Release the Latvian!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Last month (10 October) I typed up a Latvian Peace Corps textbook from the 1990s and was about to publish it when I decided I would wait until a busy day when I had many other things besides blogging to do. Well, today is the day. Here's the Latvian course!


Over at there are Peace Corps manuals for a number of languages, one of which is Latvian. There is also an Estonian one there and though a Lithuanian one can't be found on the site it's safe to assume that they made one at around the same time, in the early 1990s when the Baltic countries had just become independent again and things were still pretty chaotic and underdeveloped economically. Because of this the cultural notes within the textbooks are now pretty much useless, though quite interesting. The Latvian textbook for example talks about Latvia's plan to introduce its own currency instead of the Ruble, says that roads outside of the main cities are all made of gravel, men work hard and women marry young, that sort of thing.

I spent part of last week typing up the dialogues for fun, and now that it's done here it is without any formatting. In all honesty it's not the best textbook, as the dialogues are too short and grammatical explanations are not detailed and friendly enough. With this book alone it would be pretty hard to pick up the language, though of course it was made for people who were actually going to the country so I expect they referred to the textbook very infrequently and instead found other ways in real life to learn Latvian.

Oh, and be sure to let me know where the inevitable typos are if you know Latvian.

C: Labdien!
PCV: Sveiki! Kā jums iet?
C: Man iet labi, paldies. Un jums?
PCV: Paldies, labi.

C: Hello!
PCV: Hi! How are you?
C: I'm fine, thank you. And you?
PCV: Thank you, fine.


labdien -- good day
sveiki -- greetings
kā -- how
jums -- for you (dative)
iet -- going, to go
man -- for me
labi -- well
paldies -- thank you
un -- and


The word labdien is actually two words put together: laba "good" and diena "day." The same applies when saying "good morning": labrīt, and "good evening": labvakar.

Sveiki is the most common greeting in Latvian, but some people prefer labdien.

Kā jums iet? is literally translated: "how are things going for you?," but the word for "things" has been dropped.


The vowel combination "ie" is pronounced like the vowel sound in ear. As was explained in the overview, most Latvian words are pronounced with emphasis on the first syllable. However, in labdien and paldies the second syllable is emphasized, due to the fact that both words were originally two words.

The vowel combination "ei" in sveiki is pronounced like the vowels in hey.

NA: Mans vārds ir Daina. Es esmu latviete.
PCV: Mans vārds ir Joe. Es esmu amerikānis.

NA: My name is Daina. I'm a Latvian.
PCV: My name is Joe. I'm an American.


mans -- my, mine
vārds -- name
ir, būt -- is, to be
Es -- I
esmu, būt -- I am, to be
latviete -- Latvian (fem.)
amerikānis -- American (masc.)


When writing someone's nationality, the first letter of the word is not capitalized. (Example: krievs, "Russian") However, the country's name is always capitalized. (Amerika, "America"; Krievija, "Russia") Also, the nationality will correspond to the gender of the person. In this case, Daina is a female name, which is reflected in the form latviete. (Masculine is latvietis.)

In Latvian, the personal pronouns are es, tu, viņš/viņa, mēs, jūs, and viņi.

The verb būt "to be" can also mean "to have". This is a very important verb, since it is used to form more complicated tenses, as in English. It is conjugated very irregularly, so it has to be memorized. In the present tense:

Es esmu -- I am
Tu esi -- You are
Viņš ir -- He is
Mēs esam -- We are
Jūs esat -- You are
Viņi ir -- They are

The past tense:

Es biju -- I was
Tu biji -- You were
Viņš bija -- He was
Mēs bijām -- We were
Jūs bijāt -- You were
Viņi bija -- They were

The future tense:

Es būšu -- I will be
Tu būsi -- You will be
Viņš būs -- He will be
Mēs būsim -- We will be
Jūs būsit -- You will be
Viņi būs -- They will be

PCV: Aija, iepazīsties ar manu istabas biedreni, Māru!
Aija: Ļoti patīkami.
PCV: Šī ir mana draudzene, Aija.
Māra: Priecājos, Aija!

PCV: Aija, meet my roommate, Mara!
Aija: Very nice to meet you.
PCV: This is my friend, Aija.
Mara: I am happy to meet you, Aija!


iepazīsties, iepazıties -- to meet
ar -- with
istabas biedreni, biedrene -- roommate
ļoti -- very
patīkami -- nice
šī -- this
draudzene -- friend (fem.)
priecājos -- I'm delighted


The Latvian language divides all nouns into masculine and feminine. The way to distinguish the two is found in the endings. Masculine endings are: -s, -š, -is, -us. Feminine endings are: -a, -e, -s. Notice there are -s ending nouns in both feminine and masculine. Luckily, there are few enough of these -s ending nouns in the feminine that they can be memorized. (See appendix)

The pronouns šis and šī both mean "this," but in the two genders. They can be used to denote both people and things. They are also declined like all adjectives and nouns.

(PCV looks sickly.)

Roommate: Vai tu nejūties labi?
PCV: Nē.
R: Kas tev vainas?
PCV: Man vēders sāp...
R: Kā tu jūties?
PCV: Paldies. Es tagad jūtos daudz labāk.

R: Don't you feel well?
PCV: No.
R: What's wrong with you?
PCV: My stomach hurts...
R: How do you feel?
PCV: Thank you. I now feel much better.


vai -- question word
nejūties nejusties -- not to feel
nē -- no
kas -- question word: what
tev -- for you
vainas, vaina -- wrong
vēders -- stomach
sāp, sāpēt -- to hurt
jūties, jūtos, justies -- to feel
tagad -- now
daudz -- much
labāk -- better


Verbs are made negative by adding ne- in front of the word. For example, justies "to feel" - nejusties "not to feel".

Vai, kas, and kā are three of the question words used in Latvian. Vai has no direct translation; it is used where "are" is used in English. Kas means "what," while kā means "how."

Situation: End of a work day

PCV: Uz redzēšanos, Jāni!
C: Uz redzēšanos! Satiksimies rīt!

PCV: See you later, John!
C: See you! We'll meet tomorrow!


uz -- to
redzēšanos -- seeing
satiksimies, satikties -- to meet
rīt -- tomorrow


Uz redzēšanos is roughly the same sort of saying as the Spanish "Hasta la vista" or the French "Au revoir".

There are less formal ways of saying goodbye. The most informal is Attā, which has no translation except "bye". The most common goodbye amongst young people is Čau which is the Italian "Ciao" made Latvian.


Kas var mani aizrunāt? -- Who can speak more?
Kas var mani aizdziedāt? -- Who can sing more?
Es jau biju to ļautiņu, -- I'm of those people,
Dziedātāju, runātāju. -- The singers and the speakers.

SITUATION: Classroom

T: Lūdzu attaisi logu!
PCV: Es nesaprotu. Lūdzu atkārtojiet!
T: Attaisi logu!
PCV: Ko nozīmē "attaisi?"
T: Ko tu nesaproti?
PCV: Es nesaprotu vārdu "attaisi."
T: "Attaisi" nozīmē "open."

T: Please open the window!
PCV: I don't understand. Please repeat.
T: Open the window!
PCV: What does "attaisi" mean?
T: What don't you understand?
PCV: I don't understand the word "attaisi."
T: "Attaisi" means "open".


lūdzu -- please
attaisi, attaisīt -- to open
nesaprotu, -i, nesaprast -- not to understand
atkārtojiet, atkārto, atkārtot -- to repeat
logu, logs -- window
ko -- what
nozīmē, nozīmēt -- to mean
vārdu, vārds -- word


When using the imperative, you always end the sentence with an exclamation point. In this dialogue, you see both plural and singular imperative moods. The plural imperative mood is formed by adding -iet to the root of any active verb, while the singular is the same as the regular second person singular active verb in the present tense.

Atkārtot "to repeat" is the infinitive, atkartō! is second person singular imperative, and atkārtojiet! is the plural imperative, while atkārtojat is the second person plural present tense.

Latvian verbs are divided into three conjugations, I, II, and III. Each conjugation has both active and reflexive verbs.

The root of I conjugation verbs in the infinitive are always only one syllable.

prast "to be able to" (from which comes nesaprast in this dialogue)
The dashes show where the root ends and the suffix begins.
The conjugations will only be shown here in the present tense:

es prot-u
tu prot-i
viņš, viņa, viņi prot-
mes prot-am
jūs prot-at

From the second conjugation, the example can be:
zīmēt "to draw" (from which comes nozīmēt)

es zīmēj-u
tu zīmē-
viņš, viņa, viņi zīmē-
mēs zīmēj-am
jūs zīmēj-at

From the third conjugation, the example:
taisīt "to make" (from which comes attaisīt)

es tais-u
tu tais-i
viņš, viņa, viņi tais-a
mēs tais-ām
jūs tais-āt

Other verb endings are: -āt, and -ot. There are several groups of verbs within each of the second and third conjugations, but, basically, this illustrates the most common verb endings for each person.

SITUATION: Classroom

PCV: Kā šo sauc latviski?
T: Latviski to sauc par "galdu."
PCV: Un kā saka "friend"?
T: "Friend" latviski ir "draugs."

PCV: What do you call this in Latvian?
T: In Latvian that is called "galds".
PCV: And how do you say "friend"?
T: "Friend" in Latvian is "draugs".


sauc, saukt -- to call
latviski -- in Latvian
to, tas -- that
galdu, galds -- table
saka, sacīt -- to say


The ending "-iski" is used to change a nation's name to the language: "krieviski", "angliski" (in Russian, in English).

