Useful words and phrases in Latvian

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Around a million and a half people consider Latvian to be their native language, of whom most, or ca. 1.4 million, live in Latvia. Latvian is a rare language; it is part of the Indo-European language family and together with Lithuanian forms the Baltic branch. The Latvian language began to emerge in the VII Century as the languages of the ancient Latvian tribes – the Latgalians, Semigallians and Selonians – fused, incorporating many borrowed words from the language of the Livonians, a Finno-Ugric tribe of Latvia.

Also, shades of the German, Scandinavian, Old Russian and Latin languages have influenced the Latvian language over the course of the centuries.

It is worth remembering that Latvian is related to Lithuanian, yet the languages are not mutually freely intelligible to their speakers. Whereas in the third Baltic country, Estonia, the completely different Estonian language is spoken, which belongs to the Finno-Ugric family. It also has to be noted that in Latvia, especially in Riga and the second largest city, Daugavpils, a large segment of the local population are ethnic Russian and thus, speak Russian.

While travelling in Latvia, some frequently used Latvian phrases may come in handy:

Expressions of politeness

Thank you – Paldies

Please/you’re welcome – Lūdzu

Good morning – Labrīt

Good day/afternoon – Labdien

Good evening – Labvakar

Hello/greetings – Sveicināti

Good-bye/see you again – Uz redzēšanos

Good night – Ar labu nakti

Cheers! – Priekā!

Useful words

Yes – Jā

No – Nē

Taxi – Taksometrs

Bus/coach – Autobuss

Shop – Veikals

Police – Policija

Currency exchange – Valūtas maiņa

Hotel – Viesnīca

 

Source: Latvia Travel

WHICH IS THE BEST LANGUAGE TO LEARN?

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For language lovers, the facts are grim: Anglophones simply aren’t learning them any more. In Britain, despite four decades in the European Union, the number of A-levels taken in French and German has fallen by half in the past 20 years, while what was a growing trend of Spanish-learning has stalled. In America, the numbers are equally sorry. One factor behind the 9/11 attacks was the fact that the CIA lacked the Arabic-speakers who might have translated available intelligence. But ten years on, “English only” campaigns appeal more successfully to American patriotism than campaigns that try to promote language-learning, as if the most successful language in history were threatened.

Why learn a foreign language? After all, the one you already speak if you read this magazine is the world’s most useful and important language. English is not only the first language of the obvious countries, it is now the rest of the world’s second language: a Japanese tourist in Sweden or a Turk landing a plane in Spain will almost always speak English.

Nonetheless, compelling reasons remain for learning other languages. They range from the intellectual to the economical to the practical. First of all, learning any foreign language helps you understand all language better—many Anglophones first encounter the words “past participle” not in an English class, but in French. Second, there is the cultural broadening. Literature is always best read in the original.

Poetry and lyrics suffer particularly badly in translation. And learning another tongue helps the student grasp another way of thinking. Though the notion that speakers of different languages think differently has been vastly exaggerated and misunderstood, there is a great deal to be learned from discovering what the different cultures call this, that or das oder.

The practical reasons are just as compelling. In business, if the team on the other side of the table knows your language but you don’t know theirs, they almost certainly know more about you and your company than you do about them and theirs—a bad position to negotiate from. Many investors in China have made fatally stupid decisions about companies they could not understand. Diplomacy, war-waging and intelligence work are all weakened by a lack of capable linguists. Virtually any career, public or private, is given a boost with knowledge of a foreign language.

So which one should you, or your children, learn? If you take a glance at advertisements in New York or A-level options in Britain, an answer seems to leap out: Mandarin. China’s economy continues to grow at a pace that will make it bigger than America’s within two decades at most. China’s political clout is growing accordingly. Its businessmen are buying up everything from American brands to African minerals to Russian oil rights. If China is the country of the future, is Chinesethe language of the future?

Probably not. Remember Japan’s rise? Just as spectacular as China’s, if on a smaller scale, Japan’s economic growth led many to think it would take over the world. It was the world’s second-largest economy for decades (before falling to third, recently, behind China). So is Japanese the world’s third-most useful language? Not even close. If you were to learn ten languages ranked by general usefulness, Japanese would probably not make the list. And the key reason for Japanese’s limited spread will also put the brakes on Chinese.

This factor is the Chinese writing system (which Japan borrowed and adapted centuries ago). The learner needs to know at least 3,000-4,000 characters to make sense of written Chinese, and thousands more to have a real feel for it. Chinese, with all its tones, is hard enough to speak. But  the mammoth feat of memory required to be literate in Mandarin is harder still. It deters most foreigners from ever mastering the system—and increasingly trips up Chinese natives.

