Lumilintu learning Latvian

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Lumilintu learning Latvian

Postby Lumilintu » 2016-08-16, 21:42

Hi everyone!

I didn't find an active Latvian discussion thread, so I decided to follow hwyadinnguaq's example and open a personal thread for the (future :oops: ) progress I make in Latvian and any upcoming questions – I hope that's okay.
I've been wanting to learn Latvian for years, but never got to it. Now that next year I won't have any Hungarian classes anymore, I realized that I suddenly have lots of some free time… :mrgreen: And that's how I ended up registering for the Latvian course. Finally!
Right now I'm quite excited, the course will start in less than two weeks and I'm really looking forward to it.

I already have access to some of the material we will use in class, the first chapter of the textbook and some online dictionaries. I noticed that there are no grammar references listed, so I was wondering if there's any Latvian grammars that you'd recommend? What I have in mind is some kind of book where to quickly look up grammar, either with explanations only or with additional exercises, like a textbook. I'm asking right now as I'll be going to Lithuania next week and chances are high that we might have a short stop in Latvia, so that I could check out some bookstores there. :D I did find some online resources, but I wondered if there might be any printed versions that are worth checking out.
Last edited by Lumilintu on 2016-08-17, 13:00, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Lumilintu learning Latvian

Postby Sol Invictus » 2016-08-17, 4:56

This is a good site for quick grammar reference: http://valoda.ailab.lv/latval/vispareji ... lgrame.htm

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Re: Lumilintu learning Latvian

Postby Lumilintu » 2016-08-17, 6:06

Paldies!
I think I've seen that site before (maybe in the resource collection on here?), but you're right, it seems perfect for quick grammar reference. I'm still curious if there's any printed grammars you'd recommend (I like books the old-fashioned way, on paper :oops: ) ?
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Re: Lumilintu learning Latvian

Postby Sol Invictus » 2016-08-17, 6:43

Yes, I try to add any valuable resources I find to it. I don't know any grammar books for learners, you could try to find something in this book store, but I didn't see anything relevant, except using search feature there are some learning aids for Latvian pupils and academic books (they have stuffed Russian grammar in Latvian grammar section for some reason BTW), but they have some study books

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Re: Lumilintu learning Latvian

Postby mak » 2016-08-18, 8:26

There is a bookstore chain in Latvia called Globuss and they have a section with books about learning Latvian.

There's one in the Old town across the H&M store at Galerija Centrs (here):

Image

There's a shelf with books on Latvian

Image

Closeups

Image
Image

Big pictures

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Re: Lumilintu learning Latvian

Postby Lumilintu » 2016-08-18, 14:04

Thanks to both of you!

I've been to Janis Roze once before, years ago, but I didn't know the Globuss bookstore.
The description "across the H&M store" made me grin, though. :mrgreen: It's probably just a coincidence, but the first time I went to Riga it was with some Estonian friends in the old, old times when there wasn't yet a single H&M to be found in Estonia. So as soon as we got there I was dragged to the H&M, so it's actually one of the few places in Riga that I remember well. :oops:
Did you go there and take the pictures only because of me? :shock: Seems like a nice store, on the picture it seems like it even has the Lībiešu-igauņu-latviešu vārdnīca, if I'm not mistaken. Thank you a lot, I'll definitely check it out! :D
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Re: Lumilintu learning Latvian

Postby Lumilintu » 2016-09-02, 21:10

So, I was in Latvia twice within the last week - when going to Lithuania and when coming back - but we ended up driving through without having a single stop in Latvia. :oops: So no chance to visit a bookstore this time, however I'll do that as soon as I find some time and a good reason to travel to Riga.