Latvian nouns are divided into six declensions:
three masculine, a-stem, i-stem, u-stem; and
three feminine, a-stem, e-stem, and i-stem.

Each declension has five cases, with different endings: nominative, genitive, dative, accusative, and locative. The nominative case is used for the subject of the sentence, the genitive to denote possession, the dative for indirect objects, the accusative for direct objects, and locative to denote place.

See Appendix for examples of declensions and a more expanded explanation of cases.

SITUATION: Classroom

T: Klausies uzmanīgi!
PCV: Labi.
T: Tagad, noraksti!... Vai tu esi pabeigusi?
PCV: Vēl nē. Pagadiet, lūdzu!

T: Listen carefully!
PCV: Fine.
T: Now, write down... Have you finished?
PCV: Not yet. Wait a minute, please!


klausies, klausīties -- to listen
uzmanīgi -- carefully
noraksti, norakstīt -- to write down
pabeigusi, pabeigt -- to finish
vēl -- yet
pagaidiet, pagaidīt -- to wait a little bit


Prefixes are widely used in Latvian to expand on the base of verbs. Each prefix usually has a few regular meanings, such as pabeigusi in which pa- means "finished", while the same prefix in pagaidiet is used to mean "a little bit." See Appendix for more meanings of verbal prefixes.


The sound au in klausies is very similar to the exclamation "ow" in English.

Dziesmiņ' mana, kā dziedama, -- My little song and how to sing it,
Ne tā mana pamanīta; -- I didn't even notice;
Vecā māte pamācīja, -- [Because] Grandmother taught me,
Aizkrāsnē tupēdama. -- As she sat by the oven.

SITUATION: Social gathering

PCV: Tas ir interesants gredzens. Vai tas ir laulības gredzens?
HCN: Nē, laulības gredzens man ir labajā rokā. Tas gredzens saucās Nameja gredzens.
PCV: Vai tu esi precējies?
HCN: Jā, es apprecējos pirms diviem gadiem.
PCV: Vai jums ir bērni?
HCN: Man ir dēls vārdā Miķelis. Vai tu esi precējies?
PCV: Nē, es esmu neprecējies.

PCV: That's an interesting ring. Is that a wedding ring?
HCN: No, the wedding ring is on my right hand. That ring is called a Namejs ring.
PCV: Are you married?
HCN: Yes, I got married two years ago.
PCV: Do you have children?
HCN: I have a son named Mikelis. Are you married?
PCV: No, I am not married.


interesants -- interesting
gredzens -- ring
laulības, laulība -- wedding
labajā, labais -- right
rokā, roka -- hand
precējies, precēties -- to marry
apprecējos, apprecēties -- to be married
diviem, divi -- two
gadiem, gadi -- years
bērni -- children
dēls -- son
vārdā, vārds -- by the name of
neprecējies, neprecēties -- to be unmarried


Here we see the verb precēties "to marry" in many different forms. This is a reflexive verb. All reflexive verbs end with -ies. They are used to denote something being done to the subject of the sentence, something done together with the subject, something that is happening by itself, or a sudden activity. Also, notice that the endings are different from active verbs.

es prec-os
tu prec-ies
viņš, viņa, viņi prec-as
mēs prec-amies
jūs prec-aties

SITUATION: Apartment

HC: Cik tavā ģimenē ir bērnu?
PCV: Man ir trīs māsas un divi brāļi.
HC: Tik liela ģimene!
PCV: Mana mamma ļoti mīl bērnus.

HC: How many children in your family?
PCV: I have three sisters and two brothers.
HC: Such a large family!
PCV: My mother really loves children.


cik -- how many
tavā -- in your
ģimenē -- in the family
trīs -- three
māsas -- sisters
brāļi -- brothers
tik -- such
liela -- big (feminine)
mana -- my
mamma -- mother
mīl -- loves
bērnu, bērnus -- children


The declension of adjectives always corresponds with the declension of nouns. Notice that the word ģimene is in the feminine, so, therefore, liela is also feminine. Masculine would be liels.

Cik is always used with the genitive, because in asking "how many", you are asking "how many of", and genitive is the declension that shows possession.


The ģ in ģimene is one of the sounds in Latvian that has no comparison in English. The closest possible thing (which isn't really close) is putting the sound "d" with the sound "y".

SITUATION: Apartment

PCV: Vai tev ir māsas un brāļi?
HC: Man māsu nav. Man ir jaunākais brālis, Jānītis.
PCV: Cik vecs viņš ir?
HC: Daudz jaunāks par mani. Viņam ir tikai pieci gadi.

PCV: Do you have brothers and sisters?
HC: I have no sisters. I have a younger brother, Janitis.
PCV: How old is he?
HC: Much younger than me. He is only five.

nav -- not to have
jaunākais, jaunāks -- youngest, younger
brālis -- brother
vecs -- old
viņš, viņam -- he
par -- than
tikai -- only
piece -- five


With the verb nav, the dative is always used for the subject, while genitive is used for the object. The verb būt "to be" turns into the verb "to have" when the subject is in the dative. Nav is the negative of būt. The object is in the genitive, because once again (as with cik) the question is about possession.

Latvians use diminutives to denote closeness or youth. The brother's name has been made diminutive (Jānītis from Jānis) to reflect the fact that he is younger. With the noun endings -s, -š, and -a, the diminutive suffix is -iņš, -iņa, while with the endings -is and -e, the suffix is -ītis and -īte.

Superlatives and comparatives are formed by adding the suffix -āk- for comparatives and -ākais or -āka for superlatives, for example, jauns "young", jaunāks "younger" and jaunākais "the youngest".

SITUATION: Social gathering

HCN: Ar ko jūs šeit nodarbojaties?
PCV: Es esmu Amerikas Miera korpusa brīvprātīgais darbinieks.
HCN: Kas tas tāds?
PCV: Miera korpuss ir brīvprātīgo organizācija, kas sūta darbiniekus nodarboties apmēram deviņdesmit pasaules valstīs.

HCN: What kind of work are you doing here?
PCV: I am a United States Peace Corps Volunteer.
HCN: What is that?
PCV: Peace Corps is a volunteer organization that sends workers to about 90 countries.


šeit -- here
nodarbojaties, nodarboties -- to do (work)
tas -- that
tāds -- that
organizācija -- organization
sūta, sūtīt -- to send
darbinieks, darbiniekus -- workers
apmēram -- about
deviņdesmit -- ninety
pasaules, pasaule -- world
valstīs, valstis -- countries


Note that there is a comma before kas in the last sentence. In Latvian writing, all clauses with subjects and verbs are preceded by a comma.

Note that the words for "20, 30, 40, 50, etc" are all formed by taking the root of the number and adding -desmit (10).

Putting tas and tāds together makes the concept "that" more emphatic. (Since the HCN may not have heard about the Peace Corps.)


When Latvian is spoken quickly, the ending of the first number and the de- part of desmit disappear, if the first number is one syllable. Piecdesmit ends up sounding like "pie-e-smit". This doesn't apply to deviņdesmit, because deviņ- has two syllables.

SITUATION: Apartment

PCV: Cik istabu dzīvoklis šis ir?
HCN: Trīs istabu dzīvoklis.
PCV: Kura būs mana istaba?
HCN: Pirmās durvis pa labi.

PCV: How many rooms is this apartment?
HCN: Three room apartment.
PCV: Which will be my room?
HCN: First door on the right.


istabu, istaba -- room
dzīvoklis -- apartment
šis -- this
kura -- which
būs, ir -- to be
pirmās, pirmais -- first
durvis -- door
pa labi -- on the right


In this dialogue, the host country national answers in short, incomplete phrases. This is very typical for informal conversation, whereas polite, proper conversation will be conducted in complete sentences.

The future tense of būt is conjugated thus:

es būšu
tu būsi
viņš, viņa, viņi būs
mēs būsim
jūs būsit

It doesn't follow all of the rules of other verbs in the future tense, so it really must be memorized.

There are examples in this dialogue of both cardinal and ordinal numbers.

Cardinal -- Ordinal

1 viens -- pirmais
2 divi -- otrais
3 trīs -- trešais
4 četri -- ceturtais
5 pieci -- piektais
6 seši -- sestais
7 septiņi -- septītais
8 astoņi -- astotais
9 deviņi -- devītais
10 desmit -- desmitais

All of the above are declined with the nouns, just as adjectives are, all except for the cardinal desmit.

The phrase trīs istabu dzīvoklis can be translated literally "apartment of three rooms". The rooms would normally include two bedrooms and one living area.


PCV: Vai jūs varētu man parādīt, kur ir mazmājiņa?
HCN: Otrās durvis pa kreisi.

PCV: Could you show me where the bathroom is?
HCN: Second door on the left.

varētu, varēt -- to be able to
parādīt -- to show
kur -- where
mazmājiņa -- toilet (little house)
otrās -- second (fem. pl.)
pa kreisi -- on the left


Varētu is in the conditional tense. It is always used in conjunction with an infinitive. Often, when speaking to someone you aren't acquainted with you need to use the conditional tense. It makes everything very formal and proper. It is formed by adding -u to the infinitive.

The meaning of the word mazmājiņa comes from the days when the toilet was located in a small house outside.

Brālīts man klēti dara -- Brother mady my granary
Baltābola kalniņā; -- On a hill of white apple clover.
Citas meitas dubļus brida, -- As other girls wade through mud,
Es brien' baltu āboliņu. -- I wade through white clover.

SITUATION: In the bank (in 1992 when the Ruble was still in use)

PCV: Es vēlētos apmainīt dolārus pret rubļiem.
Teller: Cik daudz jūs vēlētos apmainīt?
PCV: Kāds ir dolāra kurss attiecībā pret rubli?
Teller: Viens dolārs pret astoņdesmit astoņiem rubļiem.
PCV: Tad es velos apmainīt divdesmit dolārus.

