To My Kindle Readers

Due to some current issues in my (and my husband’s) life, I’m not currently able to blog. While I expect to continue posting here in the future (and I am still learning Latvian), it’ll take time for the issues to get resolved. I don’t feel right having the feed up without posts for the Kindle, so I will be pulling it down until I can post consistently.

If you would still like to be notified when new posts are available, please subscribe to my RSS feed with a feed reader or sign up to have posts automatically delivered to you by email*.

* You can even have posts delivered to your Kindle’s email address or forward posts you receive to your Kindle, but please be aware that doing this may have a cost associated with it. See your “Personal Document Settings” section under “Manage My Kindle” along with Amazon’s Kindle help section for more details on how this works and what the current fee structure is.

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Status

Going to refactor how I do things here. My hours went up at work and well, classes continue. Not sure yet how I want to continue posting and I need to look at what makes me happy as a writer. We’ll see what happens.

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Wordy Weekend: Education, Part 2: Teachers & Students

So much to learn and so many fun words about it! Let’s do some more. :) Latvian is interesting in that it has different words for students at different levels of schooling.

Yes, I promise I’ll be writing more on grammar soon but grad school papers come first. So, since I’m mostly focusing my efforts on reading Latvian rather than on learning grammar, taking apart words to further solidify wordbuilding in my mind is about my speed right now. So, even if this seems silly, taking apart words definitely is not. Latvian is all about wordbuilding.

Notice here that skola (from the previous post) is used for building most of the words relating to students and teachers for grades 1 through 12.

  • skolēns : pupil, student [slider title=”decline me”]skolēns, m, 1. dekl.
    vsk.: skolēns, skolēna, skolēnam, skolēnu, ar skolēnu, skolēnā
    dsk.: skolēni, skolēnu, skolēniem, skolēnus, ar skolēniem, skolēnos [/slider]

    Interestingly, there isn’t a feminine version of this word in use. The feminine form of student is skolniece.

  • skolnieks : masc. student [slider title=”decline me”]skolnieks, m, 1. dekl.
    vsk.: skolnieks, skolnieka, skolniekam, skolnieku, ar skolnieku, skolniekā
    dsk.: skolnieki, skolnieku, skolniekiem, skolniekus, ar skolniekiem, skolniekos [/slider]

  • skolniece : fem. student [slider title=”decline me”]skolniece, f, 5. dekl.
    vsk.: skolniece, skolnieces, skolniecei, skolnieci, ar skolnieci, skolniecē
    dsk.: skolnieces, skolnieču, skolniecēm, skolnieces, ar skolniecēm, skolniecēs [/slider]

    As usual, mixed groups will take the masculine plural form.

  • skolotājs : masc. teacher [slider title=”decline me”]skolotājs, m, 1. dekl.
    vsk.: skolotājs, skolotāja, skolotājam, skolotāju, ar skolotāju, skolotājā
    dsk.: skolotāji, skolotāju, skolotājiem, skolotājus, ar skolotājiem, skolotājos [/slider]

  • skolotāja : teacher [slider title=”decline me”]skolotāja, f, 4. dekl.
    vsk.: skolotāja, skolotājas, skolotājai, skolotāju, ar skolotāju, skolotājā
    dsk.: skolotājas, skolotāju, skolotājām, skolotājas, ar skolotājām, skolotājās [/slider]

    Same as with skolnieki, skolotāji refers to both a masculine group of teachers and a mixed group of teachers. Also similarly to skolnieki, skolotāji is typically used for teachers of grades 1 through 12.

  • pasniegt : to hand, to offer, to lecture [slider title=”conjugate me”]pasniegt, 2. konj. (long)
    tag. pasniedzu, pasniedz, pasniedz, pasniedzam, pasniedzat
    pag. pasniedzu, pasniedzi, pasniedza, pasniedzām, pasniedzāt
    nak. pasniegšu, pasniegsi, pasniegs, pasniegsim, pasniegsiet / pasniegsit
    pav. pasniedz, pasniedziet [/slider]

    Note the palatalization change of -g- to -dz- from the infinitive to the past and present conjugated forms. Sniegt is also to hand or to offer but the prefix of pa- adds the connotation of out. So, if it is knowledge that you are handing out or offering out, then you are lecturing or teaching.

