|Jāzeps||Andrej! Ko tu dari?||Andrew! What are you doing?|
|Andrejs||Es mazgāju kaķi.||I'm washing the cat.|
|Jāzeps||Kā kaķim tas patīk?||How does the cat like that?|
|Andrejs||Nemaz! Man arī nepatīk. Cik pulkstenis?||Not at all! I don't like it either. What time is it?|
|Andrejs||Jau? Dod man dvieli, lūdzu.||Already? Give me a towel, please.|
|Jāzeps||Še.||Here (it is).|
|Andrejs||Paldies! Labi, tagad viņš ir sauss.||Thanks. Good, now he's dry.|
|Jāzeps||Cik smuks, tīrs kaķis!||What a nice, clean cat!|
|Andrejs||Vai nē?!||Isn't he?!|
|Jāzeps||Klau, Jāzep, es gribu tava brāļa adresi.||Listen, Joseph, I want your brother's address.|
|Andrejs||Tu gribi Jāņa adresi?||You want John's address?|
|Jāzeps||Jā. Kur viņš tagad dzīvo?||Yes. Where is he living now?|
|Jāzeps||Kur Rīgā?||Where (exactly) in Riga?|
|Andrejs||Dod man zīmuli, lūdzu.||Give me a pencil, please.|
|Andrejs (Andrew) writes down the address.|
|Andrejs||Še: viņa adrese.||Here (is) his address.|
To hear this conversation: click here → Conversation 10
|Latvian word||English translation||Latvian word||English translation|
|Click on word to hear its pronunciation||Click on word to hear its pronunciation|
|adrese (noun, fem.)||'address'||nemaz (adv., neg., stressed on 2nd syllable)||'not at all'|
|brālis (noun, masc.)||'brother'||pulkstenis (noun, masc.)||'clock, watch'|
|cik (adverb, interrog.)||'how (much)'||Rīga (noun, fem.)||'(city of) Rīga'|
|dot (verb, infin., irreg.)||'to give'||sauss (adjective)||'dry'|
|dvielis (noun, masc.)||'towel'||smuks (adjective)||'pretty, nice, handsome'|
|dzīvot (verb, infin. conj.cl. 2)||'to live'||še (adverb)||'here'|
|Jānis (noun, masc.)||'John'||tagad (adverb)||'now'|
|kā (adverb, interrog.)||'how'||tavs (adjective, possess.)||'your (2.p.sg.)'|
|kaķis (noun, masc.)||'cat'||tīrs (adjective)||'clean'|
|klau (verb, 2.p.sg.imper.)||'listen!'||zīmulis (noun, masc.)||'pencil'|
|mazgāt (verb, infin. conj.cl. 2)||'to wash (something)'|
(b) Jānis: this one of the most common Latvian male names. Like English John, Scottish Ian, and German Johann, which all were most probably borrowed originally from the Hebrew Yochanan.
(c) klau: probably a shortened form of klausi "Listen! (Obey!)", from the verb klausīt "to obey, listen to".
(d) še: a shortened form of šeit "here". However, še is typically only used when you want to someone to come to where you are; thus, you would use it to translate a sentence like "Come here!", but not in sentences like "I like it here" or "Robert doesn't live here". For those you would use the full form šeit.
(e) tavs: this is an adjective which is used only when addressing a friend, relative, or child (e.g Vai tā ir tava grāmata? "Is that your book?"). You would not use it to address a complete stranger, for example, in a sentence like: "Is that your car?". Instead, you would use the second person plural pronoun Jūs in the genitive: Vai tā ir Jūsu mašīna?
To produce this ķ sound, try saying a t sound, but gradually moving the tongue further back in the mouth, until it is touching the roof of your mouth at about the middle of the hard palate. If, after repeated practise, you can't make something close to the sound represented by ķ, you can get a rough approximation by saying t quickly followed by y.
Also note that, although the adjective tavs (2.p.sg. "your") is spelled with a letter v, this letter is pronounced as a [w]. In other words, tavs is pronounced in such a way as to rhyme with English "house". However, this is only true in the masculine nominative singular form; in all other cases of this word the letter v is pronounced [v] (e.g. tava, tavam, tavu, tavā, etc.).
Here is a table which shows how these nouns are declined (note: I have omitted the genitive case, which will be discussed separately):
|Class 2 nouns|
As you can see, these endings all contain (either a short or long) vowel i; it is for this reason, that this class of nouns is sometimes called the masculine i-stems.
Now, what about the genitive case? The genitive case has the ending -a, or -ja. Take a look at the following examples of Class 2 nouns in the genitive case:
|Noun root ends in:||nominative||genitive||translation||Noun root ends in consonant:|
|p||klēp-is||klēp-ja||lap||using the lower lip|
|t||vīriet-is||vīrieš-a||man||NOT using the lower lip|
As you can see from this chart, when the noun root ends in a consonant sound which is produced using the lower lip (either in combination with the upper lip, as in p, b, m or in combination with the upper teeth, as in v), then the genitive ending is simply -ja.
