|Jānis||Labvakar, Māri!||Good evening, Māris.|
|Jānis||Skaists vakars, vai nē?||Beautiful evening, isn't it?|
|Māris||Jā, bet drusciņ vēss un vējains. Kā tev iet?||Yes, but a little cool and windy. How are you?|
|Jānis||Slikti. Naktī man sāpēja auss. Tagad auss vairs nesāp, bet man galva sāp.||Bad. (Last) night my ear hurt. Now my ear doesn't hurt any more, but my head hurts.|
|Māris||Žēl. Vai tev ir labs ārsts?||Pity. Do you have a good doctor?|
|Jānis||Man nav ārsta. Man nevajag — man ir dators! Visu informāciju varu dabūt no interneta.||I don't have a doctor. I don't need (one) — I have a computer! All the information (I need) I can get from the internet.|
|Māris||Man datora nav, diemžēl.
Ak vai, man ir kaut kas acī!
|I don't have a computer, unfortunately.
Oh no, I have something in my eye!
|Jānis helps Māris get the speck of dust out of his eye.|
|Māris||Jā, paldies!||Yes, thanks.|
|Jānis||Nu, labi. Eju. Uzredzēšanos!||Well, good. I'm going. See you later.|
|Māris||Uzredzēšanos!||See you later.|
To hear this conversation: click here → Conversation 12
|Latvian word||English translation||Latvian word||English translation|
|Click on word to hear its pronunciation||Click on word to hear its pronunciation|
|acs (noun, fem., decl.cl.6)||'eye'||labvakar (greeting; stress on 2nd syllable)||'good evening'|
|ak vai (exclamatory phrase)||'oh my, oh dear, oh no!'||nakts (noun, fem., decl.cl.6)||'night'|
|ārsts (noun, masc.)||'doctor (male)'||nav (verb, negative 3rd person of būt "to be")||'isn't/aren't'|
|auss (noun, fem. decl.cl.6)||'ear'||nu (exclamation)||'well, so'|
|dabūt (verb, infin. conj.cl. 2)||'to get'||sāpēt (verb, infin. conj.cl. 3(b))||'to hurt, be in pain'|
|dators (noun, masc., pronounced with long o sound)||'computer'||slikti (adverb)||'badly, poorly'|
|diemžēl (adverb, pronounced diemžē*l)||'unfortunately'||uzredzēšanos (interjectional phrase; stress on 2nd syllable)||'see you later, so long, au revoir'|
|drusciņ (adverb)||'a little bit'||vairs (adverb)||'no more, any more, no longer'|
|galva (noun, fem.)||'head'||vajadzēt (verb, infin. conj.cl. 3(b))||'to need, require'|
|informācija (noun, fem.)||'information'||vakars (noun, masc.)||'evening'|
|internets (noun, masc.)||'internet'||varēt (verb, infin. conj.cl. 3(b))||'to be able; can'|
|kaut kas (pronoun, indef.)||'something'||vējains (adjective)||'windy'|
|labāk (adverb, compar.)||'better'||vēss (adjective, pronounced vē*ss)||'cool'|
|labs (adjective)||'good'||žēl (adverb, pronounced žē*l)||'pitifully, sorrowfully'|
(b) kaut kas: although this pronoun is spelled as two separate words, it essentially acts as a single, indefinite pronoun. It is declined just like the pronoun kas "what, who". Thus, the genitive is kaut kā "in some way", the dative is kaut kam "to someone, for something", the accusative is kaut ko "something". There isn't really a locative form; instead one says kaut kur "somewhere", and, of course, there is no vocative.
(c) uzredzēšanos: is a combination of the preposition uz "on" and the reflexive partiple redzēšanos "seeing-each-other". Since it is a type of (farewell) greeting, it is always stressed on the second syllable. This way of saying "see you later" is actually a direct word-for-word translation (called a calque) of the German expression auf Wiedersehen, which literally means "on again-seeing". The French expression au revoir means exactly the same thing as well.
|Latvian letter||English example words (closest equivalent is underlined)||Latvian example word (word links to audio track)|
|ž||pleasure, measure, leisure, menage||žurka 'rat'|
As you can see from the above examples, this sound is produced exactly the same way as the middle consonant in words like pleasure and measure.
Although the word nav "is not/are not" is written with a letter v at the end, this final consonant is not pronounced like a [v], but rather like a [w] sound in a diphthong. Thus, nav sounds something like English mouse or out (but without a final "s" or "t"), of course.
