What is a Preposition?
A preposition (prievārds) can be defined as a function word which (usually) governs a noun (or pronoun) and forms a prepositional phrase. Here are a few English example sentences which illustrate the use of some prepositions; the preposition is shown in pink, and the rest of the prepositional phrase is in brown:
Latvian Prepositions & Case
Prepositions are invariant particles. In other words (unlike Latvian nouns, verbs, or adjectives), prepositions do not have multiple forms: they always have the same form. In Latvian, however, the nouns or pronouns governed by the preposition are inflected for case. Take a look at the following Latvian sentences which illustrate the use of some prepositions; as above, the preposition is shown in pink, and the rest of the prepositional phrase is in brown:
|genitive||aiz 'behind', apakš 'underneath', bez 'without', iz 'out (of)' [quite rare], kopš 'since (a certain time)', no 'from, out of', pēc 'after', pie 'at', pirms 'before (a certain time)', priekš 'before (a certain time); ago', virs 'above', zem 'under'|
Also: prepositions ending in -pus indicating location: apakšpus 'below', ārpus 'outside of', augšpus 'above, up', iekšpus 'inside', lejpus 'below, down', otrpus 'on the other side of; beyond, across', šaipus 'on this side (of)', viņpus' on that/the other/the far side', virspus 'above, on';
Note: Some of these are fairly rare; the most common prepositions ending in -pus are: ārpus 'outside of', šaipus 'on this side (of)', and viņpus' on that/the other/the far side'.
|dative||līdz 'until', ar 'with' (but only in the plural)|
|accusative||ap 'around', ar 'with' (but only in the singular), caur 'through', gar 'along', pa 'along; on', par 'about, with reference to', pār 'across', pret 'opposite, against, towards', starp 'between'|
The Preposition uz
The preposition uz is somewhat unusual, in that its complements can be either in the genitive or the accusative case. Take a look at the following example sentences; as above, the preposition is shown in pink, and the rest of the prepositional phrase is in brown:
|Genitive case||Accusative case|
|Example sentence||translation||Example sentence||translation|
|Roberts gulēja uz gultas.||Robert lay on (the) bed.||Roberts iet uz gultu.||Robert is going to bed.|
|Astronauts lepni stāvēja uz mēness.||(The) astronaut proudly stood on (the) moon.||Latvija aizsūtīs raķeti uz mēnesi.||Latvija will send a rocket to the moon.|
|Puķu pods stāveja uz skapja.||(The) flower pot stood on (top of) (the) cupboard.||Rita uzlika puķu podu uz skapi.||Rita put (a) flower pot on (i.e. on top of) (the) cupboard.|
In every case the distinction is between static position (genitive case) and motion towards (accusative case). Thus, if Robert is already lying on the bed, the word for bed is in the genitive case (gultas). However, if Robert is moving in the direction of the bed, then the word for bed is in the accusative case (gultu). Clear?
All of the above example sentences have shown the complements of the preposition in the singular. However, the following examples illustrate plural noun (and pronoun) complements:
To continue on, please go to: Postpositions