PCV: I would like to exchange dollars for rubles.
Teller: How much would you like to exchange?
PCV: What is the exchange rate for dollars against rubles?
Teller: One dollar for eighty-eight rubles.
PCV: Then I would like to exchange twenty dollars.


vēlētos, vēlos, vēlēties -- to want to
to exchange -- apmainīt -- to exchange
dolārus, dolāra, dolārs -- dollars, dollar's, dollar
pret -- against
rubļiem, rubli, rublis -- rubles, ruble
kāds -- what
kurss -- exchange rate
attiecībā -- in relation to
viens -- one
astoņdesmit astoņiem -- eighty-eight
tad -- then
devdesmit -- twenty


A sound change happens in some nouns when they are made plural. If the singular noun has an "i" in the ending, it is palatalized, which means that your tongue moves toward your palate to produce the kind of /y/ sound at the beginning of "yellow." The l in rublis changes to ļ.

Bagāts lūdza naudas, mantas, -- The rich one asks for money, things,
Es no Dieva veselību. -- I ask God for health.
Bagātam nauda, manta, -- The rich one has money, things,
Man bij laba veselība. -- I have good health.

SITUATION: PCV's apartment

(Phone rings)
PCV: Klausos.
Caller: Labvakar. Vai Mārīte būtu mājās?
PCV: Uzgaidiet! Es aiziešu apskatīties.
Caller: Paldies.
(Mārīte is not home.)
PCV: Viņas nav.
Caller: Vai jūs nevarētu viņai pateikt, ka Daina zvanījusi un lai viņa atzvana.
PCV: Labi. Pateikšu.

(Phone rings.)
PCV: I'm listening.
Caller: Good evening. Is Marite home?
PCV: Wait a minute. I'll go look.
Caller: Thank you.
(Marite is not home.)
PCV: She's not here.
Caller: Could you tell her that Daina called and for her to call back.
PCV: Fine. I'll tell her.


klausos, klausīties -- to listen
labvakar -- good evening
mājās -- home
uzgaidiet, uzgaidīt -- to wait
aiziešu, aiziet -- to go away
apskatīties -- to look around
pateikt, pateikšu -- to tell
ka -- that
zvanījusi, zvanīt -- to call
lai -- for
atzvana, atzvanīt -- to call back


Klausos is only one of many very individual ways of answering the telephone. You can always say "Hallo", too.

There are also different ways of asking if someone is home. Another typical one is Vai Mārīte būtu runājama? "Is Mārīte able to speak?"

The question Vai jūs... is an example of the many clauses that are added on in Latvian. In this case, we have two: one preceded by ka and the other by lai. Lai is a preposition that is accompanied by a demand or a request.

SITUATION: Making a phone call

PCV: Vai Jānis būtu runājams?
HCN: Jā, pasaukšu pie telefona.
PCV: Paldies.
Jānis: Hallo?
PCV: Čau, Jāni! Kā klājās?

PCV: Is Janis able to speak?
HCN: Yes, I'll call him to the phone.
PCV: Thank you.
Janis: Hello?
PCV: Hi, Jani! How's it going?


runājams, runāt -- to speak
jā -- yes
pasaukšu, pasaukt -- to call
pie -- to
telefona -- telephone
kā klājās -- how are you? (idiom)


The preposition pie is always used with the genitive case. In this dialogue, the example is pie telefona "to the telephone." Pie also means "by," "at" and "on", in other instances, as in pie sienas "on the wall" and pie draugiem "at the friends."

Kā klājās? is one more way of saying "How are you?".

When speaking to someone and using their name, the name is used in the vocative case. The vocative case is not always included in the usual list of cases. It is formed by dropping the last letter of the end of the noun. For example, Jānis becomes Jāni, Ieva becomes Iev.

SITUATION: Post office

PCV: Es vēlētos nopirkt desmit aploksnes.
HCN: Lūdzu.
PCV: Cik maksā vēstules sūtīšana uz Amerikas savienotām valstīm?
HCN: Divi rubļi, piecdesmit kapeikas.
PCV: Lūdzu, iedodiet man pasta markas divsimtpiecdesmit rubļu vērtībā!

PCV: I would like to buy 10 envelopes.
HCN: Please.
PCV: How much does it cost to send a letter to USA?
HCN: Two rubles, 50 kopecks.
PCV: Please, give me two hundred and fifty rubles worth of stamps.

nopirkt -- to buy
desmit -- ten
aploksnes -- envelopes
maksā, maksāt -- to cost
vēstules, vēstule -- letter's
sūtīšana -- sending
uz -- to
Amerikas savienotām valstīm -- U.S.A.
divi -- two
piecdesmit -- fifty
kapeikas -- kopecks
iedodiet, iedot -- to give
pasta markas -- stamps
divsimtpiecdesmis -- two hundred and fifty
vērtībā, vērtība -- worth


The word lūdzu means not only "please," but "you're welcome," and "here you are." Placementi s very important. Usually, it is placed at the beginning of the sentence to mean "please", because if it were placed at the end of the sentence, the Latvian might take offense. "Do this for me, PLEASE."

The word uz has two meanings. If used with a singular noun in the genitive case, it means "on top of." If used with a singular noun in the accusative case, it means "to, toward."

In this dialogue, the preposition uz is used with a plural noun in the dative. When plural nouns are found behind prepositions, they are declined in the dative.

SITUATION: PCV's apartment

PCV: Vēlos pieteikt sarunu ar Amerikas savienotajām valstīm.
Operator: Cikos jūs gribētu zvanīt?
PCV: Trijos pēcpusdienā, ja tas ir iespējams.
Operator: Jā. Esiet mājās no pulksten trijiem līdz puspieciem.
PCV: Paldies.
Operator: Vai jūs pieteicāt sarunu ar ASV?
PCV: Jā.
Operator: Palieciet pie klausules. Mēs tagad mēģināsim savienot.
PCV: Paldies.

PCV: I would like to reserve a call to the USA.
Operator: What time would you like to call?
PCV: Three in the afternoon, if it is possible.
Operator: Yes. Be at home from three to four-thirty.
Operator: Did you reserve a call to the USA?
PCV: Yes.
Operator: Stay by the phone. We will now try to connect you.
PCV: Thank you.


pietekt, pieteicāt -- to reserve
sarunu -- conversation
cikos -- at what time
zvanīt -- to call
trijos, trijiem, trīs -- at three
pēcpusdienā, pēcpusdiena -- afternoon
ja -- if
iespējams -- possible
no -- from
pulksten -- o'clock
līdz -- to
puspieciem -- four-thirty
palieciet -- to stay
klausules -- receiver
mēgināsim, mēģināt -- to try
savienot -- to connect


When telling time, it answers the question kad? "when?"...

General time questions are introduced by kad "when" or cikos "at what time".

Kad tu celies? "When do you get up?" El ceļos rītos. "I get up in the mornings."
Cikos tu celies? "At what time do you get up?" Es ceļos septiņos. "I get up at seven."

To talk about time you can use either nominative or locative phrases.


Cik ir pulksteinis? -- "What time is it?"
Pulksteins ir viens. -- "It is one o'clock."


Cikos? "At what (clock) time?"
Pulksten vienos "at one o'clock"

Occasionally people run into problems with the half-hour phrases. In English such phrases look back to the last full hour, in Latvian they look forward to the next hour. To tell the half-hours, use the prefix pus- "half" + the necessary numeral, either in the nominative or locative case.

pusviens "half to one"
pusvienos "at half to one"


Ez dzirdēju kaimiņos -- In the neighbor's yeard I heard
Ik rītiņu taurējam: -- Honking every morning:
Kaimiņš savus slinkus puišus -- The neighbor to his lazy boys
Ik rītiņus uztaurēja. -- Was honking every morning.

SITUATION: Restaurant

PCV: Es vēlētos pirmajā svaigu kāpostu zupu, otrajā sautētu liellopu gaļu ar sēņu mērci.
Oficiants: Mēs atvainojamies. Mums liellopu gaļas ēdieni ir beigušies. Palikuši tikai cūkgaļas ēdieni.
PCV: Ļoti žēl. Tad, lūdzu karbonādi.
Oficants: Labi. Pirmajā svaigu kāpostu zupa, otrajā karbonāde. Vai jūs vēlētos kādu saldo ēdienu?
PCV: Ko jūs varētu piedāvāt?
Oficiants: Svaigas zemenes ar putu krējumu, šokolādes krēms, un saldējums.
PCV: Es vēlētos zemenes.
Oficants: Labi.

PCV: I would like for the first course fresh cabbage soup, for the second sauteed beef with mushroom sauce.
Waiter: We apologise. All our beef dishes are gone. Only the pork dishes are left.
PCV: So sorry. Then, please pork chops.
Waiter: Fine. For the first fresh cabbage soup, the second pork chops. Would you like some dessert?
PCV: What can you offer?
Waiter: Fresh strawberries with whipped cream, chocolate cream, and ice cream.
PCV: I would like the strawberries.
Waiter: Fine.


pirmajā, pirmais -- for the first course
svaigu, svaigas -- fresh
kāpostu, kāposti -- cabbage
zupu, zupa -- soup
otrajā, otrais -- for the second course
sautētu, sautēts -- sauteed
liellopu, liellopi -- beef
gaļu, gaļas, gaļa -- meat
sēņu, sēnes -- mushroom
mērci, mērce -- sauce
atvainojamies, atvainoties -- to apologise
ēdieni -- foods (dishes)
beigušies, beigt -- have ended
palikuši, palikt -- to remain
cūkgaļas, cūkgaļa -- pork
žēl -- sorry
karbonādi, karbonāde -- pork chop
saldo ēdienu, saldais ēdiens -- dessert
piedāvāt -- to offer
zemenes -- strawberries
putu krējumu, krējums -- whipped cream
šokolādes krēms -- chocolate cream
saldējums -- ice cream


By merely saying pirmajā (literally, "in the first") in a restaurant, the waiter will understand that you mean "for the first course".

