Release the Latvian, part 2! (Latvian Self-Taught for English Speaking People)

Monday, December 06, 2010 has a textbook here for Latvian that is actually not too bad. The reason why I use that phrasing is that the old texts on are often less than useful for learning languages, given how both the target language and English have changed over time. Most German readers are written entirely in Fraktur for example, and old spelling conventions (tun = thun, Tür = Thür, komplizieren = komplicieren, etc.) on top of that make it even more confusing for the student. Such books can be used if a native speaker were to go through them and iron out the archaisms.

Now, as for why the Latvian textbook is so good: it turns out that the author was born in 1934. That would place the publication of the book sometime in the 1950s or 1960s I suppose, which one would assume would still be in copyright but since has uploaded it that's their concern. In the meantime I've typed up half of the book, which I'll upload now as it's divided into two books within a single volume. So here it is:

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Greetings and Polite Expressions

Good morning -- labrīt
Good day -- labdien
Good evening -- labvakar
Good night -- ar labunakti
Good bye -- uz redzēšanos
How do you do? -- kā jums iet? (polite)
Very well, thank you. -- labi, paldies
I am very well -- man iet labi
How is your father? -- Kā iet jūsu tēvam?
How is your mother? -- Kā iet jūsu mātei?
How is your brother? -- Kā iet jūsu bralim?
How is your sister? -- Kā iet jūsu māsai?
Pretty well -- diezgan labi
He (she) is not well -- viņš (viņa) nejūtas labi
Pleased to meet you -- patīkami satikties
Thank you -- paldies
I am sorry -- es atvainojos
You are very kind -- jūs esiet ļoti laipns (masc.) / laipna (femin.)
I must go -- man ir jāiet
What a pity -- ļoti žēl
You are in a great hurry -- jūs ļoti steidzaties
I cannot stay -- es nevaru palikt
I am going now -- es tagad eju
It is time to go -- laiks iet
I am glad to see you -- patīkami jūs redzēt
I must apologize -- man jāatvainojās
Could you -- vai jūs varētu
It is nothing -- tas nekas
Don't apologize -- neatvainojaties
Excuse me, pardon me -- piedošanu
I apologize -- es atvainojos
Please -- lūdzu
May I ask? -- vai varētu paprasīt
Allow me -- atļaujiet man
Come in -- nākiet iekšā
Yes, Mr. Ozols -- jā, Ozola kungs
No, Mrs. Ozols -- nē, Ozola kundze

Useful and Necessary Expressions

I love you -- es tevi mīlu
You don't love me -- tu mani nemīli
He (she) loves me -- viņš (viņa) mani mīl
No, go away -- nē, ej projām
Send me a letter -- atsūti man vēstuli
Bring me -- atnesiet man
Give me -- iedodiet man
Tell me -- pasakiet man
Will you tell me? -- Vai jūs pateiksiet man?
Tell him -- pasakiet viņam
Do you speak Latvian? -- Vai jūs runājat latviski?
I speak a little Latvian -- es runāju mazliet latviski
I don't speak Latvian -- es nerunāju latviski
I understand -- es saprotu
Do you understand? -- Vai jūs saprotiet?
Is there anyone here who speaks English? -- Vai te ir kāds, kas saprot angliski?
I understand everything -- es saprotu visu
You speak too fast -- jūs runājiet par ātru
Do not speak so fast, please -- lūdzu nerunājiet tik ātri
Speak slower -- runājiet lēnāk
I don't understand you -- es jūs nesaprotu
He is not here -- viņš te nav
It is not true -- tā nav patiesība
It is so -- tā ir
It is not so -- tā nav
Who was it? -- Kas ta bija?
Who is it? -- Kurš tur ir?
What it it? -- Kas tas ir?
Where is it? -- Kur tas ir?
Where is she? -- Kur viņa ir?
Where are you? -- Kur jūs esiet?
Where were you? -- Kur jūs bijat?
Let it be -- lai paliek
What time is it? -- Cik pulkstens?
I am American -- es esmu amerikānis
I am not Latvian -- es neesmu latvietis
Can it be? -- Vai tas var būt?
That cannot be -- tas nevar būt
I have nothing -- man nekan nav
I don't have it -- man tas nav
He doesn't have it -- viņam tas nav
What do you have? -- kas jums ir?
let me have it -- iedodiet man to
Have you heard -- vai jūs esat dzirdējuši
I haven't heard it -- to nedzirdēju
Hear! -- paklausaties
Give me -- iedodiet man
I will give it to you -- es to jums iedošu
What did you say? -- Ko jūs teicat?
I said nothing -- es neteicu neko
You are wrong -- jums nav taisnība
I say no -- es naku nē
You are right -- jums taisnība
I am certain of it -- es esmu drošs par to
What do you mean? -- Ko jūs domājiet?
Why do you ask? -- Kāpēc jūs prasiet?
Tell me -- pasakiet man
I know it -- to es zinu
Did you say it? -- Vai jūs to teicat?
I will say nothing -- es neko neteikšu
I believe him -- es ticu viņam
What is he doing? -- Ko viņš dara?
What for? -- Priekš kā?
Why are you silent? Kāpēc jūs klusējat?
Stop! -- Stāt!
Be quiet! -- Klusu!
Come here! -- Atnākiet šeit!
Go away! -- Ejiet prom!
Come back! -- Nākiet atpakaļ!
Sit down! -- Apsēžaties!
Wait for me! -- Pagaidiet mani!
Hurry up! -- Pasteidzaties!
Call him! -- Pasauciet viņu!
Continue! -- Turpiniet!
Speak! -- Runājiet!
Look at me! -- Paskataties uz mani!
Speak to me! -- Parunājiet ar mani!