Meanwhile, my Latvian classes have started!
What we did during the first two lessons:

1. week
- alphabet, pronunciation
- phrases (greetings, iepazīsimies and the like)
- brief look at the 6 noun declensions
- brief look at the 6 cases
- nominative singular and plural of nouns
- conjugation of būt 'to be' and nebūt


So far we actually mostly talked about the language and practiced pronunciation, so there's not so much to write about at this point. I'm still quite excited and I also really like how Latvian sounds like. However, there are some things that already seem quite hard. Why would one need four different words for "sorry", for example? Also, after Finnish and Hungarian I got so used to the lack of grammatical gender that now it seems like I have a bit of a hard time to get used to it again. Especially to the difference in plural (as in viņi vs viņas) and the four different forms of Sveiki... Piedodiet, but it just seems -so- weird to first check a person's gender before greeting them. :|
And as I already suspected, my name is not female enough to fit into Latvian declension. Now the Latvian version of my name seemed rather strange at first, but I think I already got used to the idea, so now it doesn't seem too bad after all. :D

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Re: Lumilintu learning Latvian

Postby Sol Invictus » 2016-09-02, 21:41

Why would one need four different words for "sorry", for example?


Four? I only know two

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Re: Lumilintu learning Latvian

Postby Lumilintu » 2016-09-02, 22:01

Sol Invictus wrote:
Why would one need four different words for "sorry", for example?

Four? I only know two


Well, including the plural forms... The list we got was: Piedod! Piedodiet! Atvaino! Atvainojiet!
Though I actually didn't quite catch which one is more common. If I understood it correctly, piedod is more like "I'm sorry/forgive me" and atvaino more like a simple "sorry" or "excuse me" :?:

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Re: Lumilintu learning Latvian

Postby Sol Invictus » 2016-09-02, 23:20

They're both common, atvainojiet just can sound more formal. And you got translations correct

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Re: Lumilintu learning Latvian

Postby mak » 2016-09-05, 10:02

Here are some more

(es lūdzu) piedošanu
(es) atvainojos
sorī

I use the first one the most and the last two are considered incorrect but you'll hear them a lot in the real world :)

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Re: Lumilintu learning Latvian

Postby Sol Invictus » 2016-09-05, 17:43

Atvainojos is not incorrect, I googled it and found you previously explaining why you think that, but it's quite some overthinking on meaning by whoever came up with that. I simmilarly found someone saying that saying "piedod" means that you're increasing your guilt, so you should never use it.

But so that other people understand - atvainot literally means "to remove guilt", by saying atvainojiet you are literally ordering the other person to remove guilt and by saying atvainojos you are saying that you are removing guilt from yourself, so some feel it removes agency to forgive you from the other person. IMHO you're doing both and it the fact that you noticed you might be guilty of something and should make amends that counts.

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Re: Lumilintu learning Latvian

Postby Lumilintu » 2016-11-11, 16:47

I'm a bit late, but thanks again for your explanations. I ended up keeping both words - piedod and atvaino - in my word list, but with Estonian translations instead of English ones. So I learned them as piedod 'anna andeks (literally: forgive me)' and atvaino 'vabandust (sorry, like German Entschuldigung). In Estonian, anna andeks is not as frequently used and also really means that you are guilty as you're asking for forgiveness. So I figured that it might be the best way for me to remember those two words and their difference in meaning, even though it's not possible to find an exact translation for them in any of the languages I know.

So, I haven't given up on Latvian yet. I still have my course twice a week and we actually already had two tests which both went quite well for me. :D
I also sort of got used to gender - it's not that bad after all. Up to the point that I'm confused when a word describing a person doesn't have an additional female form - e.g. skolēns. We also had some adjectives and their agreement with the head noun in attribute position seems quite logical. In general, grammar doesn't seem that hard so far, but rather regular. But that might also be because we didn't learn that much so far.

That's what we did the last two months:

2. week
- more phrases (from the textbook)
- pronunciation of e (closed vs open)

3. week
- professions
- sauc + personal pronouns in accusative
- question words kas? ko? kā? vai?
- numbers
- addresses and phone numbers

4. week
- verbs dzīvōt, strādāt, studēt in present tense
- locative case in singular
- some countries
- question word kur?