A recent survey reported in the People’s Daily found 84% of respondents agreeing that skill in Chinese is declining. If such gripes are common to most languages, there is something more to it in Chinese. Fewer and fewer native speakers learn to produce characters in traditional calligraphy. Instead, they write their language the same way we do—with a computer. And not only that, but they use the Roman alphabet to produce Chinese characters: type in wo and Chinese language-support software will offer a menu of characters pronounced wo; the user selects the one desired. (Or if the user types in wo shi zhongguo ren, “I am Chinese”, the software detects the meaning and picks the right characters.) With less and less need to recall the characters cold, the Chinese are forgetting them. David Moser, a Sinologist, recalls asking three native Chinese graduate students at Peking University how to write “sneeze”:

To my surprise, all three of them simply shrugged in sheepish embarrassment. Not one of them could correctly produce the character. Now, Peking University is usually considered the “Harvard of China”. Can you imagine three PhD students in English at Harvard forgetting how to write the English word “sneeze”? Yet this state of affairs is by no means uncommon in China.

As long as China keeps the character-based system—which will probably be a long time, thanks to cultural attachment and practical concerns alike—Chinese is very unlikely to become a true world language, an auxiliary language like English, the language a Brazilian chemist will publish papers in, hoping that they will be read in Finland and Canada. By all means, if China is your main interest, for business or pleasure, learn Chinese. It is fascinating, and learnable—though Moser’s online essay, “Why Chinese is so damn hard,” might discourage the faint of heart and the short of time.

But if I was asked what foreign language is the most useful, and given no more parameters (where? for what purpose?), my answer would be French. Whatever you think of France, the language is much less limited than many people realise.

As their empire spun off and they became a medium-sized power after the second world war, the French, hoping to maintain some distance from America and to make the most of their former possessions, established La Francophonie. This club, bringing together all the countries with a French-speaking heritage, has 56 members, almost a third of the world’s countries. Hardly any of them are places where French is everyone’s native language. Instead, they include countries with Francophone minorities (Switzerland, Belgium); those where French is official and widespread among elites (much of western Africa); those where it is not official but still spoken by nearly all educated people (Morocco, Lebanon); and those where French ties remain despite the fading of the language (Vietnam, Cambodia). It even has members with few ties to French or France, like Egypt, that simply want to associate themselves with the prestige of the French-speaking world. Another 19 countries are observer members.

French ranks only 16th on the list of languages ranked by native speakers. But ranked above it are languages like Telegu and Javanese that no one would call world languages. Hindi does not even unite India. Also in the top 15 are Arabic, Spanish and Portuguese, major languages to be sure, but regionally concentrated. If your interest is the Middle East or Islam, by all means learn Arabic. If your interest is Latin America, Spanish or Portuguese is the way to go. Or both; learning one makes the second quite easy.

If your interests span the globe, and you’ve read this far, you already know the most useful global language. But if you want another truly global language, there are surprisingly few candidates, and for me French is unquestionably top of the list. It can enhance your enjoyment of art, history, literature and food, while giving you an important tool in business and a useful one in diplomacy. It has native speakers in every region on earth. And lest we forget its heartland itself, France attracts more tourists than any other country—76.8m in 2010, according to the World Tourism Organisation, leaving America a distant second with 59.7m. Any visit there is greatly enhanced by some grasp of the language. The French are nothing but welcoming when you show them and their country respect, and the occasional frost that can greet visitors melts when they come out with their first fully formed sentence. So although there are other great languages out there, don’t forget an easy, common one, with far fewer words to learn than English, that is almost certainly taught in your town. With French, vous ne regretterez rien.

Spanish

Daniel Franklin

Imagine that the Spanish-speaking world was a single country, called Hispanidad. It covers a territory perhaps one-and-a-half times the size of China. Its population is nearly 500m, making it the world’s third most populous country, behind China and India. Among these people, the number of native Spanish-speakers is rising towards 400m; as a mother tongue, only Mandarin Chinese is bigger. Hispanidad also has a rich literature, from Cervantes to Gabriel García Márquez, that is best enjoyed in the original. And you really should see an Almodóvar film without subtitles. Only English and Chinese are more widely used on the internet than Spanish.

So if you are in business, into the arts or just want to join la conversación, the sheer size of Hispanidad is a powerful reason to learn Spanish. But Hispanidad is not a single country. The fact that it spreads across the Americas, Spain and even parts of Africa and Asia makes the case for Spanish stronger still.

After English, it is the most used international language. For tourists it eases and enriches travel in the 20-plus countries where Spanish is a main language (though some may prefer to skip Equatorial Guinea). Students have an enviable choice of stimulating places to hone their Spanish skills, from Venezuela to Argentina to Spain itself.

Not forgetting the United States, the country with the second-largest number of Spanish-speakers (about 50m and rising) after Mexico. Latinos are growing in influence culturally, commercially and politically. Nowadays, would-be presidents make sure to advertise in Spanish: Soy Mitt Romney y apruebo este mensaje.

Even for those with no political ambitions, there is another compelling reason to pick Spanish as your second language: it’s easy (certainly compared with, say, Mandarin). And once you’ve got Spanish, you’re half-way to Italian, French and Portuguese too.

Learn Spanish? ¡Cómo no!, as they say in Hispanidad.

Chinese

Simon Long

“In German oder English I know how to count down
Und I’m learning Chinese,” says Wernher von Braun

Half a century ago, when Tom Lehrer wrote his satirical song, the idea of a German rocket scientist counting backwards to zero in Chinese must have sounded both exotic and rather sinister to his American audience. Now that China is ready to take over from America as the country that sends men to the moon, surely there can be no doubt that it talks the language the rest of us should be learning.

