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LATVIA
Language

Cities in LATVIA

Riga

Language

The Latvian language, like Lithuanian, belongs to the Baltic branch of the Indo-European language family. Latvian is written in Latin letters and is strongly influenced by the German language. Latvian is written in Latin letters and is strongly influenced by the German language. The oldest examples of Latvian are found in catechisms published in 1585. Due to the many ethnic groups (especially Russians), only about half of all Latvians speak the Latvian language. On the other hand, most ethnic Latvians speak Russian and often German in addition to Latvian.

The fact that Latvian belongs to the same language family as Lithuanian and that it differs significantly from Estonian, which belongs to another language family, is demonstrated by the following list of numerical words:

EstLatvianLithuanian
1üksviensvienas
2kaksdividu
3kolmtristrys
4nelicetriketuri
5viispiecipenki
6kuussešišeši
7seitseseptiniseptyni
8kaheksaastoniastuoni
9üheksadevinidevyni
10kümmedesmitdešimt

The oldest examples of Latvian can be found in catechisms published in 1585. Because of the many ethnic groups (especially Russians), only about half of all Latvians speak the Latvian language. On the other hand, most ethnic Latvians speak Russian and often German in addition to Latvian.


Sources

Baister, S. / Latvia
Bradt Publications

Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania : country studies
Federal Research Division, Library of Congress,

Williams, N. / Estonia, Latvia & Lithuania
Lonely Planet

CIA - World Factbook

BBC - Country Profiles

Last updated May 2024
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