  • pasniedzējs : lecturer, teacher, faculty [slider title=”decline me”]pasniedzējs, m, 1. dekl.
    vsk.: pasniedzējs, pasniedzēja, pasniedzējam, pasniedzēju, ar pasniedzēju, pasniedzējā
    dsk.: pasniedzēji, pasniedzēju, pasniedzējiem, pasniedzējus, ar pasniedzējiem, pasniedzējos [/slider]

  • pasniedzēja : lecturer, teacher, faculty [slider title=”decline me”]pasniedzēja, f, 4. dekl.
    vsk.: pasniedzēja, pasniedzējas, pasniedzējai, pasniedzēju, ar pasniedzēju, pasniedzējā
    dsk.: pasniedzējas, pasniedzēju, pasniedzējām, pasniedzējas, ar pasniedzējām, pasniedzējās [/slider]

    At University level, you’ll encounter primarily pasniedzēji along with profesori (professors) instead of skolotāji. As you can see, this word is built from the verb pasniegt to create “a person who hands out” (knowledge) or a teacher.

  • students : masc. University student [slider title=”decline me”]students, m, 1. dekl.
    vsk.: students, studenta, studentam, studentu, ar studentu, studentā
    dsk.: studenti, studentu, studentiem, studentus, ar studentiem, studentos [/slider]

  • studente : fem. University student [slider title=”decline me”]studente, f, 5. dekl.
    vsk.: studente, studentes, studentei, studenti, ar studenti, studentē
    dsk.: studentes, studenšu, studentēm, studentes, ar studentēm, studentēs [/slider]

    At University level, we shift to this obvious loan-word for those attending for university degrees. Note also the typical palatatization change in the plural genitive of -t- to -š-.

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Wordy Weekend: Education, Part 1: Wordbuilding

Oof. Grad school. Okay! Well, one class is finally over and done with, though I’ve still got two more to write a bunch of papers for. Sadly, I haven’t been spending too much time on in-depth language studies because of my classes. :( I’m trying to accelerate my degree program so I need to fit at least one more class in this term.

So, let’s do some educational words today, shall we? There’s quite a bit of wordbuilding to do today! All of the basic roots I’m going to go over first are used heavily in other words, knowing them will help you break down bigger, more complex words.

  • skola : school [slider title=”decline me”]skola, f, 4. dekl.
    vsk.: skola, skolas, skolai, skolu, ar skolu, skolā
    dsk.: skolas, skolu, skolām, skolas, ar skolām, skolās [/slider]

    Obviously this lends the concept of school and education to words it is combined with.

  • sākums : beginning [slider title=”decline me”]sākums, m, 1. dekl.
    vsk.: sākums, sākuma, sākumam, sākumu, ar sākumu, sākumā
    dsk.: sākumi, sākumu, sākumiem, sākumus, ar sākumiem, sākumos [/slider]

    This word lends the concept of the start, beginning or initial period to words it is combined with.

  • pamats : foundation, base [slider title=”decline me”]pamats, m, 1. dekl.
    vsk.: pamats, pamata, pamatam, pamatu, ar pamatu, pamatā
    dsk.: pamati, pamatu, pamatiem, pamatus, ar pamatiem, pamatos [/slider]

    When used in the plural, pamati can also mean principles or fundamentals. It’s also used in the plural to refer to the foundation of a house. As a wordbuilding word, it’s used often to add the meaning of primary, foundational, fundamental or basic.

    A common expression is tam pamatā ir…, which means this is because (of)…. It’s used to demonstrate causality and tam can be replaced with the relevant subject.