This is not, in fact, rocket science, but economic and political common sense. China is the most populous nation on earth. Even when India assumes that status in the next decade or so, Chinese speakers will still far outnumber those who understand and speak India’s biggest language, Hindi, even if Pakistani speakers of Urdu, which is very similar, are added in. If the point of a language is to be able to communicate with as many people as possible, there is no contest. Of course, there are many languages in China, too. But “standard Chinese”(putonghua, aka “Mandarin”), or something close to it, is understood almost everywhere, as it is taught in schools. So there is no need to agonise over which dialect to learn.

China’s economy is going to be the biggest in the world – the only question is when. You can make your own educated guess by using the clever interactive infographic at economist.com/chinavusa. The default option is 2018. Already China’s spectacular 30-year boom has transformed our lives. When I grew up in London, there were no Chinese tourists, and nothing we owned was made in China. And now? The Chinese economy is likely to continue to outpace the rich world’s for decades to come, tilting the balance of economic power. Learn Chinese, not to impress your future boss, but to understand what she is saying.

Arabic

Josie Delap

To a native English-speaker, searching for a language to learn and probably inexpert in the dark arts of grammar, the simple Romance languages with their common-sense syntax might seem obvious choices, perhaps even those of Scandinavia with their familiar-sounding, if oddly spelt, vocabulary. But instead, breathe deep, and plunge into Arabic.

It is hard. The first years of Arabic are frustrating, like doing a jigsaw of a cloudy night sky. While those studying Spanish gallop ahead, chattering about beers they want and sisters they have, you must master a new script; one whose dots and dashes blur before your eyes, whose vowels fade into nothingness, whose letters change shape depending on where they appear in the word. Arabic’s three-letter root system for creating words – adding suffixes, prefixes, midfixes, to trilateral building blocks – will seem utterly alien.

But the struggle is a worthy one, and the rewards start with your ego. Knowledge of Arabic, however slight, will impress not only the monoglots and dullards who plumped for Italian, but native speakers too. Egyptians, Syrians and Palestinians, moved that you have troubled to do battle with their tongue, will shower you with praise.

When you understand how beautifully Arabic fits together – why the root meaning “west” leads to the words for “sunset” and “strange” – the sense of illumination is sublimely satisfying. No mere French subjunctive or Russian instrumental can do that. And the pleasure will never dim. Fluency may long elude you, but there will always be a fascination in picking your way through Arabic’s intricacies.

Brazilian Portugese

Helen Joyce

Some lunatics learn languages for fun. The rest of us are looking for a decent return on our investment. That means choosing a language with plenty of native speakers. One spoken by people worth talking to, in a place worth visiting. One with close relatives, so you have a head start with your third language. One not so distant from English that you give up.

There really is only one rational choice: Brazilian Portuguese. Brazil is big (190m residents; half a continent). Its economic prospects are bright. São Paulo is Latin America’s business capital. No other country has flora and fauna more varied and beautiful. It is home to the world’s largest standing forest, the Amazon. The weather is great and so are the beaches. The people are friendly, and shameless white liars. You’ll be told “Your Portuguese is wonderful!” many times before it is true.

You won’t need a new alphabet or much new grammar, though you may find the language addicted to declensions and unduly fond of the subjunctive. You’ll learn hundreds of words without effort (azul means blue, verde means green) and be able to guess entire sentences (O sistema bancário é muito forte: the banking system is very strong). With new pronunciation and a few new words you’ll get around in Portugal and parts of Africa. If you speak Spanish, French or Italian, you’ll find half the work is already done — and if not, why not try? With Portuguese under your belt you’ll fly along.

Best of all, you’ll stand out. Only about 10m Brazilians have reasonable English, and far more Anglophones speak French or Spanish than Portuguese, of any flavour. I did not choose this language; it was thrust on me by the offer of a job in São Paulo. But when I think of my sons, now ten and five, one day being able to write “fluent Brazilian Portuguese” on their CVs, I feel a little smug.

Latin

Tim de Lisle

I studied Latin for 15 years, and this may well be the first time it has been of direct use in my adult life. There was one moment, long ago, when it nearly came in handy. I was reviewing an album by Sting that contained a stab at a traditional wedding song. There are many such songs in Catullus, whose elegant poetry I had spent a whole term plodding through. If ever there was a time to play the Latin card, this was it, so I described Sting’s wedding song as “Catullan”. Somewhere between the Daily Telegraph copytakers and the subs, “Catullan” was changed to “Catalan”. It probably served me right.

So, direct use: virtually nil. But Latin—which gives us both “direct” and “use”, both “virtually” and “nil”—has been of indirect use every day of my career. If you work with words, Latin is the Pilates session that stays with you for life: it strengthens the core. It teaches you grammar and syntax, better than your own language, whose structure you will have absorbed before you are capable of noticing it. Latin offers no hiding place, no refuge for the woolly. Each piece of the sentence has to slot in with the rest; every ending has to be the right one. To learn Latin is to learn rigour.

