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The Languages spoken in Latvia

The country of Latvia has been a battleground in the early centuries due to the fact that many foreign nations wanted to conquer the land. There has been a constant goal to invade the land and rule over it by the different nations such as the Germans, Russians, Danish, Polish and others. As a result, many nationalities have settled in the land and brought their native languages to the country. This is the main reason why people in Latvia speak many different languages. Moreover, students are taught foreign languages in school aside from their national and official languages which is the Latvian language.

The Latvian language (latviešu valoda) is the national and official language of Latvia as written in law since the year 1989. The Latvian language belongs to the Indo-European language family and of the eastern Baltic language side. It is very closely related to that of the Lithuanian language. Its alphabet is composed of 33 letters with some of them having macrons and carons.

Latvian language has 3 dialects, namely: (1) Livonian dialect, which is divided into the Vidzeme and Courland varieties (tāmnieku and ventinu); (2) Middle dialect, the basis of standard Latvian language, which is divided into the Vidzeme, Couronian and Semigallian varieties; and (3) Latgalian dialect.

Latvian language is not only spoken in Latvia but also in other countries such as Lithuania, Ukraine, United States of America, Russia, Germany, Australia, Canada, Sweden, Estonia, Belarus, United Kingdom, and Brazil.

Basic Latvian expressions include ‘Sveiki’ meaning ‘Welcome!’ and ‘Paldies’ meaning ‘Thank you!’


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