  • vidus : middle [slider title=”decline me”]vidus, m, 1. dekl.
    vsk.: vidus, vidus, vidum, vidu, ar vidu, vidū
    dsk.: vidi, vidu, vidiem, vidus, ar vidiem, vidos [/slider]

    You use this in various ways, like ceļa vidū or in the middle of the road or combine the two nouns into vidusceļš for the somewhat idiomatic or figurative concept of midway, as in the middle ground in a compromise situation. It’s commonly found in compounds that have to do with the middle or center, as well as concepts like mediation or mediocrity.

  • augsts : indef. adj. high, tall [slider title=”decline me”]augsts, m
    vsk.: augsts, augsta, augstam, augstu, ar augstu, augstā
    dsk.: augsti, augstu, augstiem, augstus, ar augstiem, augstos [/slider]

  • augsta : indef. adj. high, tall [slider title=”decline me”]augsta, f
    vsk.: augsta, augstas, augstai, augstu, ar augstu, augstā
    dsk.: augstas, augstu, augstām, augstas, ar augstām, augstās [/slider]

    This word is really commonly confused with auksts or cold. It’s a common mistake for Latvian kids in school too, so if you confuse it, you’re in good company. The reason is because -g- and -k- sound very similarly to each other. This word is commonly found in compounds or compound phrases dealing with height (both literal and figurative), loftiness, or the top or upper part of things, like senior (higher) officials, high-pitched sounds or the thigh.

    The definite forms of the adjective are augstais and augstā.

Now, let’s combine these words together! If you can decline skola, you’re set for all of the following words, so I’m not going to decline them.

  • sākumskola : primary school; amer. elementary school

    Literally: beginning school. This type of school encompasses part of what I consider “elementary school”, generally covering grades 1 through 4. It can be combined under the umbrella of a pamatskola, depending on the area or school.

  • pamatskola : lower secondary school; amer. middle school

    Literally: foundation school, a school where you learn the foundations. A pamatskola covers grades 5 through 9. This is basically what would be considered a “middle school” more than the Western American “junior high” (which covers grades 7 through 9), as some of our schools begin middle school in grade 6.

  • vidusskola : secondary school, amer. high school

    Literally: middle school. Translating literally will not help you here! Traditionally, a vidusskola teaches grades 10 through 12. This equates to the Western American concept of a “high school”. Eastern American high schools cover grades 9 through 12, so it’s slightly different. More on “high school” below in augstskola.

  • augstskola : university, college, graduate school, higher education

    Literally: high school. Beware, this is not the same word as the (Amer.?) English “high school”. Augstskola refers to “higher education” schools at the collegiate level, though you will see schools are often named universitāte rather than augstskola. The terms are used interchangeably when referencing an institution. The related term, augstākā izglītība, means the concept of “higher education” itself.

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Counting One by One

An important topic I haven’t yet covered is how to count in Latvian. For now, we’ll start with the very basics – how to count up to nine and how Latvians indicate ordinals (first, second, third, and so on).

Numbers Zero Through Nine

For the most part, this is quite straightforward. These are critical to learn early on as the digits are used in word-building quite frequently, in addition to just being handy for phone numbers, addresses, etc.

Zero is nulle. You can create nulltais, an ordinal, from nulle, the same way we can create zeroth from zero. I believe nulltais is used as jargon primarily and may not be considered a “real” word (neither is zeroth for that matter).

Viens is singular without a plural form. The remaining digits from two through nine are plural without singular forms. Ten and up are handled a little differently, so I’ll do those in another post so this one isn’t hugely long.

Every number from 1 to 9 has two endings, masculine and feminine. Except for trīs, one through nine decline like regular indefinite adjectives. (I’ll note the table for trīs at the end of the post.) Ordinals (including trīs) decline like regular definitive adjectives.

Note the different stem used for pirmais/pirmā and otrais/otrā.