In this dialogue, there are a few examples of phrases that have nouns acting as adjectives: kāpostu zupa, liellopu gaļa, sēņu mērce, etc. Nouns in the genitive case are used to modify other nouns used as objects or subjects. See the Appendix for a guide to the genitive case.

The preposition ar "with" is always used with nouns in the accusative case. This is called the instrumental case, but is not listed in the regular five cases, since it is only the preposition with the accusative.

SITUATION: Restaurant

PCV: Vai es varētu palūgt rēķinu?
Oficants: Lūdzu.
PCV (Paying): Paldies. Viss bija ļoti garšīgi.

PCV: May I have the bill?
Waiter: Please.
PCV: (Paying) Thank you. Everything was very delicious.


palūgt -- to ask for
rēķinu -- bill
viss -- everything
bija, ir -- to be (past tense)
garšīgi -- delicious


Adverbs are formed by adding the ending -i to the root of any adjective: garšīgs = garšīgi, skaists "beautiful" = skaisti "beautifully", jauks "nice" = jauki "fine".

ir (conjugated in the past tense)

es biju
tu biji
viņš bija
mēs bijām
jūs bijāt


When saying the word viss, make sure that you pronounce the "i" sound at the very front of the mouth.

SITUATION: Apartment

HCN: Man gribas ēst.
PCV: Ko tu ēd pusdienās?
HCN: Man garšo cepta gaļa, kartupeļi, un kāposti.
PCV: Tik lielas pusdienas!
HCN: Mēs parasti ēdam daudz pusdienās, un vakariņās mazāk.

HCN: I want to eat.
PCV: What do you eat for lunch?
HCN: I like cooked meat, potatoes, and cabbage.
PCV: Such a large lunch!
HCN: We usually eat a lot for lunch, and less for dinner.


ēd, ēst -- to eat
garšo, garšot -- to like (specifically, eating)
cepta -- cooked
kartupeļi -- potatoes


Pusdienas "lunch, dinner" is usually eaten at noon. In Latvia, this can often be the main meal of the day.

Note that garšot and gribēties both have the subject in the dative. Gribēties is a reflexive verb (note the -ies ending), while garšot is one of a few verbs that use the subject in the dative case. Other examples are patikt "to like" and vajadzēt "to need".


The ē in ēd and ēdam is pronounced like the "a" in "add". Actually, ēd sounds just like "add". However, the e in ēst is pronounced like the vowel sound in "chair."

COMPETENCY: To express preferences/needs
SITUATION: Apartment

HCN: Vai mums ir piens?
PCV: Cik daudz tev vajag? Mums ir tikai kāda krūzīte.
HCN: Tikai tejkaroti. Man vajag piena kafijai.
PCV: Lūdzu.

HCN: Do we have milk?
PCN: How much do you need? We have only a little cup.
HCN: Only a teaspoon. I need milk for coffee.
PCN: Please.


piens -- milk
vajag, vajadzēt -- to need
krūzīte -- little cup
tejkaroti, tejkarote -- teaspoon
kafijai, kafija -- coffee


With the verb vajadzēt the same rules apply as for the verb nav (not to have): the subject is always in the dative case and the object is always genitive. For example, man vajag kafijas "I need coffee." Also, vajag is not conjugated when it is used this way.

man vajag
tev vajag
viņam vajag
mums vajag
jums vajag

In this dialogue, the adjective kāds is used to denote "a little bit" or "about". For example, man ir tikai kāds dolārs "I have only about a dollar." It is often used with tikai "only."

COMPETENCY: To request foods at the table
SITUATION: HCN dinner table

PCV: Vai jūs nevarētu pasniegt piparus?
HCN: Lūdzu.
PCV: Paldies. Lūdzu, pasniedziet sviestu!
HCN: Vēl kaut ko?
PCV: Nē, paldies. Ar to pietiksies.

PCV: Could you pass the pepper?
HCN: Please.
PCV: Thank you. Please, pass the butter!
HCN: Something else?
PCV: No, thank you. That's all.


pasniegt, pasniedziet -- to pass
piparus, pipari -- pepper
sviestu, sviests -- butter
kaut ko -- something
pietiksies, pietikties -- to be enough


Notice that the g in the infinitive pasniegt changes to dz in the second person plural (formal) pasniedziet. This is similar to the sound changes in nouns when changing from singular to plural. G always changes to dz, k to c, d to ž, etc.

The word kaut connotes "a little" or "about".

COMPETENCY: To accept/refuse additional food
SITUATION: HCN dinner table

HCN: Vai nevarētu piedāvāt vēl vienu maizes šķēli?
PCV: Jā, paldies. Tā ir ļoti garšīga. To vēl varu apēst.
HCN: Un vēl kādu gaļas gabalu ar mērcīti?
PCV: Nē, paldies. Es esmu patiešām paēdis.

HCN: Could I offer you another slice of bread?
PCV: Yes, thank you. That is very delicious. That I can still eat.
HCN: And another piece of meat with sauce?
PCN: No, thank you. I am truly full.


piedāvāt -- to offer
maizes -- bread
šķēli, šķēle -- slice
tā -- that
varu, varēt -- to be able
apēst -- to eat
gabalu, gabals -- piece
mērcīti, mērcīte -- sauce (diminutive)
patiešām -- truly
paēdis, paēst -- to be full


The verb ēst "to eat" has a few derivatives in Latvian that have very specific meanings. Apēst means to eat an entire thing and finish it. Paēst is "to eat a little", while in the form paēdis (past participle) it means "full".

In Latvian, pronouns are often dropped. For example, in the first sentence, there are two missing. It should actually real: Vai es nevarētu jums piedāvāt vēl vienu maizes šķēli? Again, in the second line, the last sentence could also read: To es vēl varu apēst.

COMPETENCY: To describe preparation
SITUATION: Apartment

HCN: Kā Amerikā gatavo liellopu gaļu?
PCV: Bieži cepjam bifštekus uz oglēm ar asu mērci.
HCN: Vai ir kaut kas līdzīgs Latvijā?
PCV: Mērce ir ļoti līdzīga šašlike mērcei.

HCN: How do you prepare beef in America?
PCV: We often cook steaks on charcoal with hot sauce.
HCN: Is there something similar in Latvia?
PCV: The sauce is very similar to shashlik sauce.


gatavo, gatavot -- to prepare
bieži -- often
cepjam, cept -- to cook
bifštekus, bifšteki -- steaks
oglēm, ogles -- charcoal
asu, ass -- sharp, hot
līdzīgs -- similar
šašlika -- shish-kabob


There are some consonants that do not palatalize: p, and b, for example. They will be accompanied by a j in those instances where other sounds palatalize. In this dialogue we have cepjam, where the infinitive is cept.

es cepu
tu cepi
viņš cep
mēs cepjam
jūs cepjat

There are a few verbs that have the ending -ot. Here, we have gatavot, and we have already used the word garšot. In the second person singular and the third person, all verbs with the ending -ot end with -o.

es gatavoju
tu gatavo
viņš gatavo
mēs gatavojam
jūs gatavojat


Ko mēs bērni ēdīsim -- What are we children going to eat
Ziemassvētku vakarā? -- On Christmas eve?
Pīrāgam nabagam -- The poor bacon roll
Abi gali apdeguši. -- Has been burned at both ends.

COMPETENCY: To ask about schedule/routes
SITUATION: At the train station

PCV: Vai jūs nevarētu man pateikt, kad atiet nākāmais vilciens uz Rīgu?
HCN: Nākāmais vilciens uz Rīgu pienāk stacijā pulksten trispadsmitos un atiet trispadsmitos nulle piecās.

PCV: Could you tell me when the next train to Riga departs?
HCN: The next train to Riga arrives at the station at one o'clock in the afternoon and departs at one oh five.


atiet -- to depart
nākāmais -- the next
vilciens -- train
pienāk -- to arrive
trīspadsmitos -- at thirteen o'clock (1 PM)
nulle -- zero
piecās -- five


Nākāmais is a definite adjective. This is the same as using the article "the" in English. Labais zēns means "the good boy", while labs zēns means "a good boy." It is declined thus:

masculine, singular

Nominative: labais zēns, labs zēns
Genitive: labā zēna, laba zēna
Dative: labajam zēnam, labam zēnam
Accusative: labo zēnu, labu zēnu
Locative: labajā zēnā, labā zēnā

Atiet is derived from the verb iet "to go." Iet is a first conjugation verb whose present, past, and future roots are quite different. Note:


es eju
tu eji
viņš iet
mēs ejam
jūs ejat


es gāju
tu gāji
viņš gāja
mēs gājām
jūs gājāt


es iešu
tu iesi
viņš ies
mēs iesim
jūs iesit

COMPETENCY: To direct a taxi driver
SITUATION: At a taxi stand

Driver: Kur jums jābrauc?
PCV: Blaumaņa iela, numurs divi.
PCV: Lūdzu, piestājiet šeit pie parādes durvīm! Cik esmu parādā?
Driver: Sešdesmit rubļi.
PCV: Lūdzu.