The noun vakars "evening" is spelled with a single letter k, but it is pronounced as a long consonant sound. As you may remember from Lesson 5, this is a feature of certain Latvian consonant sounds. For example, the middle consonant in each of the following words is also pronounced long:
paka 'package', Rita 'Rita', lasa 'reads', jaka 'jacket', esi 'you are', kaķis 'cat'
To review the section on consonant length, please click here → Consonant Length.
Up until now, if a noun ended in an -s in the nominative singular, that meant that it was masculine. However, almost all of the nouns in class 6 are feminine (there is one exception, which you will learn in a later lesson). Note, also, that these are feminine -i- stem nouns, meaning that many of the endings contain the vowel -i-. Here is a table which shows how these nouns are declined:
|Class 6 nouns|
In general, this class follows the same overall pattern of endings as the other feminine nouns with one major exception: the genitive ending is identical to the nominative ending. Thus, if you wanted to say "song of the night" (i.e. "night's song"), it would be nakts dziesma, since nakts "night" has an -s ending in the genitive, as well as in the nominative.
|Dative noun or pronoun||Verb
(in 3rd person)
|Nominative noun||More literal translation||Freer translation|
|Robertam||sāp||galva||To Robert is hurting (the) head||Robert's head hurts|
|Tev||sāpēja||acs||To you was hurting (the) eye||Your eye was hurting|
|Kaķim||sāp||auss||To (the) cat is hurting (the) ear||The cat's ear hurts|
You can see from these examples that the verb sāpēt typically refers to pain in a particular part of the body. The painful body part is the subject of the verb and, therefore, is in the nominative case. The person (or, for that matter, the animal!) who is suffering the pain is in the dative case, and the verb is in the third person. If you want to say that you are (generally) in pain, then you merely omit to mention any body part. In other words, Man sāp means "I'm in pain".
The verb vajadzēt "to need" works a little differently. Here are a few examples:
|Dative noun or pronoun||Verb (in 3rd person)||Accusative construction||More literal translation||Freer translation|
|Man||vajag||vārdnīcu||For me is required (a) dictionary||I need a dictionary|
|Ritai||vajadzēja||mūsu adresi||For Rita was required our address||Rita needed our address|
This verb also is used in the third person, and, similarly, the individual who requires the item occurs in the dative case. However, the item required is in the accusative (i.e. direct object) case. This results in a sentence which has no subject case (i.e. nominative) form!
(Please note: some grammars place the item required in the genitive case. In other words "I need a dictionary" would be translated as "Man vajag vārdnīcas". However, this usage seems to be changing. While the genitive case was used in these constructions at one time, nowadays the accusative is much more common. Thus, you could certainly use the genitive case in these constructions, but you would probably sound rather old-fashioned or overly formal.)
Another notable feature of the verb vajadzēt is that the verb stem ends in a g in the present tense. In all other tenses the verb stem ends in dz. Please make a note of this.
|Irregular verb būt "to be"|
|number||person||present tense||past tense|
(Note: the present tense root is normally pronounced with a open e, except for the second person singular which has a close e. Thus, you would say e*smu "I am", e*sam "we are", e*sat "you (pl.) are", but esi "you (sg.) are".)
In fact, the only truly exceptional form of būt (i.e. the one which does NOT use the verb stem es-) is the third person present tense form; ir "is, are".
|Irregular verb būt "to be" in the negative|
|number||person||present tense||past tense|
(Note: the forms which are spelled with the two letters e in a row are pronounced like a long vowel. Thus, neesmu "I'm not" is actually pronounced nē*smu. Similarly, neesi "you (sg.) are" is pronounced nēsi, neesam "we aren't" is pronounced nē*sam, and neesat "you (pl.) aren't" is pronounced nē*sat.)
It is evident that the third person present tense form of būt is extremely irregular in both its positive (ir) and its negative form (nav).
|Dative noun or pronoun||Verb (in 3rd person)||Nominative noun||Translation|
|Man||ir||zīmulis||I have a pencil|
|Kaķim||ir||piens||The cat has milk|
|Ritai||bija||vārdnīca||Rita had a dictionary|
However, when these types of sentences occur in the negative, the object "owned" occurs in the genitive case:
|Dative noun or pronoun||Negative verb (in 3rd person)||Genitive noun||Translation|
|Man||nav||zīmuļa||I don't have a pencil|
|Kaķim||nav||piena||The cat doesn't have any milk|
|Ritai||nebija||vārdnīcas||Rita didn't have a dictionary|
You could think of it as if these kinds of negative sentences imply that there is a "lack of" something. In other words, mentally rephrase a sentence like "The cat doesn't have any milk" into "For the cat, there is a lack of milk". This might remind you that the item lacking must occur in the genitive case.
Please translate the following sentences into Latvian:
Ready for Lesson 13? Please click here → Latvian Language Lesson 13