Introduction to Latvian: Lesson 3

You know quick and you can talk about knowing and understanding. We will learn to do more now.

Latvian for he can is viņš var.

Think he can select the variables.

Ths word could mean he can, he may, he is able to or some combination thereof.

Latvian for she wants is viņa grib.

I don’t think she wants to have gribbles very much but who knows.

If you want to have the infinitive (to do) forms of these two words, you simply add ēt. Try this out:

?to want|gribēt

?to be able to|varēt

That implies that you could get more complicated and say:

?She is able to want.|Viņa var gribēt

Now the infinitives for prot and saprot were different. They were not proēt and saprotēt but prast and saprast instead.

Try saying:

?I can understand English.|Es varu saprast angliski.


?You know to understand Latvian.|Tu proti saprast latviski.

Which was a bit weird-sounding so it was not as cool as saying:

?i want to understand Latvian.|Es gribu saprast latviski.

Latvian for do/does or or is vai.

You use this word if you want to say this or that or if you want to ask yes/no questions (such as do you want to understand Lithuanian. Try using this:

?Do you want to know English?|Vai tu gribi prast angliski?

?Do you want to understand Lithuanian or Latvian?|Vai tu gribi saprast lietuviski vai latviski?

You know you can do both if you want to. Let’s be more transparent about that:

?I want to understand Latvian and Lithuanian.|Es gribu saprast latviski un lietuviski.

Do you remember the word for it when it is not it is?


It does sneak in the middle of the phrase usually. How would you say:

?She wants it.|Viņa to grib.

?I understand it.|Es to saprotu.

Whenever you have two verbs in the same sentence (as in I can understand it), it sneaks in the middle between these two verbs. Thus you can say:

?I can understand it.|Es varu to saprast.

?Do you want to understand it?|Vai tu gribi to saprast?

We have figured out how to say the positives of things but we still do not know how to go negative. Let’s learn it now:

Latvian for not is ne.

If you add a nice top - sign over e to get ē like you have it in you also get the word for no. What’s the Latvian word for no?


Anyway, carrying on, you say the word not in front of the verb instead of after the verb like you do in English so you actually say he not understands (and it comes out as he notunderstands) instead of he understands not to mean he doesn’t understand. How would you say:

?He does not understand Latvian.|Viņš nesaprot latviski.

?I do not understand.|Es nesaprotu.

Right. Now we have two kinds of it: a) tas when it is in the phrase it is, b) to when it is not in that phrase it is. That’s the end of lesson three.

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