Latvian language

Latvian (Latviešu valoda) belongs to the Baltic branch of the Indo-European language family. It is spoken by about 1.5 million people in Latvia. It is also spoken in Australia, Belarus, Brazil, Canada, Estonia, Germany, Lithuania, New Zealand, Russia, Sweden, Ukraine, the United Kingdom and the United States.

It is estimated that about 1.7 million people worldwide consider Latvian their mother tongue. Although the closest relative of Latvian is Lithuanian, speakers of these languages do not understand each other. Both are believed to have evolved from a common hypothetical ancestor called the Proto-Balto-Slavic

Both Latvian and Lithuanian have kept many of the characteristics of Proto-Indo-European languages, especially in their noun systems. Of the two languages, Lithuanian is the more conservative, as it retains more archaic forms than Latvian.

Who speaks Latvian

Latvian is the official language of the Republic of Latvia. Latvian was granted official status in 1989, two years before the country's independence from the former Soviet Union in 1991. Today, Latvian is used in all official areas. It is the main language in the media, although Russian, English, Swedish and other minority languages are also used in newspapers and radio and television stations. Latvian is used in the education system at all levels. 

Russian and English are also spoken, in addition to Latvian, at university level. The Latvian-speaking population also speaks Russian, Lithuanian, Polish or Estonian, depending on the area of the country.

Latvian dialects

Despite the small size of the country, Latvian has several mutually intelligible regional dialects. There is some disagreement as to their classification. Latvian scholars traditionally divide them into three groups, namely

  • Livonian
  • Middle Latvian
  • High Latvian, which is the basis of standard Latvian.

Translation agency for Spanish-English-Latvian

Now that you know a little more about the Latvian language, you might be interested to know that we offer professional translation services from both English to Latvian and from Latvian into English. We specialise in translation from and into Spanish.

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