The price for the rigour is the mortis. Soon enough, someone will helpfully inform you that Latin is a dead language. In one way, sure, but in others it lives on. It is a vivid presence in English and French, it is the mother of Italian and Spanish, and it even seeps into German. More often than not, the words these languages have in common are the Latin ones: it remains a lingua franca. The words we take from Latin tend to be long, reflective, intellectual (the short, punchy words we didn’t need to import: live, die, eat, drink, love, hate). Business and academia, two worlds with little else in common, both rely more and more on long Latinate words. The European Union speaks little else. Ten years ago, for another article, I had to read the proposed European constitution. It was a long turgid parade of Latin-derived words. The burghers of Brussels were trying to build a superstate out of abstract nouns.

Management-speak and Euro-blather are Latin at its worst, but learning it will still help you cut through them to find clarity. It is a little harder to bullshit when you’ve learnt Latin (though quite possible to bluster, as Boris Johnson proves). And if you stick at it you discover, after no more than eight or nine years, that this is a glorious language per se.

Its literature has stood the test of millennia: Ovid is diverting, Lucretius is stimulating, Cicero is riveting. Horace can be a drag—like a bad weekend columnist, always wittering on about his garden and his cellar, except when coming out with quotable drivel about how sweet it is to die in battle. But his contemporary Virgil is majestic. He set himself the most daunting task—giving Rome its own “Iliad” and “Odyssey”, in a single epic, while staying on the right side of an emperor—and pulled it off. I did French and Greek too for years, and enjoyed them, but nothing quite matched up to the pleasure of reading the “Aeneid” in the original.

Article: 1843magazine

Intensive Online Language Courses – Learn Swedish, English, Latvian and Other Languages

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Baltic Media Language Training Centre offers intensive online language courses as both private lessons and group classes.

All participants can attend a video conference via Skype or other online communication tools.

The Language Training Centre has developed effective and high-quality study programmes that enable our clients to learn the basics of a new language in only 1 month. Each class is 2 academic hours (2×45 min) long and takes place 3 times a week. An intensive course is composed of 28 academic hours. A group course costs from EUR 135.00 + VAT (21%).

Read more about online training here and see a list of the planned online group classes here.

Let’s use our spare time productively and good luck learning new things!

Baltic Media Language Training Centre

Elizabetes iela 11, Riga, LV-1010, Latvia

+371 67 224 395
+371 29 44 68 45

WhatsApp
 kursi@balticmedia.com

Radoši un iekļaujot visneiedomājamākajās nodarbēs. Latviešu valodas apguves metodes ārvalstīs

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Strādāt latviešu skoliņā skolotājām ārpus Latvijas ir sirdsdarbs. Tā secinājis Latvijas Radio, aptaujājot latviešu skoliņu skolotājas no teju visiem kontinentiem. Viņas skoliņās nonākušas līdz ar nepieciešamību saviem bērniem apgūt dzimto valodu. Un tieši apgūt, ne vienkārši mācīties, dzīvojot ārpus Latvijas. 

Berlīnē valodu māca pat caur animāciju

Berlīnes Latviešu skolas radošā skolotāja Ieva Kunga skolā nokļuvusi mirklī, kad pašas meitai apritējuši trīs gadi.

„Sāku meklēt, kur Berlīnē mana meita varētu apgūt latviešu kultūru un tradīcijas, un atklāju, ka ir nodibināta latviešu skoliņa. Mani uzreiz aicināja, lai es nāku. Un tad tā pamazām mani ievilka, sakot, – ak tā, tev ir pedagoģiskā izglītība -, un tā tas aizgāja. Šobrīd vadu radošās nodarbības jauniešu grupai un strādāju arī ar vidējo jaunāko grupu, un uz manām nodarbībām jātaisa saraksts, kurš iekļūst telpā, jo es mēģinu radoši mācīt valodu,” Latvijas Radio raidījumā “Globālais latvietis. 21. gadsimts” atklāj skolotāja.

Ievas veiksmes stāsts ir fakts, ka viņa studējusi tehnoloģijas un ir zinoša to pielietošanā, arī valodu apguvē, līdz ar to  viņa savās mācību stundās, tostarp apgūstot latviešu valodu, spēj pieiet radoši un aizraut bērnus valodas mācībās pat neiedomājamos veidos.

„Ikdienā es strādāju ar jaunām dizaina tehnoloģijām un tā varu apvienot latviešu kultūras mantojuma apgūšanu ar citu skatupunktu un padarīt mūsdienīgākas pasniegšanas metodes,” stāsta Ieva un atklāj, ka arī, piemēram, mācot par kādu Latvijas mākslinieku, cenšas bērnus iesaistīt šīs mākslas apgūšanā.

Lielākais Ievas veikums Berlīnes skolā ir animācijas filmas “Viens zemnieks brauc uz mežu” izveidošana. Tās pamatā ir latviešu tautas rotaļa ar tādu pašu nosaukumu. Animācijas filma ir Berlīnes Latviešu skolas pusaudžu grupas lielākais šī gada projekts, kas pirmizrādi piedzīvojusi šogad 15. jūnijā, bet tā ir tikai pirmā daļa, jo turpinājums sekos.

