|Rita||Linda! Kur ir Ilze?||Linda! Where is Ilze?|
|Linda||Es nezinu.||I don't know.|
|Rita||Vai tu redzēji viņu šodien?||Did you see her today?|
|Linda||Jā, no rīta.||Yes, in the morning.|
|Rita||Ko viņa darīja?||What was she doing?|
|Linda||Viņa rakstīja vēstuli.||She was writing a letter.|
|Linda||Mātei.||To (her) mother.|
|Rita||Ak tā. Un pēc tam?||Oh, OK. And after that?|
|Linda||Viņa dziedāja.||She was singing.|
|Rita||Viena pati?||By herself?|
|Linda||Nē, ar mani.||No, with me.|
|Rita||Ar tevi? Vai tu dziedi?||With you? Do you sing?|
|Linda||Jā. Ez diezgan labi dziedu.||Yes. I sing pretty well.|
|Linda||Jā. Mēs dziedājām tautas dziesmas.||Yes, we were singing folk songs.|
|Rita||Ļoti jauki!||Very nice!|
To hear this conversation: click here → Conversation 9
|Latvian word||English translation||Latvian word||English translation|
|Click on word to hear its pronunciation||Click on word to hear its pronunciation|
|dziedāt (verb, infin. conj.cl. 3(b))||'to sing'||pēc (prep. + gen.)||'after'|
|dziesma (noun, fem.)||'song'||rīts (noun, masc.)||'morning'|
|jauki (adverb)||'nicely, pleasantly'||šodien (adverb)||'today'|
|māte (noun, fem.)||'mother'||tauta (noun, fem.)||'folk, people, nation'|
|no (prep. + gen.)||'from, out of, off'||vēstule (noun, fem.)||'letter'|
|pats (pronoun, masc.)||'self, oneself'||viens (adjective)||'one, single, lone'|
(b) no rīta: although the preposition no is usually translated as "from" or "off of", the best translation for the phrase no rīta is "during (the) morning"; it is a combination of the preposition no with the noun rīts "morning", in the genitive case.
(c) viena pati: this phrase could be translated "by herself" or "all alone". It consists of the adjective viens "one" and the pronoun pats "self (masc.)". The feminine form of this pronoun is either pati or pate; either can be used. Thus, viena pati (or viena pate) is literally "one (female) self".
(d) dziesmas: this word is in the plural: "songs". You will be formally introduced to plural nouns in a later lesson.
(e) jauki: this adverb derives from the adjective jauks "nice, pleasant". In a sentence of this type, English would normally use an adjective: "(That's) nice". However, Latvian typically uses the adverbial form jauki. Think of it as if you were saying "(That's going) nicely."
For most Latvian verbs, the past tense includes the thematic vowel; as you may remember, this vowel occurs just before the -t suffix of the infinitive form. For example, the verbs dziedāt "to sing", redzēt "to see", and darīt "to do" have the thematic vowels -ā, -ī, and -ē. These vowels appear in the past tense verb forms; for ease of pronunciation, the thematic vowel is separated from the following person and number endings by the semivowel j, as you can see from the following table:
|infinitive||dzied-ā-t "to sing"||dar-ī-t "to do"||redz-ē-t 'to see'|
This means that the past tense of these verbs is very regular. For the overwhelming majority of verbs, you form a past tense as follows:
verb root + thematic vowel + j + person/number ending
Thus, if you want to form the 2nd. person plural past tense of mācīt "to teach", it looks like this:
māc + ī + j + ām
Pretty straightforward, right?
This lesson introduces some feminine nouns from a different declension class: nouns which end in -e (e.g. Ilze "Ilze", māte "mother", and vēstule "letter"). Nouns of this type are assigned to declension class 5. Here is a table which shows how these nouns are declined:
|Class 5 nouns|
(Note: the word māte has an irregular vocative form; it is: māt!)
If you compare the nouns of class 4 and class 5, their endings are quite similar. Take a look at the following examples:
|Class 4||Class 5|
As you can see, in all of the cases (except for the accusative) the endings are identical, except for the stem vowel, which is -a for class 4 nouns, and -e for class 5 nouns. (It is for this reason that some grammarians call class 4 nouns feminine -a stems and class 5 nouns feminine -e stems, respectively.) In other words, all these feminine nouns generally follow the same pattern, if you discount the stem vowel. Leaving aside the accusative case, which is a little different, the pattern for feminine nouns is basically as follows:
|feminine singular endings|
|nominative||- stem vowel|
|genitive||- stem vowel + s
||- stem vowel + i
||- long stem vowel
||- stem vowel
Keep this in mind, and forming feminine nouns will be a breeze. Just remember that class 4 nouns (those ending in -a) have -u in the accusative, and class 5 nouns (those ending in -e) have -i in the accusative. In all other cases, they follow the pattern shown in the table above.
ar galdu "with a table", uz pilsētu "to town"
However, prepositions don't always take the accusative case; in this lesson you are introduced to two prepositions which take the genitive case: no "from, out of, off" and pēc "after". Take a look at the following examples:
pēc launaga "after lunch/a snack", no pilsētas "from town"
These are only two of more than a dozen prepositions which require the genitive case. I will gradually introduce more and more of the most common prepositions in later lessons. However, to date you have only four prepositions to worry about:
|genitive||no "from, out of, off", pēc "after"|
|accusative||ar "with", uz "to, towards"|
Unfortunately, there is no easy way to remember which prepositions require which cases. This is something you will just have to memorize. Sorry!
Up to now you have only seen the nominative form of the singular pronoun (tu). The conversation for this lesson introduces the accusative form, but, since I don't want to keep you in suspense, I'm going to give you all the cases at once. Here is the chart:
Note that, except for the nominative and vocative, the basic root of this pronouns appears to be tev-. Similarly, the basic root of the first person singular pronoun shows up as man- in most cases. Compare the two pronouns:
|case||First person singular||Second person singular|
As you can see, this means that the basic pattern for both pronouns is identical in the oblique cases:
|case||1st & 2nd person sing. pronouns|
|genitive||pronoun root + is|
|dative||pronoun root + ∅|
|accusative||pronoun root + i|
|locative||pronoun root + ī|
(Note: remember that the symbol ∅ stands for "zero", in other words, for no ending whatsoever.)
This chart should make it easier to remember the overall pattern for these two singular pronouns.
|locative||(use adverb: kur)||tajā/tanī|
Although the interrogative pronoun starts with a k-, and the demonstrative pronoun starts with a t-, the forms for both of these pronouns are basically identical (except for the locative case). The interrogative pronoun kas doesn't have a locative form at all; instead, one typically uses the interrogative adverb kur "where" to express this meaning.
The demonstrative pronoun tas actually has several locative forms; the two most common are tajā and tanī. In addition, this pronoun also has separate masculine and feminine forms. In other words, if the noun to which this pronoun is referring is feminine, you need to use separate feminine forms, as follows:
In other words, if you want to say "I like that (one)", you would use either tas (masc.) or tā (fem.), depending on whether you were speaking about (for example) different tables (galds) or different kinds of juice (sula):
For each of the following, put the noun into the correct case:
Ready for Lesson 10? Please click here → Latvian Language Lesson 10