Cardinals (m/f) # Ordinals (m/f)
Meaning
viens – viena 1 pirmais – pirmā 1. first
divi – divas 2 otrais – otrā 2. second
trīs 3 trešais – trešā 3. third
četri – četras 4 ceturtais – ceturtā 4. fourth
pieci – piecas 5 piektais – piektā 5. fifth
seši – sešas 6 sestais – sestā 6. sixth
septiņi – septiņas 7 septītais – septītā 7. seventh
astoņi – astoņas 8 astotais – astotā 8. eighth
deviņi – deviņas 9 devītais – devītā 9. ninth

Difference between cardinal and ordinal numbers

First, a number is a skaitļa vārds. A cardinal number, or pamata skaitļa vārds is a number word that indicates the quantity of something like one, two, or three. An ordinal number, or kārtas skaitļa vārds, is a number word signifies rank, order, position, importance, or other discriminating factor like first, second, or third.

When we write ordinals using digits in English, we’ll write “2nd” or “3rd”, with an abbreviation of the last two letters of the ordinal’s written form. Latvians simply place a period after the number like so: “2nd” is “2.” and “3rd” is “3.” If a roman numeral is used (VI or L, etc.), no dot is needed but the number is still considered an ordinal. When you read roman numerals aloud, you’d use the definitive adjectival form of the number.

Cardinal numbers are written without a dot. “One” is just “1” that’s all

An important thing to remember is that Latvians use commas for decimal notation rather than periods. For example: A bottle of water’s label would read 1,5 l for the volume, while in America we’d see 1.5 L on our labels. Prices are written similarly: the same bottle of water might cost Ls 0,75.

Trīs Trouble

Trīs can be either declined specially, as shown below, or not declined at all:

vīriešu dzimte (masc.) sieviešu dzimte (fem.)
Nom. – Kas? trīs trīs
Gen. – Kā? triju, trīs triju, trīs
Dat. – Kam? trim, trijiem, trīs trim, trijām, trīs
Acc. – Ko? trīs trīs
Intr. – Ar ko? ar trim, trijiem, trīs ar trim, trijām, trīs
Loc. – Kur? trijos, trīs trijās, trīs
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Wordy Weekend: Independence

Man, work and grad school are kicking my ass. I’m struggling just to keep my head above water with those two, much less do my studying on the side. Periodic immersion at work in Portuguese is getting me a crash course in reading comprehension there, which makes me feel good. On the other hand, I spend a lot of time working through languages at work, which tires me out for my personal studying too.

This weekend is a holiday weekend for America – Independence Day! As usual, we’ll celebrate separating from the British by exploding lots of fireworks, grilling up as much as possible and generally having fun outside.

Let’s do some words!

  • brīvība : freedom [slider title=”decline me”]brīvība, f, 4. dekl.
    vsk.: brīvība, brīvības, brīvībai, brīvību, ar brīvību, brīvībā
    dsk.: brīvības, brīvību, brīvībām, brīvības, ar brīvībām, brīvībās [/slider]

    I can’t think of this word without also remembering Braveheart with Mel Gibson in war paint. If you’re in Rīga, seeing the Freedom Monument (Brīvības piemineklis) is a must-do.

  • uguņošana : fireworks [slider title=”decline me”]uguņošana, f, 4. dekl.
    vsk.: uguņošana, uguņošanas, uguņošanai, uguņošanu, ar uguņošanu, uguņošanā
    dsk.: uguņošanas, uguņošanu, uguņošanām, uguņošanas, ar uguņošanām, uguņošanās [/slider]

    This is a noun’d verb and the root is uguns.

  • karogs : flag [slider title=”decline me”]karogs, m, 1. dekl.
    vsk.: karogs, karoga, karogam, karogu, ar karogu, karogā
    dsk.: karogi, karogu, karogiem, karogus, ar karogiem, karogos [/slider]

    Fun fact: The Latvian flag is one of the oldest flag designs in the world and dates back to the 13th century. It also has an unusual form factor of 2:1 that makes it distinctively rectangular, an aspect it shares with the British flag. (The American flag apparently has a ratio of 10:19! The “normal” flag ratio seems to be 2:3.)