“Lai saņemtos veidot animācijas filmu, vajadzēja pusotru gadu, proti, tik ilgs bija sagatavošanās process,” stāsta skolotāja. Filmēšana ilgusi vienas Lieldienu brīvdienas, ko bērni pavadījuši ar viņu. Vispirms labā kvalitātē ierakstījuši dziesmu, veidojuši lelles un dekorācijas.

“Katrai lellei izstrādājām dzīves gājumu, jo latviešu tautas dziesmā “Zemnieks brauc uz mežu” tas nebija tikai zemnieks un tikai brauc uz mežu. Zemnieks ņem sievu, bērni pērk internetā un viņiem ir kaķis, kurš ir veģetārietis un neēd gaļu. Tādējādi mēs animācijas filmā, kas balstīta uz latviešu tautas dziesmu, ievijām visu, kas ir aktuāls bērniem, kuri dzīvo 21. gadsimta Vācijā. Tas viss bija bērnu izdomāts, lai latviešu tautasdziesmu pārnestu uz mūsdienu vidi,” klāsta Ieva.

Tas ir veids, kas strādā, Latvijas Radio atzīst citas skolotājas. Skolā valodu apgūst ļoti dažādi, dejojot, dziedot, praktiski strādājot.

Valstīs un kontinentos atšķiras mācību metodes 

“Skola gan Amerikā, gan Austrālijā atšķiras no Eiropas jaunajām skolām, kaut gan arī te ir skolas ar senām tradīcijām, kā Londonas un Stokholmas latviešu skolas. Tās atšķiras ar tradīcijām un vecāku motivētību. Austrālijā un Amerikā joprojām priekšmetus apgūst pa priekšmetiem, ir latviešu valoda, ir vēsture, ģeogrāfija. Bet Eiropas skolās to apgūst integrēti un radoši, kopā dažādus priekšmetus,” Latvijas Radio stāsta Latviešu valodas aģentūras diasporas projektu koordinatore Aija Otomere. Tomēr, lai saņemtu Latvijas valsts finansējumu, ir jābūt atsevišķām latviešu valodas nodarbībām.

Pēc aģentūras novērojumiem vismaz pusē ārzemju latviešu skolās skolotāji nemaz nav pedagogi, līdz ar to ārkārtīgi būtiski esot sagatavošanas kursi un mācību materiāli. Tomēr viņa uzsver, ka ne visas skoliņas varēs ar to nodarboties un ļoti vērtīga ir kaut tikai tradīciju saglabāšana.

Kā norāda Austrālijas un ASV skoliņu pārstāves, tad valodas mācībā un apguvē gramatikas mācīšanai ir svarīga loma. Piemēram ASV, Ņujorkas Latviešu ev. lut. draudzes Ņudžersijas latviešu skolā latviešu valodas gramatikas stundas notiek no rītiem, kamēr galvas vēl svaigas. Valodu apgūstot arī tie latvieši, kuri ārpus Latvijas dzimuši trešajā paaudzē.

Sidnejas Latviešu skolas bijusī pārzine, skolotāja Māra Moora Latvijas Radio atklāj, ka Austrālijā valodu māca pat caur sportu un skoliņas uzturēšanā piedaloties teju visi.

“Visi kaut kur pieliek roku – vai nu virtuvē vai vada dejošanu. Tiešām visi piestrādā. Mums ir viena ārste, kas nāk un parāda ķermeņa daļas, un tad sataisa kaulus ar bērniem. Tiešām ļoti forši,” stāsta Moora un atklāj, ka mācību dienās, piemēram, par pusdienām gādā bērnu tēvi, kas gatavo garšīgus un latviskus ēdienus. Moora pati vadot projekta nodarbības, un šobrīd aktuāla esot Lāčplēša iepazīšana.

Berlīnē latviešu skoliņā aizvadītajā mācību gadā mācījās 60 bērnu. Maskavā šobrīd mācās 42 bērni. Ņūdžersijā latviešu skoliņā – 50 skolēnu, bet Sidnejas latviešu skoliņā mācās 20 skolēnu, vēl 5-6 bērni piedalās spēļu grupā.

Avots: Lsm. Visu rakstu lasiet šeit.

Noteiks latviešu valodas videi draudzīgākos apkalpojošās sfēras uzņēmumus

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Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

Valsts valodas centrs (VVC) akcijā “Latviešu valodai draudzīga vide” noteiks apkalpojošās sfēras uzņēmumus, kas vispilnīgāk ievēro Valsts valodas likuma un citu normatīvo aktu prasības attiecībā uz valsts valodas lietojumu.

Kā informēja VVC, akcija notiks līdz 1. oktobrim un šogad tāpat kā iepriekšējos gados latviešu valodas videi draudzīgāko pretendentu loks būs apkalpojošās sfēras uzņēmumi.