Driver: Where do you need to go?
PCV: Blaumana St., number two.
PCV: Please, stop here at the entrance! How much do I owe you?
Driver: 60 rubles.
PCV: Here you are.


jābrauc, braukt -- to drive
iela -- street
numurs -- number
piestājiet, piestāt -- to stop
parādes durvis -- entrance
parādā, parāds -- debt


To express necessity, you add jā- to a verb. Braukt turns into jābrauc, iet into jāiet, etc.

There is a very marked difference in the verbs that denote personal movement in Latvian. The verb braukt is always used when the movement will be by car, boat, bicycle, etc., whereas in English we often say we will go somewhere. It is best to use the verb iet to mean "go" only when used in conjunction with a direction, like Kur tu eji? "Where are you going?" or Vai tu iesi uz koncertu? "Are you going to the concert?" There are also the verbs staigāt "to walk" and skriet "to run." These are used only when the activity is being described more specifically.

COMPETENCY: To purchase tickets
SITUATION: Train station kiosk

PCV: Lūdzu, divas pieaugušo biļetes, vienu bērna biļeti uz Saulkrastiem.
Salesperson: Lūdzu, jāmaksā četri rubļi, piecdesmit kapeikas.
PCV: Cik maksā bērna biļete?
Salesperson: Bērna maksā piecdesmit kapeikas un pieaugušā: divi rubļi.

PCV: Please, two adult tickets, one child's ticket to Saulkrasti.
Salesperson: Please, you must pay four rubles, fifty kopecks.
PCV: How much does the child's ticket cost?
Salesperson: A child's costs 50 kopecks and adults: 2 rubles.


Notice that the numbers corresponding to the noun biļetes are declined in the same way as the nouns, whereas the type of biļetes (adult and child) are not. Pieaugušo and bērna are more examples of nouns in the genitive being used as modifiers and they do not change when declined (see below).

All numbers, save desmit and simt (100), are declined just like adjectives.

Nom. divas pieaugušo biļetes
Gen. divu pieaugušo biļešu
Dat. divām pieaugušo biļetēm
Accus. divas pieaugušo biļetes
Lok. divās pieaugušo biļetēs

Verbs of necessity, like jāmaksā, are followed by nominative nouns as objects. Man jāmet bumba "I must throw the ball."


Kam tie zirgi, kam tie rati -- Whose horses, whose carriage are those
Pie Saulītes nam' durvīm? -- By the door of the house of the Sun?
Dieva zirgi, Laimas rati -- They are God's horses, Laima's carriage
Gaid' Saulīti iesēdam. -- Waiting to seat the Sun.

Directions: The four directions are ziemeļi "north", dienvidi "south", austrumi "east", and rietumi "west."

COMPETENCY: To ask for and give locations of buildings
SITUATION: On the street

PCV: Vai jūs nevarētu man pateikt, kurā vietā atrodas pasta birojs?
HCN: Pasta birojs atrodas Marijas ielā blakus vilcienu stacijai.
PCV: Vai tas no šejienes tālu?
HCN: Ne, ar kājām tikai piecas minūtes.

PCV: Could you tell me where to find the post office?
HCN: The post office is on Marijas St. next to the train station.
PCV: Is that far from here?
HCN: No, by foot it is only 5 minutes.


vietā, vieta -- place
atrodas, atrasties -- is found
birojs -- office
blakus -- next to
stacijai -- station
šejienes, šejiene -- this place
tālu, tāls -- far
kājām, kājas -- feet, legs
minūtes -- minutes


Notice how the last words in the question are the most important.

Blakus is always accompanied by the dative case, since the meaning implies more of an indirect object.

Šejienes is derived from the word šeit "here". Similarly, turienes "that place" is derived from tur "there". These two nouns with the same meaning as the adverbs can be declined.

COMPETENCY: To ask for and give directions to a place
SITUATION: On the street

PCV: Vai jūs nevarētu man pateikt ceļu uz Brīvības ielu?
HCN: Pie trešās ielas jāgriežas pa kreisi, tad otrajā ielā pa labi.
PCV: Pagriežos pa kreisi pie otrās ielas?
HCN: Nē. Jāgriežas pa labi. Tā būs Aleksandra Čaka iela.
PCV: Paldies.

PCV: Could you tell me the way to Brivibas Street?
HCN: At the third street you have to turn left, then at the second street turn right.
PCV: I turn right at the second street?
HCN: No. You have to turn right. That'll be Alexander Caks street.
PCV: Thank you.


ceļu, ceļš -- route, road
jāgriežas, griesties -- to turn


In this case, uz is accompanied by the accusative case, since uz means "to".

Labi is not only the adverb "well", but also "right". Kreisi is "left". You use them with the preposition pa to form pa labi "to the right" and pa kreisi "to the left".

When saying a street name, always put the name into the genitive case, since you are describing the street's name. Marijas iela "Mary's Street", Blaumaņa iela "Blauman's Street", Brīvības bulvārs "Boulevard of Freedom" are some examples.


Ik vakara dziedāt gāju -- Every morning I went to sing
Sidrabiņā kalniņāi. -- On the top of the silver hill.
Kalniņāi stāvēdama, -- Standing on the hill,
Grozu savu vainadziņu; -- I turned my crown in all directions;
Kur tas spoži atspīdēja, -- Where it reflected the brightest,
Tur mūžiņu nodzīvoju. -- There I spent the rest of my life.

COMPETENCY: To describe needs/ask for availability

PCV: Man, lūdzu, vajadzētu četrdesmit pirmā izmēra kurpes. Kādās jums ir?
Shopkeeper: Mums ir melnas un brūnas.
PCV: Vai jums ir sporta čības?
Shopkeeper: Šodien sporta čību nav.
PCV: Paldies. Es citur meklēšu.

PCV: I, please, need size 41 shoes. What kind do you have?
Shopkeeper: We have black and brown.
PCV: Do you have sneakers?
Shopkeeper: Today we do not have sneakers.
PCV: Thanks. I'll look elsewhere.

četrdesmit -- forty
izmēra, izmērs -- size
kurpes -- shoes
melnas -- black
brūnas -- brown
sporta čības -- sneakers
citur -- somewhere else
meklēšu, meklēt -- to search


Sizes are placed before the noun they are describing. Četrdesmit pirmā izmēra kurpes is translated literally "socks of the 41st size".

To say "I have", the dative construction (subject in the dative case), as in man ir, and the verb būt "to be" in the third person are used. Example:

man ir
tev ir
viņam ir
mums ir
jums ir

COMPETENCY: To pay for a purchase

PCV: Cik ir jāmaksā par cimdiem?
Shopkeeper: Divsimt rubļi.
PCV: Es vēlos nopirkt divus pārus cimdu.
Shopkeeper: Labi. Jums jāmaksā četrsimt rubļi.
PCV: Vai jūs arī pārdodat dzintara krelles?
Shopkeeper: Diemžēl, ir jau izpārdotas.
PCV: Žēl.

PCV: How much do I pay for mittens?
S: 200 rubles.
PCV: I would like to buy two pairs of mittens.
S: Fine. You must pay 400 rubles.
Do you also sell amber necklaces?
S: Unfortunately, they are already sold out.
PCV: Too bad.

cimdiem, cimdu, cimdi -- mittens
pārdodat, pārdot -- to sell
dzintara, dzintars -- amber
krelles -- necklace
izpārdotas, izpārdots -- sold-out

Notice that the construction divus pārus cimdu "two pairs of mittens" has the modifying noun cimdu (in the genitive case) at the end of the phrase, instead of in front of the noun being modified. (Divus cimdu pārus) This is to emphasize the mittens being bought, instead of the fact that they are pairs.

COMPETENCY: To bargain

PCV: Cik maksā apelsīni?
Woman: Septiņdesmit piece rubļi kilogrammā.
PCV: Es ņemšu trīs kilogrammas, ja jūs man pārdosit par sešdesmit pieci.

PCV: How much do the oranges cost?
Woman: 75 rubles for a kilogram.
PCV: I'll take 3 kilograms, if you'll sell them for 65.

apelsīni -- oranges
septiņdesmit pieci -- seventy-five
kilogrammā -- kilogram
ņemšu, ņemt -- to take
sešdesmit pieci -- sixty-five

There are two verbs in the future tense in this dialogue: ņemt and pārdot. These are verbs from different conjugations, so it might give you a better grasp of how to conjugate the future tense by comparing the two.

es ņemšu -- es pārdošu
tu ņems -- tu pārdos
viņš ņems -- viņš pārdos
mēs ņemsim -- mēs pārdosim
jūs ņemsit -- jūs pārdosit

Zirņi, zirņi, pupas, pupas, -- Peas, peas, beans, beans,
Tā bij laba labībiņa: -- That was the best produce:
Ni grūžama, ni maļama, -- No pounding, no grinding,
Tik katlā ieberama. -- Just pouring in the pot.

Most Latvians have a second, summer home in the countryside where they often have small gardens or relatives with nearby farms who can provide them with produce, milk, and meats. The lifestyle in the summer homes or vasarnīcas is very different from that of the city. Here, people can relax, do gardening or home improvements, and breathe fresh air. The water is usually clean, since it comes from the well out in the yard, and fresh fish can be caught in the pond by the house. If a Latvian invites you to his or her vasarnīca, take advantage of the opportunity. This is where you'll see the real Latvia, for most Latvians are descendants of farmers or serfs. Also, make sure someone knowledgeable takes you hunting for berries or mushrooms. These are very plentiful in the woods, and quite a few sorts of mushrooms that are poisonous in the United States are quite taste (and non-poisonous) in Latvia.