However, when it does not involve the lips, but rather the tongue, the case is somewhat different. Then the ending is just -a, but in addition, the final consonant is usually altered. For example, an original n- is pronounced as ņ-, while an original l- is pronounced as ļ- in the genitive case.
In Latvian the letter j stands for a palatal semivowel (as in English yes or young). In other words, it is pronounced with the tongue in the middle of the hard palate. Sounds like n or l are produced at the teeth, but the sounds ņ and ļ are produced at the hard palate (just like the semivowel j).
Linguists have hypothesized that originally the genitive ending in this declension class was -ja for all nouns, but that, if a consonant sound was produced with the tongue (and not with the lips) the j influenced that sound to become more "palatal" in its pronunciation, and the j was gradually dropped. For example, a noun root ending in n- would have undergone the following alterations:
n + ja > ņja >ņa
There remains the case of what happens with words like kaķis "cat" or kuģis "ship". In these words, the final consonant of the root is is ķ or ģ; these consonants are palatal stops. Since they are already palatal, the original j just dropped off, as it did whenever it it came after a palatized sound. (For more details about this whole process, see the appendix on j Palatalization).
This lesson introduces two verbs which belong to the second conjugation class: dzīvot "to live" and mazgāt "to wash". The major difference between verbs of the third conjugation class (like redzēt "to see" or dziedāt "to sing") and verbs of the second conjugation class is what happens with the thematic vowel. (Remember that the thematic vowel occurs just before the -t of the infinitive ending; in other words it is the -o in dzīvot or the -ā in dziedāt.)
Second conjugation class verbs show the thematic vowel not only in the past tense (as described in Lesson 9) but also in the present tense. To see what I mean, take a look at the following table: it contrasts the third conjugation verb dziedāt and the second conjugation verb mazgāt (both are in the first person singular form):
|conjugation class||infinitive||present tense||translation||past tense||translation|
|3||dzied-ā-t||dzied-u||I am singing||dzied-āj-u||I was singing/I sang|
|2||mazg-ā-t||mazg-āj-u||I am washing||mazg-āj-u||I was washing/I washed|
(Please note that, for ease of pronunciation, the semivowel -j- is automatically inserted after a thematic vowel if the following sound is another vowel.)
Notice that the present and past tense forms of a second conjugation verb are identical in the first person singular. This is not really a problem, because a hearer can figure out what tense is meant from the context. For example, if you ask someone Ko tu dari? "What are you doing?" and they answer Es mazgāju brāli, you know from the context of your question that the answer is "I'm washing (my) brother" (and NOT "I was washing (my) brother").
Similarly, the speaker can insert "time" words which make the situation clear. For example, if someone says Vakar es mazgāju kaķi, it is clearly a past action, since the time word vakar "yesterday" begins the sentence, and thus the translation must be: "Yesterday I was washing the cat".
Although the thematic vowel occurs in all present tense forms of a second conjugation verb, this does not mean that all of the present and past tense forms are identical. Take a look at the following table, which shows present and past tense forms of the second conjugation verb mazgāt "to wash":
|number||person||present tense||past tense|
This means that the person & number endings for second conjugation verbs look like this:
|number||person||present tense||past tense|
(Note: remember that the symbol ∅ stands for "zero", in other words, for no ending whatsoever.)
|Irregular verb dot "to give"|
|number||person||present tense||past tense|
Just remember that the verb dot uses the stem dod- for the present tense, but the stem dev- in the past tense.
However, this does not mean that the endings have to look identical. Take a look at the following examples:
|English translations:||good son||good brother||good daughter||good mother|
|nominative||lab-s dēl-s||lab-s brāl-is||lab-a meit-a||lab-a māt-e|
|genitive||lab-a dēl-a||lab-a brāļ-a||lab-as meit-as||lab-as māt-es|
|dative||lab-am dēl-am||lab-am brāl-im||lab-ai meit-ai||lab-ai māt-ei|
|accusative||lab-u dēl-u||lab-u brāl-i||lab-u meit-u||lab-u māt-i|
|locative||lab-ā dēl-ā||lab-ā brāl-ī||lab-ā meit-ā||lab-ā māt-ē|
As you can see from this table, the adjective endings are not always the same as the noun endings. To take just one example, look at: -ai vs. -ei in the phrase lab-ai māt-ei "to (a) good mother"
However, the adjective and noun endings do match, in the sense that an -ai ending identifies the adjective as being in the feminine dative singular case. This matches with the feminine dative singular ending -ei for a fifth declension noun like māte "mother". So, even though the endings aren't always identical, they still identify the same grammatical meaning or function.
Adjective endings are the same as the endings of first and fourth declension nouns; specifically: adjectives modifying masculine nouns use first declension endings, while adjectives modifying feminine nouns use fourth declension endings. This actually simplifies things considerably, because you already know the first and fourth declension endings. Just make sure to match the gender, case and number of the adjective to the gender, case and number of the noun it modifies.
Please translate the following sentences into Latvian:
For each of the following nouns, translate it into Latvian and put it in the genitive singular case:
Ready for Lesson 11? Please click here → Latvian Language Lesson 11