confound with Swedish.

In general, for Lithuanians, Latvian language gives an impression of Samogitian.

When Latvians speek foreign languages with an accent, for me it sounds very similar to Lithuanian and nothing to do with Russian.

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Re: Latvian accent

Postby lang » 2010-11-23, 3:00

Čau! Liels paldies :D

Thanks for the info, I understand that it is difficult to answer, but I was very interested to know! Samogitian is very interesting! To me it seems like in between Latvian and Lithuanian.

So the Latvian accent is most like Lithuanian, which is understandable as they are in the baltic language group, but what in your opinion does the Latvian and Lithuanian accent sound like? Russian, Finno-urgic? Little Scandinavian? or is it a mix and which accent is most apparent?

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Re: Latvian accent

Postby Aleco » 2010-11-23, 21:49

When I was in Riga quite a long time ago, when I had not yet opened my eyes to languages, I found it surprisingly Russian-sounding. Of course I was young, and I had never heard it before. But then again, I guess one could say that being little and clueless, I made very objective opinions regarding new things :hmm:

On the other hand, when I listened to the occasional Latvian song (I did watch jESC as a little boy :P ) but I don't remember it as sounding Russian then.

EDIT: I just listened to the song again, and sadly it does sound very Russian to me :? Except, Latvian has lovely, clean vowels :mrgreen:
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Re: Latvian accent

Postby lang » 2010-11-24, 4:06

It is exactly the same for me. Upon hearing the language and accent the first time it sounded completely like Russian to me. But I guess this is how it is for everyone the first time as Russian is so well known.

Hearing it more and more the language didn't sound like Russian to me, but the accent did, not a 100% though.

Latvian accent, well, sounds like Latvian :D, but maybe the accent is mostly like the Russian accent but with Finno-urgic and Germanic accents mixed in from it's history as well.

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Re: Latvian accent

Postby エヴァルダス » 2010-11-24, 20:03

I must say Latvians usually speak Russian with a noticeable and clear Latvian accent. Many Russians who do not master Latvian sufficiently have an important accent as well - it can be easily discerned by a non-Latvian speaker too.

There are two easily noticeable aspects of Latvian that differentiate it from Russian:

1) presence of long/short vowel opposition;

2) absence of palatalized/velarized consonant opposition.

From my perspective Latvian pronunciation (mellody above all) is more similar to Swedish than to any other Baltic or Slavonic language.

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Re: Latvian accent

Postby Levo » 2010-12-03, 12:24

Well, for me it was this way:

When I first listened to Latvian language in my life, I had expected something Slavic-sounding. But when the buffering was ready, I was shocked :shock:
For me it sounded something not similar to anything else at all! And it really gripped me.
Right after I listened to Lithuanian, which sounded completely like Russian.

Later when I started to learn Latvian and listened to it more often, I realized it is pretty much Slavic-sounding for my sorrow. Though it was very useful to learn some Latvian, since afterwards it was really easy to cope with the grammar and basic vocabulary of Slavic languages (afterwards I started Croatian, etc...). I found them very similar. And the things which weren't, were so similar to Finno-Ugrian logic, that it was just pure fun for me :)

Latvian accent: I used to be able to speak Swedish, and I didn't find Latvian similar to it at all.
When Latvians speak in English, they have Slavonoid accent in my opinion :/ Especially the strong "h".
Though, those who I met and spoke English at a real conversational level, were much better-sounding for my ears and they had a unique Latvian accent, not similar to other ones, despite of their "h". :)

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Re: Latvian accent

Postby エヴァルダス » 2010-12-03, 14:34

Slavic-sounding for my sorrow


Why „for my sorrow“?

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Re: Latvian accent

Postby Levo » 2010-12-04, 12:10

エヴァルダス wrote:
Slavic-sounding for my sorrow


Why „for my sorrow“?

Because I don't like that.

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Re: Latvian accent

Postby Sol Invictus » 2010-12-24, 5:00

There is a Lithuanian actress who lives in Latvia, her accent sounds very much like Russian to me. :? I`ve read somewhere that Lithuanian and Russian has diffrent accent sytem, besides historicaly it has had contact with more Slavic languages. Considering linguistic influences Latvian indeed may be more like cross between Slavic and Finno-ugic, however Baltic Finn accents are very strange and not even close to Latvian

Latvian accent is a bit rough, but not very Russian to me (which is worst possible accent on Earth... The sound of French speaking Latvian is next worse thing I`ve heard), maybe German is somewhat close, though I think Latvian is slightly softer than that.

These guys sing with pretty bad accent: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qWjpQAU6oeU (gets very obvious around 1:15, guy who appears at 1:40 is Italian). This woman also has pretty noticable accent: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LDTjQxHSe_Q

Aleco wrote:On the other hand, when I listened to the occasional Latvian song (I did watch jESC as a little boy :P ) but I don't remember it as sounding Russian then.

EDIT: I just listened to the song again, and sadly it does sound very Russian to me :? Except, Latvian has lovely, clean vowels :mrgreen:
\
First performance was done by kid who is not Latvian and speaks with some kind of accent in Latvian, the second sonds Russian even to me :hmm: third is kind of okay... I doubt you speak about our this year`s return, but that kid is the only one who acctualy sings instead of yelling, being hoarse or doing some strange thing with her voice

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Re: Latvian accent

Postby Loiks » 2011-01-16, 8:07

In Soviet times the Russians spoke about "Pribaltijskij akcent". I guess they were Latvians and Estonians who were responsible for that in the Soviet Army :D. Levo, my fellow FU has pointed out the "H". I agree, this is very Russian in Latvian pronounciation. But then again, the Latvians can't pronounce the Estonian õ sound that exists in Russian, although it's a bit different than ours.