Teenage conversation

Hi, howdy -- hai, sveiks
Let's be merry and marry -- priecāsimies un precēsimies
Do you love me? -- Vai tu mani mīli?
Do you have a car? -- Vai tev ir mašīna?
No, I have money -- nē, man ir nauda
O.K., kiss me! -- Okei, dod buču!
No, buddy boy, scoot! -- Nē, čalīt, vācies!
Tough, I'm cutting out. -- Žēl, es laižos lapās. (lit.: I'm heading for the bushes)
Don't be nuts. -- Nepūt pīlītes. (lit.: don't blow little ducks)
let's go dance -- iesim dejot
To be or not to be -- būt vai nebūt
Substitute other nouns in these questions. Learn the names of objects by pointing:

Q: Kā Jūs sauc? -- What is your name (lit.: what are you called?)
A: Mans vārds ir... -- My name is...

Q: Kur Jūs dzīvojiet? -- Where do you live?
A: Es dzīvoju... -- I live in...

Q: Vai Jums patīk kīno? -- Do you like the movies?
A: Jā, bet man teātris patīk labāk. -- Yes, but I like live theatre better.

Q: Kas tas ir? -- What is that?
A: Tas ir galds. -- That is a table.

Q: Un kas tas ir? -- And what is that?
A: Tas ir krēsls. -- That is a chair, etc.

Q: Kur ir... -- Where is...
mans mētelis? -- my coat?
mana cepure? -- my hat?
izeja? -- the exit? etc.


Note: all adjectives are given with the masculine ending -s. If an adjective refers to a feminine noun, its ending becomes -a (in the nominative).


acs -- eye
amerikānis -- an American
angliski -- in English
apgāzt -- to topple over (trans.)
apsveikumi -- greetings
atbēgt -- to flee here
atļaut -- to allow
atnest -- to bring here
atpakaļ -- backwards
atvainoties -- to apologize


ātrs -- fast, quick


bailes -- fear
balts -- white
bauda -- pleasure
bažas -- anxiety
bet -- but
bez -- without
bikses -- pants, trousers
boikots -- boycott
brālis -- brother
buča -- kiss
bundža -- tin can
būt -- to be
bija -- was (3rd person)
būs -- will be (3d person)


cept -- to bake
cepure -- hat
chaoss -- chaos
cholera -- cholera
cik -- how much
cits -- another


čalīts -- guy (inferior connotation)
čeks -- cheque
četri -- four


daba -- nature
dadži -- thistles
darīt -- to do
deguns -- nose
dejot -- to dance
derīgs -- useful
desmit -- ten
diena -- day
divi -- two
domāt -- to think, mean
dot -- to give
drošs -- certain, sure
durvis -- door
dzert -- to drink
dziļš -- deep
dzirdēt -- to hear
dzīvot -- to live


efekts -- an effect
es -- I; es esmu -- I am; es biju -- I was; es būšu -- I will be


filma -- film, movie
forma -- form
foto -- photo
frāzes -- phrases


gaidīt -- to wait
gaļa -- meat
galva -- head
gāzt -- to topple
gramatika -- grammar
gulta -- bed


ģimene -- family
ģenijs -- genius


himna -- hymn
horizonts -- horizon


iela -- street
iet -- to go
ir -- is; also shows possession, i.e.: man ir -- I have; tev ir -- you have; viņam (viņai) ir -- he, she has; mums, jums, viņiem ir -- we, you, they have
izeja -- exit
izruna -- pronunciation
izteicieni -- spoken expressions


jā -- yes
jaka -- jacket
jaunkundze -- Miss
jauki -- pretty, nice
jautājums -- question
jeb -- or
jumts -- roof
jūs -- you (plural, or polite sing.)