COMPETENCY: To describe feelings

HCN: Kā tev iet?
PCV: Man trūkst mājas.
HCN: Tu esi bēdīga?
PCV: Nē, es neesmu bēdīga. Man patīk šeit būt un strādāt.
HCN: Bet, vai tu esi laimīga?
PCV: Jā, es esmu laimīga. Man vienkārši trūkst mājas.

HCN: How are you?
PCV: I miss my home.
HCN: You are sad?
PCV: No, I'm not sad. I like being here and working.
HCN: But, are you happy?
PCV: Yes, I'm happy. I simply miss my home.

trūkst, trūkt -- to miss
bēdīga -- sad
patīk, patikt -- to like
strādāt -- to work
bet -- but
laimīga -- happy
vienkārši -- simply

Trūkst is another of the verbs that use dative for the subject and genitive for the object. It does not change with the person, like vajag, nav. Note that these three verbs have something to do with quantity. With trūkst and nav, you have nothing; with vajag, you need something.

Patikt is one of the "sense" verbs (for example, garšot "to taste") that also uses dative for the subject, but nominative for the object.

tu man patīci -- "I like you" (Actually, "you are liked by me.")
es tev patīku -- "you like me" ("I am liked by you.")
viņš man patīk -- "I like him" ("He is liked by me.")

COMPETENCY: To thank someone for assistance
SITUATION: On the street

PCV: Vai jūs nevarētu man palīdzēt?
HCN: Kā lūdzu?
PCV: Man ir grūti saprast šo stundu plānu.
HCN: Ar ko es varu palīdzēt?
PCV: Liels paldies par palīdzēšanu!
HCN: Ne par ko.

PCV: Can't you help me?
HCN: Excuse me.
PCV: It's difficult to understand this schedule.
HCN: What can I help you with?
PCV: Thank you very much for helping!
HCN: It's nothing.

grūti -- difficult
stundu plāns -- schedule
palīdzēt -- to help
liels -- big
palīdzēšanu -- helping
ne par ko -- it's nothing

Kā lūdzu? is translated as "Excuse me?", while its literal meaning is closer to "How was that, please?" If you really want to apologize, you can say: atvaino! or atvainojiet!, or lūdzu piedod! or piedodiet!

There are a few different ways of saying "you're welcome" Ne par ko, "it's nothing" or lūdzu.

Palīdzēšanu is a noun derived from a verb palīdzēt "to help". There are a whole slew of words that end in -šana; they are easier to decline, because they have the standard a-stem ending.

Nom. palīdzēšana
Gen. palīdzēšanas
Dat. palīdzēšanai
Acc. palīdzēšanu
Lok. palīdzēšanā

COMPETENCY: To give or accept a gift

PCV: Liels paldies par jauko vakaru. Es atvedu jums šo grāmatu par Ameriku un vēlos to jums uzdāvināt.
HCN: Paldies. Kas par jauku dāvanu! Tai ir tik krāsainas fotogrāfijas.
PCV: Ņem par labu.

PCV: Thank you for the nice evening. I brought you this book about America and would like to give it to you.
HCN: Thank you. What a nice present! It has such colorful pictures.
PCV: You're welcome.

vakaru, vakars -- evening
atvedu, atvest -- brought
uzdāvināt -- to give as a present
grāmatu, grāmata -- book
jauku, jauka -- nice
dāvanu, dāvana -- present
ņem par labu -- you're welcome

Kas par... is an exclamation that is used for good and for bad expressions. It can be translated as "What a..."

Ņem par labu literally means "take it well." It is an act that is done out of the kindness of your heart.

COMPETENCY: To refuse an invitation or make an invitation

II (Interested Individual): Vai tu negribētu atnākt šovakar pie manis?
PCV: Nē, paldies. Es jūtos tiešām nogurusi un man gribās braukt uz savām mājām.
II: Labi. Tad varbūt kādu citu reizi.
PCV: Jā, kādu citu reizi tad.

II: Wouldn't you like to come to my house this evening?
PCV: No, thank you. I am really tired and I want to go home.
II: Fine. Then maybe some other time.
PCV: Yes, some other time then.

atnākt -- to come over
šovakar -- this evening
pie manis -- to my house
nogurusi -- tired
gribās, gribēt -- to want
braukt -- to drive, to go
savām -- my own
varbūt -- maybe
citu, cits -- other
reizi, reize -- time

The pronoun savs (here, savām) is translated as "my own". It is used to correspond to any pronoun or person noun used earlier in the sentence. For example, in the sentence es teicu savam brālim "I said to my brother" it is clear that I am speaking of my own brother, because the word savs is used. It is conjugated as the following:

Nom. kas? Masc. savs, Fem. sava
Gen. kā? Masc. sava, Fem. savas
Dat. kam? Masc. savam, Fem. savai
Acc. ko? Masc. savu, Fem. savu
Lok. kur? Masc. savā, Fem. savā

COMPETENCY: To inquire about social activities
SITUATION: Workplace

PCV: Kur šovakar notiksies tautas deju mēģinājums?
HCN: Lielajā zālē.
PCV: Cikos sāksies?
HCN: Pulksten astoņpadsmitos.
PCV: Vai tu iesi?
HCN: Es biju domājusi iet.
PCV: Man liekas, ka es arī iešu.

PCV: Where is the folk dance rehearsal happening this evening?
HCN: In the big hall.
PCV: What time does it start?
HCN: At 6 PM.
PCV: Are you going?
HCN: I had thought to go.
PCV: It seems to me, that I'm going, too.

notiksies, notikties -- to happen
tautas deju, dejas -- folk dancing
mēģinājums -- rehearsal
zālē, zāle -- hall
cikos -- at what time
sāksies, sākties -- to start
astoņpadsmitos -- at eighteen (hundred hours)
domājusi -- thought (past participle)
liekas, likties -- to seem

Man liekas is literally "it seems to me", therefore the subject is in the dative case. For this phrase, the verb is not conjugated.

Throughout the dialogues, there are several examples of past and present participles. In Latvian, these are called divdabji (singular, divdabis), which can be translated "those with two natures." Divdabji are verbs that have been transformed into modifiers. In this dialogue, example is domājusi. This word is modifying a feminine noun, so it is declined accordingly. Explaining how to form past and present participles in Latvian is very complicated. I will merely list the endings they might have: -ošs, -oša, -ams, -ama, -āms, -āma, -is, -usi, -ts, -ta, -ot, -oties, -dams, -dama, -damies, -damās. These endings would be added onto the roots of verbs.

Sit, Jānīti, vara bungas -- John, bea the copper drums
Vārtu stabu galiņā, -- On the top of the gate,
Lai ceļās Jāņa māte, -- Wake up John's mother,
Lai saņēma Jāņa bērnus. -- So she can greet St. John's children.

In American companies there is an icon known as the water cooler. It is a place that gives workers a chance to relax, to take a breather from the pressures of work, and establish relationships with other workers. In Latvia, this is replaced by the kafijas galds "coffee table" where the workers congregate for coffee breaks at every opportunity. There are comfortable chairs and low tables very similar to a lounge, but found in the middle of an office. The coffee is usually instant and served with some sort of sandwiches or cookies. Sometimes, the coffee is even flavored with cognac. The main difference between the kafijas galds and the water cooler is that there is no set time in Latvia. Breaks are taken often and for every possible reason.

Most Latvians that work together call each other by first name, but still use the formal jūs. However, the generation difference is very apparent here, as well, since younger people will call older colleagues kungs or kundze.

COMPETENCY: To identify oneself and Peace Corps assignment
SITUATION: Teachers' room

T: Sakiet, kāds amats jums bija Amerikā?
PCV: Esmu vidusskolas skolotāja Ohio štatā.
T: Bet kāpēc jūs šeit esat?
PCV: Es pieteicos palīdzēt citām skolotājām ar angļu valodas mācīšanu.

T: Tell me, what kind of job did you have in America?
PCV: I am a high school teacher in the state of Ohio.
T: But why are you here?
PCV: I applied to help other teachers teach English.


saki, sacīt -- to say
amats -- occupation, trade
vidusskolas, vidusskola -- high school
skolotāja -- teacher
štatā, štats -- state
kāpēc -- why
pieteicos, pieteikties -- to apply
mācīt -- to teach
angļu -- English
valodas -- language
mācīšana -- teaching


Here will follow an overview of the reflexive verb system, from Easy Way to Latvian:

Reflexive verbs are called reflexive because, in their most common use, their action returns to its doer. The infinitive of the reflexive verbs is formed by adding the ending -ies to the active infinitive: pieteikt "to register" pieteikties "to apply".


I. conj.
celties "to wake up"

es ceļos
tu celies
viņš ceļas
mēs ceļamies
jūs ceļaties

II. conj.
mazgāties "to wash self"

es mazgājos
tu mazgājies
viņš mazgājas
mēs mazgājamies
jūs mazgājaties

III. conj.
mācīties "to study"

es mācos
tu mācies
viņš mācās
mēs mācāmies
jūs mācāties

COMPETENCY: To ask for supplies/assistance
SITUATION: Classroom

Janitor: Kas jums būtu vajadzīgs?
PCV: Vai jūs nevarētu atslēgt šīs durvis?
Janitor: Vai ko vēl vajag?
PCV: Vai būtu iespējams ieslēgt sildītāju?
Janitor: Ir jau ieslēgts. Mums degvielas nav.