  • neatkarība : independence [slider title=”decline me”]neatkarība, f, 4. dekl.
    vsk.: neatkarība, neatkarības, neatkarībai, neatkarību, ar neatkarību, neatkarībā
    dsk.: neatkarības, neatkarību, neatkarībām, neatkarības, ar netkarībām, neatkarībās [/slider]

    Yes, this is a negated noun! It negates atkarība: dependence. It is also related to the reflexive verb karātiesto hang.

  • svinēt : to celebrate [slider title=”conjugate me”]svinēt, 3. konj. (mixed)
    tag. svinu, svini, svin, svinam, svinat
    pag. svinēju, svinēji, svinēja, svinējām, svinējāt
    nak. svinēšu, svinēsi, svinēs, svinēsim, svinēsiet / svinēsit
    pav. svini, sviniet [/slider]

    Of course, what’s a holiday without a little celebrating? Since I didn’t get to include this at Jāņi, I thought I’d include it here.

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Wordy Wednesday: Jāņi

It’s time for Jāņi! This is probably my favorite Latvian holiday to celebrate. We always make Jāņu siers, šašliks, and other traditional dishes, drink plenty of beer and cider, while staying up late. In past years, I’ve not had to work the following day, but this year I work on both Jāņi and Līgo so I won’t be able to drink too much nor stay up too late. We’ll still enjoy ourselves though. I hope you’ll have a great Jāņi too!

  • ugunskurs : bonfire [slider title=”decline me”]ugunskurs, m, 1. dekl.
    vsk.: ugunskurs, ugunskura, ugunskuram, ugunskuru, ar ugunskuru, ugunskurā
    dsk.: ugunskuri, ugunskuru, ugunskuriem, ugunskurus, ar ugunskuriem, ugunskuros [/slider]

    When I think of a bonfire, I think of a huge fire, but an ugunskurs isn’t required to be gigantic. During Jāņi, the countryside will be lit by thousands of ugunskuri all night long (it’s rather short in Latvia!)

  • alus : beer [slider title=”decline me”]alus, m, 3. dekl.
    vsk.: alus, alus, alum, alu, ar alu, alū [/slider]

    One of the so-called “uncountable” nouns like ūdens, alus is generally used in the singular. There is a plural form, but I’m not going to include it here.

  • ķimene : caraway [slider title=”decline me”]ķimene, f, 2. dekl.
    vsk.: ķimene, ķimenes, ķimenei, ķimeni, ar ķimeni, ķimenē
    dsk.: ķimenes, ķimeņu, ķimenēm, ķimenes, ar ķimenēm, ķimenēs [/slider]

    The traditional and required addition to Jāņu siers! Caraway seeds are used in many traditional Latvian dishes. The singular form of the word will generally refer to a single plant while the plural will generally mean the dried seeds. These are not to be confused with cumin seeds!

  • vainags : wreath [slider title=”decline me”]vainags, m, 1. dekl.
    vsk.: vainags, vainaga, vainagam, vainagu, ar vainagu, vainagā
    dsk.: vainagi, vainagu, vainagiem, vainagus, ar vainagiem, vainagos [/slider]

    Both men and women wear traditional wreaths for the holiday. Women’s wreaths are made of grasses and flowers while men’s are primarily oak leaves. The vainagi can be quite sizable and everyone gets into the fun. Sometimes men’s wreaths get so big that they will go around their necks!

  • ozols : oak [slider title=”decline me”]ozols, m, 1. dekl.
    vsk.: ozols, ozola, ozolam, ozolu, ar ozolu, ozolā
    dsk.: ozoli, ozolu, ozoliem, ozolus, ar ozoliem, ozolos [/slider]

    I like saying this word, it’s a lot of fun with the way Latvians pronounce their “o”. Oaks are very important culturally and symbolically. Oaks appear everywhere, it seems, from the coat of arms to decorations to fields to symbolic manifestations of masculinity.

  • meija : birch bough [slider title=”decline me”]meija, f, 4. dekl.
    vsk.: meija, meijas, meijai, meiju, ar meiju, meijā
    dsk.: meijas, meiju, meijām, meijas, ar meijām, meijās [/slider]

    This is a bit more obscure of a word. Meija refers to a birch branch with leaves used for decoration. These are rather big branches, quite different from the little leafy bundles of birch twigs used in sauna (a “slota”). These are commonly seen at Jāņi and school graduation ceremonies.

