Facts about the Latvian Language

Latvian (latviešu valoda) language is a branch of the Indo-European family, derived from the Baltic language. Lithuanian and Latvian languages separated in the 5-7th century. It is believed that Latvian began to form on the basis of the Latgalian language, in the 14th century.

The Latvian language has 3 dialects: the Livonian dialect, High Latvian and the Middle dialect. It is believed that the general Latvian language was formed in the second half of the 19th century. The middle dialect had the biggest influence on language formation. The main language creator is the well-known linguist Kārlis Mīlenbahs. He together with the linguist Jānis Endzelīns elaborated the modern Latvian alphabet, which slowly replaced the old orthography used before.

Latvian is an analytical language. The stress in the Latvian language is usually placed on the first syllable of the word. The word order in the sentence is optional. There are two grammatical genders in Latvian (masculine and feminine) and two numbers, singular and plural. Nouns and adjectives decline into seven cases: nominative, genitive, dative, accusative, instrumental, locative, and vocative. There are six declensions and no articles. The Latvian alphabet consists of 33 letters.

There are about 2 million Latvian speakers. Due to the low number of speakers, it can be considered a rather exotic language. The majority of Latvian-speaking people live in Latvia (about 1.5 million), more speakers live in Russia, Estonia, Brazil, Sweden, Australia, Canada and even the USA.

Although there are not many Latvian speakers in Lithuania, Lithuanian and Latvian languages are cousin languages. It is not surprising, as back one a half thousand years ago both Latvians and Lithuanians were speaking the common Baltic proto-language.

Interesting facts

The first book

The oldest remaining printed book in Latvian is St. Peter Canisius Catechismus Catholicorum (Vilnius, 1585).


The Latvian language syntax is more reminiscent of the European West and the Lithuanian syntax is more similar to the East. Various Finish languages influenced the Latvian language.

The most modern Baltic language

The Latvian language is the most modern (most distant from proto-language) in the Baltic language.


The pronunciation of Latvian is similar to the pronunciation of Estonian and Finnish.

Influence of other languages

The Latvian language is heavily influenced by other languages: German, Lithuanian, Estonian, Finnish and Slavic. For this reason, Latvian linguists are trying to create as many new Latvian words as possible.

Translation areas where Latvian is most commonly used:

Vehicle engineering, law, energy, finance, banking, insurance, information technology, medicine, pharmacy, clinical research, construction, real estate, agricultural machinery, forestry, logistics, telecommunication, industry, manufacturing, tourism, advertising and marketing, cosmetics and beauty industry and so on.

Linguistic services where translations from/to Latvian language are used:

Specialised and general translations, urgent translations, translations of the documents and their certification, translations of websites and audio-visual material, translation and localisation of a computer software, translation with editing and proofreading, review of the version for publishing, adaptation of text and preparation of creative writing, design and layout services, interpreting, language courses, etc.

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Language combinations:

Lithuanian-Latvian, Latvian-Lithuanian, Russian-Latvian, Latvian-Russian, Estonian-Latvian, Latvian-Estonian, English-Latvian, Latvian-English, German-Latvian, Latvian-German, French-Latvian, Latvian-French, Polish- Latvian, Latvian-Polish, Ukrainian-Latvian, Latvian-Ukrainian, Czech-Latvian, Latvian-Czech, Belarusian-Latvian, Latvian-Belarusian, Spanish-Latvian, Latvian-Spanish, Italian-Latvian, Latvian-Italian, Norwegian-Latvian, Latvian-Norwegian, Swedish-Latvian, Latvian-Swedish, Finnish-Latvian, Latvian-Finnish, Danish-Latvian, Latvian-Danish, Greek-Latvian, Latvian-Greek, Portuguese-Latvian, Latvian-Portuguese, Dutch-Latvian, Latvian- Dutch, Bulgarian-Latvian, Latvian-Bulgarian and others.

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