J: What do you need?
PCV: Could you unlock this door?
J: Do you need anything else?
PCV: Would it be possible to turn on the heat?
J: It's already on. We have no fuel.

vajadzīgs -- necessary
atslēgt -- unlock
ieslēgt -- to turn on
sildītāju -- heater
degvielas, degviela -- fuel

Atslēgt and ieslēgt are both derived from the I. conjugation verb slēgt "to lock". Please note the following prefixes and their meanings:

aiz- 1. behind, 2. away/off, 3. up to some point, 4. [make] shut/stop
uz- 1. on/upon, 2. up, 3. toward
iz- 1. out, 2. very, thoroughly, completely
no- 1. off, 2. down, 3. up to, 4. completely, 5. a good while
ie- 1. in, 2. somewhat, 3. suddenly, 4. once (only)
pie- 1. to, at, near, 2. full
pa- 1. under, 2. a little/a while, 3. do once/finish, 4. be able to
pār- 1. over/across, 2. again, 3. back, 4. in half, 5. overmatch, 6. [do] too much
ap- 1. around, 2. all (over)
at- 1. hither/here, 2. away/off, 3. back/in return, 4. open, loose
sa- 1. together, 2. completely, 3. altogether, 4. accomplish, 5. be able to, 6. too much, 7. [in]to pieces

COMPETENCY: To respond to questions about salary
SITUATION: At lunch during workday

Teacher: Vai jūs pelnat daudz naudu šeit?
PCV: Nu, nē. Man dod stipendiju ēdienam un ikdienas vajadzībām.
T: Kāpēc jūs nepalikāt Amerikā, lai pelnītu naudu?
PCV: Es gribēju aizbraukt uz citu vietu pastāstīt par Ameriku un iemācīties par jūsu valsti.

T: Do you earn a lot of money here?
PCV: Well, no. I'm given an allowance for food and necessities.
T: Why didn't you stay in America to earn money?
PCV: I wanted to go to another place to tell about America and learn about your country.

naudu, nauda -- money
pelnat, pelnīt -- to earn
dod, dot -- to give
stipendija -- allowance
ikdienas -- every day
nepalikāt, nepalikt -- not to stay
pelnītu -- to earn
pastāstīt -- to tell

There are several more examples of the preposition being used with a certain case in this dialogue, so following please find a list of which prepositions are used with which cases:

genitive: aiz "behind", bez "without", no "down/off" / "from", pēc "after", pie "at/near", pirms "before", virs "above", zem "below"

dative: līdz "until"

accusative: ap "around", ar "with", caur "through", gar "along", par "about/for", pret "towards/against", starp "between", pa "on/along/during"

gen./acc.: uz a. "on/upon", b. "to"

COMPETENCY: To take an appointment
SITUATION: Classroom

PCV: Vai mēs nevarētu sarunāt laiku satikties, lai pārrunātu jūsu dēla studijas?
Parent: Es varētu pie jums atnākt rīt pēc stundām.
PCV: Labi, tad norunāts! Būšu brīvs ap četriem.
Parent: Istenībā, puspiecos būtu labāk.
PCV: Tad uz redzēšanos.

PCV: Couldn't we set up a time to meet to discuss your son's studies?
Parent: I can come to you tomorrow after classes.
PCV: Good, then it's decided!
Parent: Actually, four-thirty would be better.
PCV: Then until we meet.

sarunāt -- to arrange
satikties -- to meet
pārrunātu, pārrunāt -- to discuss
studijas, studija -- studies
rīt -- tomorrow
stundām, stunda -- classes
norunāts -- decided
brīvs -- free
īstenībā -- actually


The word īstenībā is often pronounced so that it sounds like īsnībā.

COMPETENCY: To ask about extracurricular activities
SITUATION: Classroom after studies are over

PCV: Kādās nodarbībās bērni piedalās pēc skolas?
HCN: Daudzi zēni piedalās sporta klubos un pēc skolas iet uz treniņiem.
PCV: Un meitenes?
HCN: Meitenes nodarbojās visādi. Daudzas palīdz mātēm ar pārtikas iegādi. Citas mācās šūt un adīt, jo veikalā nav drēbju!

PCV: What kind of activities do the children participate in after school?
HCN: Many boys are in sports clubs and after school go to practices.
PCV: And the girls?
HCN: Girls do many things. Many go home to help their mothers with acquisition of food. Others learn how to sew and knit, because there are no clothes in the stores!

nodarbības -- activities
piedalās -- participate
skolas -- school
zēni -- boys
sporta, sports -- sports
klubos, klubi -- clubs
treniņiem, treniņš -- practice
meitenes -- girls
daudzām -- many of them
jāiet -- have to go
palīdzēt -- to help
pārtikas -- food
iegādi -- acquisition
šūt -- to sew
adīt -- to knit
veikalā, veikals -- store
drēbju, drēbes -- clothes

Pronouns are often used in the place of nouns: tas "that one", šis "this one". Other words such as daudzas, citas, are also used to replace the person nouns.

There are many international words in use in the Latvian language. Examples from this dialogue include club, training, and sports.

Ai, dzīvīte, ai, dzīvīte! -- Ah, life, ah, life!
Pie dzīvītes vajadzēja -- For life you needed
Čaklu roku, vieglu kāju, -- Quick hands, light feet,
Laba, gudra padomiņa. -- Good, wise advice.

COMPETENCY: To ask and respond to questions of physical and mental health
SITUATION: At the workplace

PCV: Tu izskaties bāls. Kas tev kaiš?
HCN: Es nejūtos labi.
PCV: Vai tev galva sāp?
HCN: Nē, man galva reibst un ar vēderu viss nav kārtībā.
PCV: Labāk apsēdies.

PCV: You look pale. What's wrong?
HCN: I don't feel well.
PCV: Does your head hurt?
HCN: No, I'm dizzy and something's not right with my stomach.
PCV: Better sit down.

izskaties -- to look
bāls -- pale
galva -- head
sāp -- hurts
reibst -- to be dizzy
vēderu -- stomach
kārtībā -- in order
apsēdies -- sit down

Notice the reversed order and meaning in the phrase ar vēderu viss nav kārtībā.

The dative construction (man galva reibst) is used whenever the subject experiences a sensation: pain, thirst, hunger, etc, also liking and disliking.

COMPETENCY: To ask for the availability of medicines

PCV: Vai jums būtu kaut kas pret caureju?
Pharmacist: Jā. Šīs varbūt līdzēs.
PCV: Kāda ir doze?
Pharmacist: Divas tabletes trīs reizes dienā. Jums izsniegšu divdesmit.

PCV: Vai jums būtu kaut kas pret caureju?
Pharmacist: Yes. Maybe this will help.
PCV: Kāda ir doze?
Pharmacist: 2 tablets 3 times a day. I will give you 20.

caureja -- diarrhea
līdzēt -- to help
tabletes -- tablets
doze -- dose
diena -- day
izsniegt -- to hand out

The pharmacy in Latvian is called an aptieka.

COMPETENCY: To explain medical problem
SITUATION: Doctor's office

PCV: Man ļoti sāp vēders.
Doctor: Vai jums sāp kreisā jeb labā pusē?
PCV: Man sāp kreisā pusē.
Doctor: Vai jums ir grūti elpot?
PCV: Jā.
Doctor: Vai jums nāk vēmiens?
PCV: Ne.
Doctor: Ir iespējams, ka jums būs jāizoperē aklo zārnu.

PCV: My stomach hurts very much.
D: Does it hurt on the left or right side?
PCV: It hurts on the left.
D: Are you having a hard time breathing?
PCV: Yes.
D: Are you vomiting?
PCV: No.
D: It is possible that we will have to take out your appendix.

pusē -- side
elpot -- to breathe
nākt vēmiens -- to vomit
izoperēt -- to operate (take out)
akla zarna -- appendix


from Easy Way to Latvian

Ārsts or dakteris (the latter used in titles only) "physician/doctor", māsiņa or žēlsirdīgā māsiņa "nurse", zobārsts "dentist" and bērnu ārsts "pediatrician". To get to one, you must pieteikt vizīti "make an appointment".

COMPETENCY: To request medical help in emergency
SITUATION: On the street

PCV: Lūdzu palīdziet man!
Passerby: Kas ir?
PCV: Man vajag ātro palīdzību.
Passerby: Kas notikās?
PCV: Es salauzu kāju.
Passerby: Tūlīt saukšu atro palīdzību!

PCV: Please help me!
P: What is it?
PCV: I need an ambulance.
P: What happened?
PCV: I broke my leg.
P: I will call the ambulance right away!

palīdzēt -- to help
ātro palīdzību -- ambulance
salauzt -- to break
kāja -- leg

Salauzt means "to break something in half", nolauzt "to break something off".

Bēdu manu, lielu bēdu, -- My sorrow is a great sorrow,
Es par bēdu nebēdāj'. -- But I am not sad.
Liku bedu zem akmeņa, -- I put my sorrow underneath a stone,
Pāri gāju dziedādama. -- And singing walked over it.

COMPETENCY: To describe educational background
SITUATION: Dinner party

HC: Esmu beidzis tehnikumu. Kāda ir jūsu izglītība?
PCV: Es ieguvu bacalaura grādu ekonomikā no Northwestern universitātes Čikagā, bet tad maģistra grādu biznesa laukā.
HC: Es gribēju studēt, bet neizturēju eksāmenus.
PCV: Ko jūs gribējāt studēt?
HC: Es gribēju būt par inžinieru, tā kā mans onkulis.

HC: I graduated from technical school. What kind of education do you have?
PCV: I got an undergraduate degree in economics from Northwestern University in Chicago, but then a Master's in the field of business.
HC: I wanted to study, but I didn't pass the exams.
PCV: What did you want to study?
HC: I wanted to be an engineer like my uncle.

beidzis -- finished (graduated)
tehnikums -- technical school
izglītība -- education
iegūt -- received
bacalaura grads -- undergraduate degree
ekonomika -- economics
universitāte -- university
maģistra grads -- master's degree
bizness -- business
lauks -- field
inženiers -- engineer
onkulis -- uncle

Beidzis is an example of a past participle. Note the ending -is. Feminine would be beigusi. The sound change between dz and g occurs to offset the vowel u.