5. week
- question no kurienes?
- preposition no
- countries, nationalities, languages
- verb runāt

6. week
- būt in past and future tense
- question word kad? and some adverbs of time (vakar, rīt etc)

7. & 8. week
- verbs redzēt, apmeklēt, fotografēt in past, present and future tense
- vocabulary connected to city/town
- accusative case

9. week
- adjectives and their agreement with nouns
- colours
- verb iet in past, present and future tense

10. week
- question uz kurieni?
- preposition uz


Oh, and I actually have some more questions. :whistle:
What is the difference between vēl and joprojām? As far as I understood vēl means exactly the same as Estonian veel, so in addition to 'still' it can also be translated as 'yet' or 'more'. So joprojām only means 'still'? And in what cases are they used together, because I've seen that as well?
My vocabulary is still kinda limited, but I tried to come up with some sentences:
- Viņš vēl nav mājās. (I couldn't use joprojām here, right?)
- Es esmu vēl universitātē, bet drīz es iešu mājas. (would joprojām be correct in this sentence?)
And if you use both of them together - vēl joprojām - what effect would that have? Does it emphasize the meaning even more? I wonder if it's similar to German immer noch or Estonian ikka veel.
Could I for example say something like Tu esi vēl joprojām šeit! when I'm really surprised that someone -still- is here? The German and Estonian equivalents would be Du bist ja immer noch hier! and Sa oled ikka veel siin!.
I have to confess I'm a little confused...

Lai jums laba Lāčplēsis diena! :D

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Re: Lumilintu learning Latvian

Postby Sol Invictus » 2016-11-12, 9:22

Viņš vēl nav mājās. (I couldn't use joprojām here, right?)
- Es esmu vēl universitātē, bet drīz es iešu mājas. (would joprojām be correct in this sentence?)

You could use both in both sentences. Also word order in second sentence feels mildly awkward, placing 'still' after 'I' would be better

I think joprojām relates to action that still keeps on going and vēl is action that still hasn't stoped, but kind of with suggestion that it could. Say, I looked up some examples and there are cases about something happening "vēl" before something else did or could happen, in those cases substituing it with joprojām doesn't work. And, of course, you can't use joprojām instead of it when it means 'more'

And if you use both of them together - vēl joprojām - what effect would that have? Does it emphasize the meaning even more? I wonder if it's similar to German immer noch


I'm 80% sure your guess is correct

Lai jums laba Lāčplēsis diena!


Thanks, but it should be Lāčplēša :wink:

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Re: Lumilintu learning Latvian

Postby Lumilintu » 2016-11-12, 12:41

Sol Invictus wrote:
Viņš vēl nav mājās. (I couldn't use joprojām here, right?)
- Es esmu vēl universitātē, bet drīz es iešu mājas. (would joprojām be correct in this sentence?)

You could use both in both sentences. Also word order in second sentence feels mildly awkward, placing 'still' after 'I' would be better

I think joprojām relates to action that still keeps on going and vēl is action that still hasn't stoped, but kind of with suggestion that it could. Say, I looked up some examples and there are cases about something happening "vēl" before something else did or could happen, in those cases substituing it with joprojām doesn't work. And, of course, you can't use joprojām instead of it when it means 'more'.


Now I'm confused. If I say "Viņš vēl nav mājās", isn't there this thought behind that he'll come home at some point, which is when his not-being-at-home will stop? So I'm actually suggesting that the action will stop, which is why I use vēl and not joprojām?
Would there be a difference in the use of vēl and joprojām? For example in these two sentences:
1) Viņš vēl ir mājās.
2) Viņš joprojām ir mājās.
If I understood your explanation correctly, then 1) implies that he's still at home, but about to leave somewhere and 2) implies that he has been at home for a longer time and still is there, but I have no clue if he's about to leave home or not?

And word order... Our teacher claimed that it's a lot more free in Latvian than in other languages, but I'm actually not so sure about that. You usually put adverbs between the subject and the predicate, it seems?

And if you use both of them together - vēl joprojām - what effect would that have? Does it emphasize the meaning even more? I wonder if it's similar to German immer noch


I'm 80% sure your guess is correct

At least something that makes sense. :D

Lai jums laba Lāčplēsis diena!


Thanks, but it should be Lāčplēša :wink:

Oh right, thank you. :oops: I read about Lāčplēsis before writing the post here, I guess that's where that mistake came from...
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Re: Lumilintu learning Latvian

Postby Sol Invictus » 2016-11-12, 13:39

Lumilintu wrote:
Sol Invictus wrote:
Viņš vēl nav mājās. (I couldn't use joprojām here, right?)
- Es esmu vēl universitātē, bet drīz es iešu mājas. (would joprojām be correct in this sentence?)