  • meijot : to adorn with birch boughs [slider title=”conjugate me”]meijot, 2. konj.
    tag. meijoju, meijo, meijo, meijojam, meijojat
    pag. meijoju, meijoji, meijoja, meijojām, meijojāt
    nak. meijošu, meijosi, meijos, meijosim, meijosiet / meijosit
    pav. meijo, meijojiet [/slider]

    Since the noun is somewhat obscure, there’s no better time to show the associated obscure verb.

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Introduction to Adjectives

Oof, okay, I’m getting back into the swing of things. Been scrambling after coming back from vacation because of work, grad school and immigration, but hopefully things are going to calm down a little now. Honestly, I haven’t even looked at my studies in the past two weeks! I’ve been doing little translations every day but serious language studying? Not so much. The other life priorities took, well, priority. At least I didn’t catch a cold from all the traveling!

I really meant to write a long, involved grammatical post yesterday morning, but then walked outside to find yet another problem I needed to deal with that came up from the day before. It’s mostly worked out, I guess, but there’s still some lingering effects. So, this will be short though there are more posts to write in the series.

What is an Adjective?

An adjective modifies a noun. It describes it, explains it and defines it. An adjective can be definite, referring to only one specific instance of the object, or indefinite, referring to a general quality.

An adjective is called an īpašības vārds. Indefinite adjectives are referred to as nenoteiktie while definite adjectives are referred to as noteiktie.

Adjectives usually answer kāds / kāda (what kind of?) and kurš / kura (which one?) when doing sentence analysis.

Questions about colors, which are generally asked in the locative, can sometimes be answered in nominative as well as in the expected locative.

For example:  Kādā krāsā ir viņas nagi? Zili.  –> What color are her nails? Blue.

We have our suspicions as to why this is, but generally, it’s unimportant why as long as you don’t get too mixed up.

Adjectives Always Agree

This is a great, easy rule to remember: Adjectives always agree in gender, case and number with their noun. This does not imply that the endings of both the noun and adjective will be identical!

Every declinable adjective can take either masculine or feminine form. There’s a set of endings for both indefinite and definite use.

The indefinite adjectival endings are almost identical to the 1st and 4th declensions. There is no adjectival ending for the vocative case, which is where it differs from the noun endings. They can be used with any of the six declensions, as long as the gender, number and case match.

There are some adjectives that don’t decline, like rozā.  While it may look like a feminine definite adjective, it’s not considered to have a standard ending, so it doesn’t decline at all. This and other loanwords like it get treated like the indeclinable nouns, they just don’t change.

How to Decline Adjectives

Even though the indefinites are easy if you already know your nouns, I’ve filled in the chart here with them as a reference.

Masculine  | indef. |  def.  | dsk: | indef.  |  def.
Nom.  Kas? | -s, -š |  -ais  |      |   -i    |  -ie
Gen.   Kā? |   -a   |   -ā   |      |   -u    |  -o
Dat.  Kam? |   -am  |  -ajam |      |  -iem   | -ajiem
Acc.   Ko? |   -u   |   -o   |      |   -us   |  -os
Ins. Ar ko?|  ar -u |  ar -o |      | ar -iem | ar -ajiem
Loc.  Kur? |   -ā   |  -ajā  |      |   -os   |  -ajos
Voc.   --  |   --   |-ais, -o|      |   --    |  -ie

Feminine   | indef. |  def.  | dsk: | indef.  |  def.
Nom.  Kas? |   -a   |   -ā   |      |  -as    |  -ās
Gen.   Kā? |   -as  |   -ās  |      |  -u     |  -o
Dat.  Kam? |   -ai  |  -ajai |      |  -ām    |  -ajām
Acc.   Ko? |   -u   |   -o   |      |  -as    |  -ās
Ins. Ar ko?|  ar -u |  ar -o |      | ar -ām  | ar -ajām
Loc.  Kur? |   -ā   |  -ajā  |      |  -ās    |  -ajās
Voc.   --  |   --   | -ā, -o |      |   --    |  -ās
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Wordy Wednesday: Words from this Week

Work’s picked up steam again and we’re going to be off enjoying ourselves away from the computer next week, so no real updates for next week are planned. I’ve got too much to do at work and to get us ready to go! (This doesn’t mean an update won’t happen, as it still might if I have time.)