Šogad mainīsies akcijas dalībnieku pieteikšanas kārtība. Dalībnieki akcijai varēs pieteikt sevi paši, kā arī dalībniekus akcijai varēs pieteikt jebkurš sabiedrības loceklis, kā arī VVC vecākie inspektori. Attiecīgo nozaru uzņēmēju organizāciju pārstāvji tiks pieaicināti uz apbalvošanas pasākumu. Līdz ar ko Valsts valodas centrs sagaida aktīvu sabiedrības iesaistīšanos akcijas dalībnieku izvirzīšanā, lai varētu uzslavēt un izcelt labākos.

Akcijas svinīgais noslēgums un latviešu valodas videi draudzīgāko uzņēmumu apbalvošana notiks Latvijas Republikas proklamēšanas dienas svētku periodā novembrī, piedaloties tieslietu ministram un VVC.

Akcijai “Latviešu valodai draudzīga vide” pieteiktos pretendentus izvērtēs VVC ekspertu komisija, balstoties uz valsts valodas vecāko inspektoru sastādītajiem pārbaudes aktiem un pretendentu darbības vērtēšanas anketā ietvertajiem kritērijiem, kas skar valsts valodas lietojumu gan no uzņēmumu darbinieku puses, gan uzņēmuma publiski sniegtajā informācijā.

Avots: Delfi.lv. Visu rakstu lasiet šeit.

How Long Does It Take to Master Latvian?

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Latvian (latviešu valoda) is one of the two surviving Baltic languages (the other one is Lithuanian) which form a special subgroup within the Indo-European languages. Latvian is considered one of the most unchanged Indo-European languages spoken today and is roughly as old as Sanskrit. The Baltic languages are of particular interest to linguists because they retain many archaic features believed to have been present in the Proto-Indo-European language.

How Long Does It Take to Master Latvian? 

In order to learn the communication phrases used by tourists in daily situations a couple days in the language course will suffice. However, if you want to master written and spoken Latvian more properly, you should allow one to three years. In order to achieve an academic level, you will need at least five to seven years.

Is It Possible to Master It Faster?

With time and motivation you can master Latvian faster. The more time you dedicate to learning the language, the faster you will achieve the result. Daily communication in Latvian will be a great advantage. And do not forget the media (radio and television), press, cultural events, music, and films in Latvian.

Does Your Mother-Tongue Affect Your Mastery of Latvian?

If you speak Lithuanian or it is your mother-tongue, you will learn Latvian easier and faster. People proficient in Slavic and Germanic languages will see similarities with the Latvian grammar system and words loaned from these languages. The Baltic languages are more closely related to Slavic, Germanic, and Indo-Iranian (in that order) than to the other branches of the family.

Some important tips in order to master Latvian faster:

  • Learn each new word in the context it is used in.
  • Repeat what you have learned often because repetition is the mother of learning;
  • Use both real and virtual Latvian language domain;
  • Use the media (TV, radio, music, literature, social media platforms) in Latvian;
  • Read fiction in Latvian, start with easy Latvian;
  • Let yourself make mistakes, use the language, jump in the Latvian language river for a swim! You can do it!

How Many Classes Does It Take to Master Latvian?

Each language learner is different, however, you can see roughly how much effort and time you will have to dedicate to learning the language below:

C2 – 60 classes (C2/1) + 60 classes (C2/2)

C1 – 60 classes (C1/1) + 60 classes (C1/2)

B2 – 60 classes (B2/1) + 60 classes (B2/2)

B1 – 60 classes (B1/1) + 60 classes (B1/2)

A2 – 48 classes (A2/1) + 48 classes (A2/2)

A1 – 48 classes (A1/1) + 48 classes (A1/2)

Source: Baltic Media Valodu mācību centrs.

Lietas, kuras pat latvieši nezina par savu dzimto valodu!

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Image by Anemone123 on Pixabay

Latviešu valoda ir pilna pērļu, un daži fakti, iespējams, pat gudrākam zinātājam būs paskrējuši garām. Lūk, daži no tiem!

  • Visgarākais vārds latviešu valodā ir šis – pretpulksteņrādītājvirziens.
  • Latviešu valoda ir viena no divām dzīvajām indoeiropiešu saimes austrumbaltu valodām. Atšķirīgi no lietuviešu, latviešu valodā nesaglabājās daudzas arhaiskas vārdu formas.
  • Uzrunājot vecākus, biežāk ir lietojams vietniekvārds “tu”, taču ciematos vecāku uzrunā joprojām ir sastopams “Jūs” lietojums. Vārdi ir lietojami neformālās situācijās, bet uzvārdi — formālās.
  • Interesanti, ka latviešu valodā nav stipru lamuvārdu. Tiem, kam ir tādi nepieciešami, jāiztiek ar latviešu pejoratīviem, piemēram, īkstoņa, vai ir jāvēršas pie milzīgiem krievu vai angļu valodu resursiem.
  • Latviešu valodas vārdos uzsvars gandrīz vienmēr ir pirmajā zilbē. Ir trīs uzsvara intonācijas: stieptā, krītošā un lauztā. Piemēram, loks ([luõks], sīpolu laksts), loks ([lùoks], liekta līnija), logs ([luôgs]).