You could use both in both sentences. Also word order in second sentence feels mildly awkward, placing 'still' after 'I' would be better

I think joprojām relates to action that still keeps on going and vēl is action that still hasn't stoped, but kind of with suggestion that it could. Say, I looked up some examples and there are cases about something happening "vēl" before something else did or could happen, in those cases substituing it with joprojām doesn't work. And, of course, you can't use joprojām instead of it when it means 'more'.


Now I'm confused. If I say "Viņš vēl nav mājās", isn't there this thought behind that he'll come home at some point, which is when his not-being-at-home will stop? So I'm actually suggesting that the action will stop, which is why I use vēl and not joprojām?
Would there be a difference in the use of vēl and joprojām? For example in these two sentences:
1) Viņš vēl ir mājās.
2) Viņš joprojām ir mājās.
If I understood your explanation correctly, then 1) implies that he's still at home, but about to leave somewhere and 2) implies that he has been at home for a longer time and still is there, but I have no clue if he's about to leave home or not?

With this kind of construction it doesn't really matter much, which you use. It could be that in first case talker was sure he's going somewhere or maybe they're expecting him and in second case it's more a statement of a fact, like maybe he said he might go somewhere, but it's just a really a synonym with perhaps a small shade of meaning depending on context

EDIT: Looking back maybe saying that it could stop was not the best way to describe it. It can stop in both cases, but with vēl it's kind of less expected that it hasn't and joprojām kind of implies a bit longer duration. It's hard to explain such nuances in meaning, if it doesn't directly translate. Latvian-Estonian dictonary translates joprojām as endiselt or endistviisi or jätkuvalt, not veel, maybe that is more helpfull to you

And word order... Our teacher claimed that it's a lot more free in Latvian than in other languages, but I'm actually not so sure about that. You usually put adverbs between the subject and the predicate, it seems?

The thing is that's exactly what most descriptions of it I've seen say, but although mostly you indeed can change around words as you wish, it's can add slightly different shade of meaning to what you're saying, so you probably should try to stick to what is neutral in most languages and don't place verbs at end like Germam does in some cases, that's very unusual. Here's something that seems to cover some special cases, but it seems to mostly be things like placing adjective before noun.

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Re: Lumilintu learning Latvian

Postby h34 » 2016-11-13, 10:18

As far as I know, another Latvian equivalent to the German "immer noch" ("noch immer") is "vēl aizvien", perhaps expressing the idea that an ongoing situation is expected to change or has been going on for longer than expected. Would it make sense to put it like this?

Viņš vēl aizvien ir mājās
= Er ist immer noch (noch immer) zu Hause
= He is still at home (even though he is expected to leave)

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Re: Lumilintu learning Latvian

Postby Lumilintu » 2016-11-14, 18:32

Sol Invictus wrote:EDIT: Looking back maybe saying that it could stop was not the best way to describe it. It can stop in both cases, but with vēl it's kind of less expected that it hasn't and joprojām kind of implies a bit longer duration. It's hard to explain such nuances in meaning, if it doesn't directly translate. Latvian-Estonian dictonary translates joprojām as endiselt or endistviisi or jätkuvalt, not veel, maybe that is more helpfull to you

Thanks a lot for that! I wonder why I didn't think of checking the Estonian dictionary... :oops: Translating joprojām as endiselt makes in combination with your former explanations makes completely sense.

Here's something that seems to cover some special cases, but it seems to mostly be things like placing adjective before noun.

You don't happen to have an English version of that?

h34 wrote:As far as I know, another Latvian equivalent to the German "immer noch" ("noch immer") is "vēl aizvien", perhaps expressing the idea that an ongoing situation is expected to change or has been going on for longer than expected. Would it make sense to put it like this?


So, immer noch is actually noch immer in Latvian? :D Are vēl aizvien and vēl joprojām synonyms?
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Re: Latvian & Estonian

Postby Linguaphile » 2017-04-19, 4:29

Does anyone know if there is a good list somewhere of cognates between Latvian and Estonian? Words like maja = māja, maksma = maksāt, mets = mežs, poeg = puika, poiss = puisis, seen = sēne, veel = vēl, või = vai. I'm more curious about the words that Latvian took from Finnic or that Estonian took from Baltic, not so much the Germanic loans that made their way into both languages.
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