For today’s Wordy Wednesday, I figured I’d note down some of the words I had to look up this week so that I can work on remembering them better.

  • esošs : indef. adj. existing, current [slider title=”decline me”]esošs, m.
    vsk.: esošs, esoša, esošam, esošu, ar esošu, esošā
    dsk.: esoši, esošu, esošiem, esošus, ar esošiem, esošos [/slider]

    esoša : indef. adj. existing, current [slider title=”decline me”]esoša, f.
    vsk.: esoša, esošas, esošai, esošu, ar esošu, esošā
    dsk.: esošas, esošu, esošām, esošas, ar esošām, esošās [/slider]

    The definite forms of this adjective are esošais and esošā.

  • papildinājums : addition, supplement [slider title=”decline me”]papildinājums, m, 1. dekl.
    vsk.: papildinājums, papildinājuma, papildinājumam, papildinājumu, ar papildinājumu, papildinājumā
    dsk.: papildinājumi, papildinājumu, papildinājumiem, papildinājumus, ar papildinājumiem, papildinājumos [/slider]

    This seems to derive from pile, a droplet, though we might be completely off. It then seems to go to pildīt or to fill, then on to papildināt or to add to, to top off then finally finishing off as a noun, papildinājums.

  • labklājība : welfare, well-being, prosperity [slider title=”decline me”]labklājība, f, 4. dekl.
    vsk.: labklājība, labklājības, labklājībai, labklājību, ar labklājību, labklājībā
    dsk.: labklājības, labklājību, labklājībām, labklājības, ar labklājībām, labklājībās [/slider]

    As you can see, labs is used as a stem here. I believe this is a compound of labs and klāties. Klāties is difficult to define (my dictionary doesn’t define it except with idioms) but basically means doing or faring as in “how are you doing?”. So it is sort of like welfare.

    The plural is included for completeness though it is not commonly used.

  • īpašnieks : owner or proprietor (male or unknown) [slider title=”decline me”]īpašnieks, m, 1. dekl.
    vsk.: īpašnieks, īpašnieka, īpašniekam, īpašnieku, ar īpašnieku, īpašniekā
    dsk.: īpašnieki, īpašnieku, īpašniekiem, īpašniekus, ar īpašniekiem, īpašniekos [/slider]

    īpašniece : owner or proprietor (female) [slider title=”decline me”]īpašnieks, f, 5. dekl.
    vsk.: īpašniece, īpašnieces, īpašniecei, īpašnieci, ar īpašnieci, īpašniecē
    dsk.: īpašnices, īpašnieču, īpašniecēm, īpašnices, ar īpašniecēm, īpašniecēs [/slider]

    What’s interesting here is the īpaš- stem. There are two related words: īpašs, which means special or particular; and, īpašums, which means property, assets or effects. Most likely all three words are directly related, but it’s hard to know for sure.

  • smeldze : smarting or stinging pain, ache [slider title=”decline me”]smeldze, f, 5. dekl.
    vsk.: smeldze, smeldzes, smeldzei, smeldzi, ar smeldzi, smeldzē
    dsk.: smeldzes, smeldžu, smeldzēm, smeldzes, ar smeldzēm, smeldzēs[/slider]

    The superlative form of the adjectival version of this noun, smeldzīgākais, is really clumsy to translate into English.