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Re: Latvian accent

Postby エヴァルダス » 2011-01-16, 9:34

Levo wrote:Because I don't like that.


You are not fond of Russian, Russian accent, Latvians speeking with a Russian accent, Russians speaking Latvian with a Russian accent or something else?

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Re: Latvian accent

Postby Lietmotiv » 2011-01-29, 0:57

I spoke in Russian with many people from the Baltic States,and ,they all speak Russian with an accent(Estonians have the strongest one ,and Lithuanians having the lowest-perceptible accent).
I don't find nor Latvian,nor Lithuanian to sound like Russian. As a matter of fact,I don't think any language sounds like Russian.

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Re: Latvian accent

Postby lang » 2011-02-28, 6:49

Thank you for the interest in my topic. Glad to see people's different opinions.

I also, like Levo, have a dislike for the Russian accent. I'm not sure why, but for me as a native English speaker it sounds harsh and ugly. I really like Scandinavian and Finnish accents and wondered if a Latvian accent sounded more similar to those or Russian (or completely different in itself?).

I found a video showing a Latvian speaking in Russian to a Russian. Maybe it is easier to ask if a Latvian has a similar accent when speaking Russian. Are their accents similar or quite different?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PIyQx6WBy-A

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Re: Latvian accent

Postby Sol Invictus » 2011-03-01, 3:09

lang wrote:I found a video showing a Latvian speaking in Russian to a Russian. Maybe it is easier to ask if a Latvian has a similar accent when speaking Russian. Are their accents similar or quite different?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PIyQx6WBy-A

They both are Russians. I believe I posted a link to a video of Latvian speaking English.

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Re: Latvian accent

Postby lang » 2011-03-01, 6:59

The man on the left, Nils Ušakovs, is the Mayor of Riga is he not? His wiki article says he was born in Riga, Latvian SSR, so maybe he would maybe have some Russian descent in his accent, but he is Latvian.

I find when he speaks Russian that is accent sounds Latvian and the older man's Russian, but I still can't explain if the Latvian accent is like a Russian accent or not. Although now I just realised; when you speak in another language you do use a bit of a different accent to your mother tongue, am I right? Such as, if I spoke French I would not use my english accent, but a bit of a French one.

Thanks I saw your videos, but found it hard to hear if the Latvian accent was similar to anything, as they were singing, and that woman's Latvian accent sounds very strong and Russian-like to me, more than other Latvians. I thought maybe it is better to hear similarities/differences in accent with a news video because of its neutralness, as I am a native english speaker.

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Re: Latvian accent

Postby Sol Invictus » 2011-03-02, 21:20

lang wrote:The man on the left, Nils Ušakovs, is the Mayor of Riga is he not? His wiki article says he was born in Riga, Latvian SSR, so maybe he would maybe have some Russian descent in his accent, but he is Latvian.

No, he is Russian with Latvian citizenship, and there is no reason to believe that he is not a native Russian speaker. According to some anecdotical reports Russians from Latvia are preceived as having accent in Russia, though, which still dosen`t mean it sounds the same as Latvian accent. Here is a video of Latvian woman speaking in Russian (see my note below, she also is not making much effort to adjust... might be also something else wrong with hear, I`m not sure...): http://mango.delfi.lv/zinas/nejedzibas/ ... d=32247945

Although now I just realised; when you speak in another language you do use a bit of a different accent to your mother tongue, am I right? Such as, if I spoke French I would not use my english accent, but a bit of a French one.

That`s why I posted the spa video - I don`t think she is trying to adjust to English, most people do, which is why this might sound particulary harsh if you are native English speaker and not used to people having strong accents.

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Re: Latvian accent

Postby lang » 2011-03-04, 5:08

Oh, sorry. I assumed he was Latvian as he was mayor, I shouldn't have just assumed. I know about how there are many Russian people living in Latvia and some even without citizenship.

Sol Invictus wrote:According to some anecdotical reports Russians from Latvia are preceived as having accent in Russia, though, which still dosen`t mean it sounds the same as Latvian accent.


Thank you very much for that, it answers my question. So Russians in Latvia have an accent perceived different to Russian accent, so Russian accent doesn't sound very similar to the Latvian accent. Maybe it is a little similar though, but not greatly. This is all so very complicated for me as I am a foreigner, but very interesting at the same time. And thank you for that video, would be a nice comparison to a native Russian speaking video.

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Re: Latvian accent

Postby Eno » 2011-05-17, 10:51

For me, as a native Russian speaker, Latvian sound system doesn't sound like Russian. Lithuanian does in some way, but Latvian does not. With its long vowels, which are completely foreign to Russian, it more resembles Finnic languages. All in all there're a lot of sonic features in Latvian which lack in Russian and vice versa. By the way, lots of Russians like Russian language spoken with Baltic accent: Latvian or Lithuanian (though it baffles me how Lithuanians I met in my life manage to speak Russian without any noticeable accent).

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Re: Latvian accent

Postby Levo » 2011-05-18, 11:01

Eno wrote:For me, as a native Russian speaker, Latvian sound system doesn't sound like Russian. Lithuanian does in some way, but Latvian does not. With its long vowels, which are completely foreign to Russian, it more resembles Finnic languages. All in all there're a lot of sonic features in Latvian which lack in Russian and vice versa. By the way, lots of Russians like Russian language spoken with Baltic accent: Latvian or Lithuanian (though it baffles me how Lithuanians I met in my life manage to speak Russian without any noticeable accent).

It's interesting!


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