kā -- how
kad -- when
kāds -- a certain
kaķis -- cat
kalns -- mountain, hill
karš -- war
kino -- movies
klejot -- to wander
klusēt -- to keep silent
koks -- tree
krēsls -- chair
krist -- to fall
kundze -- Mrs.
kungs -- Mr.
kur -- where
kurš -- who


ķermenis -- body


labi -- well
labs -- good
lai -- let
laiks -- time, weather
laime -- luck
lapins -- kind
laisties -- to flee
lapa -- leaf
latviski -- in Latvian
lauks -- field
ledus -- ice
lēnāk -- slower
lēns -- slow
liels -- great, dig
lietvārdi -- nouns
likdams -- putting
locījums -- grammatical case
logs -- window
lūdzu -- please


ļoti -- very
ļoti labi -- very well


māja -- house
man -- to me; also used in possessive, i.e.: man bija -- I had
mans -- mine
māsa -- sister
mašīna -- automobile, machine
māte -- mother
mati -- hair
mēle -- tongue
mēs -- we
mētelis -- coat
mežs -- forest
mīla -- love
mīlēt -- to love
milzis -- giant
muita -- customs office or duty


nākt -- to come
nakts -- night
nams -- a building
nauda -- money
nē -- no
ne -- (prefix) not, don't
neeju -- I don't, won't go
nekas -- nothing
nepareizs -- wrong
nepūt -- don't blow
nest -- to carry
nevaru -- I cannot
nulle -- zero


ņemt -- to take
ņiprs -- brisk, vigorous


ods -- mosquito
oga -- berry
okei -- O.K.
ozols -- oak


paldies -- thank you
par -- about
pareizs -- right
patīkami -- pleasant
paziņa -- an acquaintance
pele -- mouse
pieklājīgs -- polite
pīle -- duck
pīlīte -- a little duck
pilns -- full
pils -- castle
pļava -- meadow
pliukškēt -- to make a cracking noise
poga -- button
policija -- police
prasīt -- to ask
precēties -- to get married
priecāties -- to enjoy (reflex.)
projām -- away
proza -- prose
puika -- boy
puķe -- flower
pulkstens -- watch, clock; also: cik pulkstens -- what time is it?
pūst -- to blow
putns -- bird
redze -- the sense of sight
redzēt -- to see
ritenis -- wheel, bicycle
rīts -- morning
roka -- hand
runāt -- to speak


sacīt -- to say
saprast -- to understand
saruna -- conversation
satikt -- to meet
saukt -- to call
sestdiena -- Saturday
sēsties -- to sit
silts -- warm
sist -- to hit
skatīties -- to look
starp -- between
stāt -- to stop
stāvēt -- to stand
steigties -- to hurry
sūtīt -- to send


šachs -- chess
šis -- this
šķelmis -- rascal


tā -- so
tad -- then
tagad -- now
tapt -- to become
te -- here
teātris -- theater
teikt -- to say
tēvs -- father
ticēt -- to believe
tīrs -- clean
tu -- you (sing. informal)
tur -- there
turpināt -- to continue


uguns -- fire
un -- and
upe -- river
uz -- on, to
uz redzēšanos -- good-bye (with the idea of meeting again)


vai -- or; indicates a question, i.e.: vai es drīkstētu? -- may I?
vakars -- evening
vajadzīgs -- necessary
vārds -- name
vecs -- old
vēstule -- letter
vidus -- middle
vislabākais -- the best
viss -- all, everything


zeme -- earth, ground
zils -- blue
zināt -- to know
ziņas -- news
zivs -- fish


žēl -- sorry
žigls -- nimble
žurka -- rat

Some examples of grammar

VERBS (1st person only)

Infinitive: iet (to go), runāt (to talk), rakstīt (to write)
Present: eju (I go), runāju (I talk), rakstu (I write)
Past: gāju (I went), runāju (I talked), rakstīju (I wrote)
Future: iešu (I will go), runāšu (I will talk), rakstīšu (I will write)

Adjectives (masc. only)

Positive: balts (white), labs (good)
Comparative: baltāks (whiter), labāks (better)
Superlative: visbaltākais (whitest), vislabākais (best)

NOUNS (examples of declination, sing. only)

Using tēvs (father) for masculine, māja (house) for feminine

Nominative (what?) -- tēvs, māja
Genitive (whose?) -- tēva, mājas
Dative (to whom?) -- tēvam, mājai
Accusative (what?) -- tēvu, māju
Instrumental (with what?) -- ar tēvu, ar māju
Locative (where?) -- tēvā, mājā
Vocative (form of address) -- tēv

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