  • vienlīdzīgs : adj. equal (to) [slider title=”decline me”]vienlīdzīgs, m
    vsk.: vienlīdzīgs, vienlīdzīga, vienlīdzīgam, vienlīdzīgu, ar vienlīdzīgu, vienlīdzīgā
    dsk.: vienlīdzīgi, vienlīdzīgu, vienlīdzīgiem, vienlīdzīgus, ar vienlīdzīgiem, vienlīdzīgos [/slider]

    vienlīdzīga : adj. equal (to) [slider title=”decline me”]vienlīdzīga, f
    vsk.: vienlīdzīga, vienlīdzīgas, vienlīdzīgai, vienlīdzīgu, ar vienlīdzīgu, vienlīdzīgā
    dsk.: vienlīdzīgas, vienlīdzīgu, vienlīdzīgām, vienlīdzīgas, ar vienlīdzīgām, vienlīdzīgās [/slider]

    This is used as in “equal rights” – vienlīdzīgas tiesības.

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Wordy Wednesday: Some Fun with Pasaka

I took a bit of a break the past couple of weeks from Wordy Wednesdays so I could focus on some longer, more involved posts. Today, I thought I’d explore pasaka – which, as it turns out, makes new words every time you remove a letter from the start of it. The ending letter, a, isn’t really a word (though I guess you could make the case that it can be used as an onomatopoeic exclamation).

  • pasaka : fairy tale [slider title=”decline me”]pasaka, f, 4. dekl.
    vsk.: pasaka, pasakas, pasakai, pasaku, ar pasaku, pasakā
    dsk.: pasakas, pasaku, pasakām, pasakas, ar pasakām, pasakās [/slider]

    Unlike the way fairy tale is often used in English, pasaka refers to most types of folktales and folk-stories that are fictional. It’s not a specific genre or sub-group as you sometimes find in English, where I would never find American Indian folk-stories referred to as “fairy tales”, for example. In non-folkloric usage, it generally refers to stories that are similar to traditional folk-stories. Pasakas are not myths, however, as they do not purport to be historical.

  • asaka : fish-bone [slider title=”decline me”]asaka, f, 4. dekl.
    vsk.: asaka, asakas, asakai, asaku, ar asaku, asakā
    dsk.: asakas, asaku, asakām, asakas, ar asakām, asakās [/slider]

    Don’t try to refer to the bones of a fish as kauli. They’re asakas. All other types of critters have kauli for bones.

  • saka, from sacīt : he/she tells from to tell, to say [slider title=”conjugate me”] sacīt, 3. konj. (mixed)
    tag. saku, saki, saka, sakām, sakāt
    pag. sacīju, sacīji, sacīja, sacījām, sacījāt
    nak. sacīšu, sacīsi, sacīs, sacīsim, sacīsiet / sacīsit
    pav. saki, sakiet [/slider]

    This is a synonym for teikt. You’ll come across these two verbs a lot in books! Also, pasaka is derived from sacīt. It’s sort of a telling, you might say, or even a re-telling, which both make sense for a story.

  • aka : well [slider title=”decline me”]aka, f, 4. dekl.
    vsk.: aka, akas, akai, aku, ar aku, akā
    dsk.: akas, aku, akām, akas, ar akām, akās [/slider]

    There’s not much that I can think of to say about wells. They’re important because this is where viensētas would obtain water from if they were not near a stream, spring or other water-source. It’s a fun word to say too.

  • ka : that (non-demonstrative)

    This is not the same kind of “that” as tas. This is the kind of “that” to pair with tāpēc to make “because of that”, saka or teica for “says that”, or with to make “so that”. It’s also used by itself to start subordinate clauses such as in this example given in my dictionary: man bija žēl, ka tevis tur nebija – “I was sorry that you weren’t there”.

  • stāstīt : to tell a story [slider title=”conjugate me”]stāstīt, 3. konj. (mixed)
    tag. stāstu, stāsti, stāsta, stāstām, stāstāt
    pag. stāstīju, stāstīji, stāstīja, stāstījām, stāstījāt
    nak. stāstīšu, stāstīsi, stāstīs, stāstīsim, stāstīsiet / stāstīsit
    pav. stāsti, stāstiet [/slider]

    Of course, it wouldn’t be complete without the relevant verb for telling a story!

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