Bonusā – daži interesanti latviešu valodas mēles mežģi:

  • Dižā mūža meža eži saož meža rožu ražu, daži eži ožot snauž, daži rožu ražu grauž.
  • Vienā vēsā vasaras vakarā viens vecs vācu vīrs veda veselu vezumu vārītu vēžu.

Avots: Skaties.lv. Visu rakstu lasiet šeit.

3 IEMESLI, KĀPĒC VAJADZĒTU LEPOTIES AR LATVIEŠU VALODU

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Photo by Lonely Planet on Unsplash

Kāpēc latviešu valoda ir svarīga? Vai nebūtu vieglāk, ja, līdzīgi kā ar eiro, mēs pieņemtu kādu plašāk pazīstamu Eiropas valodu? Lēnāk pār tiltu! Latviešu valoda ir reta, taču tā ieņem ļoti svarīgu lomu mūsu kultūrā! Zemāk atradīsi 3 iemeslus, kāpēc mums, latviešiem, vajadzētu lepoties ar latviešu valodu.

1. Latviešu valoda ir viena no retākajām aktīvajām valodām pasaulē.

Latviešu valoda ir ļoti eksotiska valoda, kurā runā tikai 1.75 miljonu cilvēku. Lai salīdzinātu, tā ir 33.7 reizes retāka kā itāļu valoda, gandrīz piecas reizes retāka kā zviedru valoda, kā arī gandrīz piecas reizes retāka par uiguru* valodu. Iespaidīgi, vai ne? Tas nozīmē, ka mums vajadzētu sargāt savu valodu, jo tikai 0,03% no pasaules iedzīvotājiem runā latviski!

Mūsu mērķis ir parādīt ar lepnumu, ka esam daļa no šī īpašā kluba: “Jā, es runāju latviski un lepojos ar to!”

2. Latviski runā teju tikai… Latvijā.

No 1.75 miljoniem cilvēku, kuri runā latviski, tikai 1.38 miljoni dzīvo Latvijā! Pārējie ir pārvākušies uz dzīvi citur – Krievijā, Amerikas Savienotajās Valstīs, Austrālijā, Kanādā, Lielbritānija, Vācijā, Zviedrijā, Brazīlijā, Lietuvā un Igaunijā. Latvija ir vienīgā valsts, kurā latviešu valoda ir atzīta par oficiālo valsts valodu.

3.Valoda ir mūsu kultūras spogulis

Valodu veido cilvēki, tāpēc tā lieliski atspoguļo mūsu kultūru! Mums ir jāsaprot, ka dzīvojam pasaulē, kurā mums ir vienreizēja privilēģija runāt tik reti sastopamā valodā, nevis otrādi – mums ir paveicies, ka esam daļa no šī īpašā kluba.

*Uiguru valoda ir tjruku valodu grupas valoda. Uiguru valodā runā uiguri Ķīnā, kā arī Kazahstānā, Kirgizstānā, Uzbekistānā un Turkmenistānā.

Avots: The words of Latvian. Visu rakstu lasiet šeit.

Answers to the 5 Most Common Questions about the Latvian Language

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Photo by  Bruce Mars on Unsplash

Every year on the 21st of February UNESCO celebrates the International Mother Language Day to mark the richness and diversity of the thousands of languages spoken across the globe.

As someone whose mother tongue is shared by roughly 2 million people in the whole wide world, I often encounter questions about the Latvian language. I asked my Latvian friends about their experiences and, while there may be no such thing as a silly question, we all get asked the same things over and over again.

Wonder no more – here is the ultimate guide to all you ever wanted to know about the Latvian language!

1. Do you have your own language?

Well yes, we do. Non-native speakers included, roughly 2 million people on the planet speak Latvian. That is approximately the population of Paris, France or around one fourth of the population of London, UK.

2. Is it similar to Russian?

No, not really. I am sure that both Latvians and Russians who have encountered the other language after the age of six will vouch for that. Latvian and Russian may belong to the same branch of the Indo-European language family tree but that does not mean that the two are similar. If proximity in the language tree is any indicator, a native English speaker should have an easier time understanding a German or a Dutch speaker than a Latvian would have understanding a Russian.

3. What is it similar to then?

The short answer: Lithuanian, yet the two are not mutually intelligible. As most people who ask this question don’t know more about the Lithuanians either, let me expand on this.

The descent of the language outlined in linguistic family trees is one thing, but when we talk about, e.g., similarities of words, history can be just as important. Through conquests and trade links over the past centuries the Latvian language has been strongly impacted not only by the Russian neighbors but also by the Germans, and it shares some similarities with Estonian and Finnish. Curiously, 9 times out of 10 speaking Latvian here in Northern Germany has resulted in questions whether my conversation partner and I come from Sweden or Denmark.

4. Do you use the Cyrillic alphabet?

No, we don’t. And the reason for this is purely a matter of history. Latvian was only a spoken language until mid-16th century when the efforts of Protestant pastors produced first texts in Latvian, starting  with the Lord’s prayer. As not only the clergy but also the upper class at the time were German speakers, the Latvian alphabet was based on the Latin alphabet and used the old German shrift.

