Latvian Articles

Articles in English

English has two types of articles: The different meanings/functions of these two types of articles are evident from the two example sentences below:

  1. I saw the car.
  2. I saw a car.
The first sentence assumes that the hearer knows which car we are talking about: either it's already been mentioned, or you're pointing to it. The second sentence makes absolutely no assumptions about the car. The first case is definite; the second instance is indefinite.

No Articles in Latvian!

However, Latvian has no articles whatsoever. Either of the sentences above could be translated as:

Es redzēju mašīnu.

This makes your life much easier. You can forget about articles altogether.

Note: "Articles" are sometimes called "determiners".

Gotta have it!

What if you're absolutely itching to be definite about some noun? In that case you can use demonstrative adjectives like šis (or šitas) meaning 'this', or tas meaning 'that'.

Example: Es nenopirku šito mašīnu; es nopirku to mašīnu. 'I didn't buy this car; I bought that car.'

Demonstrative Adjectives

The demonstrative adjectives are declined as follows:

case 'this' masculine 'that' masculine 'this' feminine 'that' feminine
singular nominative šis, šitas tas šī, šitā
genitive šā, šī, šitā šās, šitās tās
dative šim, šitam tam šai, šitai tai
accusative šo, šito to šo, šito to
locative šajā, šinī, šai tajā, tanī, tai šajā, šinī, šai tajā, tanī, tai
vocative šis, šitas! tas! šī, šitā! tā!
plural nominative šie, šitie tie šās, šīs, šitās tās
genitive šo, šito to šo, šito to
dative šiem, šitiem tiem šām, šitām tām
accusative šos, šitos tos šīs, šitās tās
locative šajos, šinīs, šais tajos, tanīs, tais šajās, šinīs, šais tajās, tanīs, tais
vocative šie, šitie! tie! šās, šīs, šitās! tās!

The Role of Adjectives

Finally, note that if the noun is modified by an adjective, the adjective comes in both definite and indefinite forms. Thus, in a way, the adjective takes over this function of articles. For more information on this, see the section on Definite vs. Indefinite Adjectives.

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This page created and maintained by
A. Steinbergs

Last revised September 17, 2008