COMPETENCY: To describe job and inquire about job
SITUATION: Official social gathering

Government official: Jūs pasniedzat angļu valodu trešajā vidusskolā?
PCV: Jā, vidusskolā strādāšu divus gadus. Kāds ir jūsu darbs?
GO: Esmu tirdzniecības ministra trešais sekretārs.
PCV: Par ko jūs esat atbildīgs?
GO: Pārbaudu kuģniecību mūsu ostās.

GO: You will teach English at the third high school?
PCV: Yes, I will work at the high school for two years. What kind of work do you do?
GO: I am the trade minister's third secretary.
PCV: What are you responsible for?
GO: I oversee the shipping in our ports.

pasniegt -- teaching (giving)
strādāt -- to work
darbs -- job, work
tirdzniecības -- trade
ministra -- minister
trešais -- third
sekretārs -- undersecretary
atbildīgs -- responsible
pārbaudu -- oversee
kuģniecību -- shipping
mūsu -- our

Note that the word pasniegt means both to hand something to someone and to teach. Profesors pasniedz lekcijas. "The professor gives lectures." Pasniedz man to zīmuli. "Pass me that pencil."

COMPETENCY: To introduce self and others
SITUATION: Staff meeting. PCV is School Director, Bērziņa kungs.

Counterpart: Bērziņa kungs, es gribētu jūs iepazīstināt ar Amerikas Miera korpusa brīvprātīgo darbinieku Hariju Smitu. Harij, skolas direktors Bērziņa kungs.
Director B: Ļoti patīkami iepazīties.
PCV: Priecājos.

Counterpart: Mr. Berzins, I would like to introduce you to the American Peace Corps Volunteer, Harry Smith. Harry, the director of the school, Mr. Berzins.
Director Berzins: Very nice to meet you.
PCV: I'm glad to meet you.


kungs -- Mr.
iepazīstināt -- to introduce
Miera korpuss -- Peace Corps
brīvprātīgais -- volunteer
darbinieku -- worker
skola -- school
direktors -- director
ļoti -- very
patīkami -- pleasant
iepazīties -- to meet
priecāties -- to be glad

This dialogue contains a seemingly complicated sentence, but actually this is the way Latvian is spoken, especially in the sort of polite situation we find here. Also, the second and third sentence can be interchanged.

Kungs and kundze (Mrs.) are always placed behind the family name.

Aiz ko mani kungi sūti -- For what did my lords send me
Garajā celiņā? -- On such a long trip?
Zināj' mani gudru vīru, -- They know I am a wise man,
Redz barotu kumeliņu. -- and see a well-fed horse.


Pronouns in Latvian:

Nominative, Dative

es, man -- I, for me
tu, tev -- you, for you
viņš, viņam -- he, for him
viņa, viņai -- she, for her


mēs, mums -- we, for us
jūs, jums -- you, for you
viņi, viņiem -- they, for them
viņas, viņām -- they, for them

Latvian Nouns:

As we have said, Latvian is a highly inflected language. That means that the changes need to indicate what the subject is, where the ownership lies, to who something is given, who receives an action, or where something is happening are shown within the noun, pronoun, adjective or numeral, marked by distinctive endings.

Latvian nouns have two genders, the masculine and the feminine. Masculine nouns in the nominative singular case usually end in -s, -š, or -is (draugs "friend", ceļš "road", brālis "brother") and feminine nouns in -a and -e (sieva "wife", māte "mother"). About fifty, many often-used, nouns of the feminine gender end in -s.

Latvian nouns are divided into six groups called declensions, three masculine and three feminine. These are determined by declensional stem vowels and gender-indicating endings. The nouns have seven cases marked by distinctive endings and answering to definite questions; however, in this program we'll study only five.

Nominative: Kas? -- "who" or "what?" (subject)
Genitive: Kā? -- "whose" or "of what?"
Dative: Kam? -- "to whom" or "for whom?" (indir. obj.)
Accusative: Ko? -- "who" or "what?" (direct object)
(Instrumental: Ar ko? -- "with whom" or "with what?")
Locative: Kur? -- "where" or "when?"
(Vocative: -- Exclamation only)

Declension of Nouns

Masculine singular

a-stem, a-stem, i-stem, u-stem

Nom. (kas?) -- tēvs, ceļš, brālis, medus
Gen. (kā?) -- tēva, ceļa, brāļa, medus
Dat. (kam?) -- tēvam, ceļam, brālim, medum
Acc. (ko?) -- tēvu, ceļu, brāli, medu
Loc. (kur?) -- tēvā, ceļā, brālī, medū

Masculine plural

a-stem, a-stem, i-stem, u-stem

Nom. (kas?) -- tēvi, ceļi, brāļi, medi*
Gen. (kā?) -- tēvu, ceļu, brāļu, medu
Dat. (kam?) -- tēviem, ceļiem, brāļiem, mediem
Acc. (ko?) -- tēvus, ceļus, brāļus, medus
Loc. (kur?) -- tēvos, ceļos, brāļos, medos

* Most u-stem nouns are used in the singular case only. Should you need to use the plural, notice that it is conjugated according to a-stem rules.

Feminine singular

a-stem, e-stem, i-stem

Nom. (kas?) -- māsa, māte, act/telts
Gen. (kā?) -- māsas, mātes, acs/telts
Dat. (kam?) -- māsai, mātei, acij/teltij
Acc. (ko?) -- māsu, māti, aci/telti
Loc. (kur?) -- māsā, mātē, acī/teltī

Feminine plural

a-stem, e-stem, i-stem

Nom. (kas?) -- māsas, mātes, acis/teltis
Gen. (kā?) -- māsu, māšu, acu/telšu
Dat. (kam?) -- māsām, mātēm, acīm/teltīm
Acc. (ko?) -- māsas, mātes, acis/teltis
Loc. (kur?) -- māsās, mātēs, acīs/teltīs

Verb Conjugations

I. Conjugation:
All verbs which have one-syllable infinitives belong to the I. conjugation (prefixes such as ap-, pie-, uz- etc. are not counted). The infinitives for these examples are ēst "to eat" and prast "to know how."


es ēdu/protu
tu ēd/proti
viņš ēd/prot
mēs ēdam/protam
jūs ēdat/protat


es ēdu/pratu
tu ēdi/prati
viņš ēda/prata
mēs ēdām/pratām
jūs ēdāt/pratāt


es ēdīšu/pratīšu
tu ēdīsi/pratīsi
viņš ēdīs/pratīs
mēs ēdīsim/pratīsim
jūs ēdīsit/pratīsit

All I. conjugation verbs follow this pattern of endings. Notice how the base used throughout the tense is found in the 3rd person (viņš) form - ēd/prot in the present, ēd/prat in the past and ēdī-/pratī- in the future tense. It is to the bases that you add the variable endings.

II. Conjugation:
This is the most systematic one of the three conjugations. Study the following verbs runāt "to speak" and dzīvot "to live."

Please notice that a long stem vowel plus -js is inserted between the verb base and the conjugational endings in the present and past tenses (-o- is a diphthong, pronounced uo, and therefore has the same length as a long vowel). The -j- is inserted to keep the conjugational ending from blending with the long stem vowel, which would be difficult to pronounce. The other long stem vowels in this conjugation are -ē- as in meklēt "to look for, search", -ī- as in medīt "to hunt" and -ū- as in dabūt "to get." The bases stay the same in all tenses.


es runāju/dzīvoju
tu runā/dzīvo
viņš runā/dzīvo
mēs runājam/dzīvojam
jūs runājat/dzīvojat


es runāju/dzīvoju
tu runāji/dzīvoji
viņš runāja/dzīvoja
mēs runājām/dzīvojām
jūs runājāt/dzīvojāt


es runāšu/dzīvošu
tu runāsi/dzīvosi
viņš runās/dzīvos
mēs runāsim/dzīvosim
jūs runāsit/dzīvosit

III. Conjugation:
This is also a systematic conjugation. Study the following verbs, gribēt "to want" and lasīt "to read." In the present tense the endings are added directly to the verb bases. In the past tense the long stem vowel, seen already in the infinitive, plus the letter -j-, are inserted between the base and the endings. The future tense has no need for the -j-, since the long stem vowel is followed by a consonant.


es gribu/lasu
tu gribi/lasi
viņš grib/lasa
mēs gribam/lasā
jūs gribat/lasāt

es gribēju/lasīju
tu gribēji/lasīji
viņš gribēja/lasīja
mēs gribējām/lasījām
jūs gribējāt/lasījat


es gribēšu/lasīšu
tu gribēsi/lasīsi
viņš gribēs/lasīs
mēs gribēsim/lasīsim
jūs gribēsit/lasīsit

As you study and compare the three conjugations, remember that only the present tense contains ending variations. In the past and future tenses, the same sets of endings are used for all verbs. They, and the two sets of present tense endings, are given in the following chart. (Exceptions are "reflexive" verbs.)


Set A, Set B

1. sing. -u, -u
2. sing. --/-i, -i
3. --, -a
1. pl. -am, -ām
2. pl. -at, -āt


1. sing. -u
2. sing. -i
3. -a
1. pl. -ām
2. pl. -āt


1. sing. -šu
2. sing. -si
3. -s
1. pl. -sim
2. pl. -sit

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