The modern day Latvian alphabet was born in the early 20th century and has its peculiarities. It does not have the letters  Q, X, W, and Y but makes up for this shortage by having 11 other letters – long forms of vowels like Ā or Ē, soft forms of consonants like Ļ or Ķ, and consonants like Š that replace “Sh”. Which brings us to the next question:

5. What is up with the “Latvianising” of foreign names?

The meme on the right is not a joke, a foreigner can have a difficult time recognizing their own name by the time the Latvians are done with it. In addition to having a slightly different alphabet (see previous question), all male names typically have to end with an “S” and all female names with an “A” or an “E”. There are some exceptions but these are few and far between.

In addition, adapting foreign names to Latvian is necessary to make them usable in normal sentences. You see, the Latvian language has seven grammatical cases and while, e.g., in German these are constructed with the help of articles, in Latvian it is the end part of the word that has to change – something that is not possible unless the word ends “correctly”.

Source: Let the journey begin. Read full article here.

Vai “mezha piile nau lācīc” – kas notiek ar latviešu valodu internetā?

 

rawpixel-778690-unsplashPhoto by Rawpixel on Unsplash

Pagājušā gada septembrī veiktās aptaujas dati liecina, ka gandrīz trešdaļa jeb 28% Latvijas jauniešu interneta vidē nepievērš uzmanību pareizrakstībai, pieturzīmju lietojumam un gramatikai.

Bet 10% atzinuši, ka internetā apzināti veido atšķirīgu komunikācijas stilu. Puse aptaujāto uzskata, ka savas domas digitālajā vidē daudz vieglāk ir paust, izmantojot emocijzīmes, attēlus vai video, nevis rakstot.

“Tas, iespējams, izskaidro faktu, ka vairāk nekā 80% atzīst – interneta saziņā gadījušies pārpratumi, sarakste nav saprasta vai ir pārprasta,” piebilst “Samsung Skola nākotnei” iniciatīvas vadītāja Baltijā Egle Tamelīte.

Aptaujas dati arī rāda, ka 20% Latvijas jauniešu bieži sazinās internetā pat tad, ja konkrētajā brīdī atrodas vienā telpā.

Viedtālrunis un dažādas lietotnes ļauj sazināties ātri, vienkārši un netraucējot apkārtējos. Tomēr dati atklāj, ka brīvā, ātrā un neviena nekontrolētā saziņa nereti nozīmē nevērīgāku gramatikas un pieturzīmju lietošanu.

“Tas, protams, attiecas ne tikai uz jauniešiem, bet arī uz pieaugušajiem,” saka E. Tamelīte.

Savdabīgi rakstības principi

Latvijas Universitātes Humanitāro zinātņu fakultātes Latvistikas un baltistikas nodaļas docente Inta Urbanoviča norāda, ka mūsdienu tehnoloģiskajiem jauninājumiem ir būtiska nozīme valodas attīstībā, un tie paver lieliskas iespējas valodai dažādos virzienos.

Latviešu valoda kopš 20. gadsimta 90. gadiem attīstās ļoti strauji, un lielā mērā to nosaka tieši interneta vides aktualitātes. Šīs straujās pārmaiņas nevajadzētu vērtēt negatīvi, bet gan uztvert kā objektīvu noteiktas komunikācijas vides attīstību.

Pateicoties internetam un citiem mirkļsaziņas rīkiem, ir sākusi attīstīties neformālā rakstītā valoda, un līdz ar to parādās savdabīgi rakstības principi, atzīmē eksperte.

Viņa norāda vairākus piemērus:

– īpatnēja vārdu saīsināšana (vnk – ‘vienkārši’, tgd – ‘tagad’, plds – ‘paldies’ u.c.), vārdu rakstība atbilstoši izrunai (pac – ‘pats’, nau – ‘nav’, lācīc – ‘lācītis’ u.c.);

– burti bez latviešu diakritiskajām zīmēm (meza pile/ mezha piile ‘meža pīle’), lielo burtu un interpunkcijas zīmju izmantošana emociju paušanai ( PATĪK 🙂 😉 ), anglismu pārdaudzums (okay, sorry, come on u.c.) un vēl daudzas citas īpatnības.

“Šie rakstības jaunievedumi palīdz taupīt laiku, dažkārt palīdz precīzāk izteikt domu, kā arī ļauj rakstītājam justies iederīgākam modernajā pasaulē,” atzīmē I. Urbanoviča,

Normas ignorēt nedrīkst

I. Urbanoviča norāda , ka tomēr, modernizējot runāto un rakstīto valodas formu, mēs nedrīkstam ignorēt normas, tradīcijas un ieradumus, kas veido mūsu valodas pamatu.

Ja mēs pazaudēsim latviešu valodas fonētiku, grafētiku, gramatiku, tad zudīs arī latviešu valoda un līdz ar to arī tauta, uzsver I. Urbanoviča.

Avots: Latvijas Avīze. Visu rakstu lasiet šeit