Latvian Conjugations

Latvian has three conjugations for verbs: Short, Long and Mixed.  They can also be referred to as the 1st, 2nd and 3rd conjugations, respectively, but that nomenclature isn’t always consistent.

To determine whether a verb fits into the short, long or mixed conjugation, apply the following rules:

  1. If the infinitive form has one syllable, it is a short conjugation verb.
  2. If the infinitive form has more than one syllable and the first person present form is identical to the first person simple past form, it is a long conjugation verb.
  3. If the infinitive has more than one syllable and the first person present is different from the first person simple past form, it is a mixed conjugation verb.

However, you also have to remember that prefixes, such as ap, at, pie, etc., do not count as syllables. So, pienākt is a short conjugation verb because it is nākt plus a prefix.

Even though reflexive verbs add an –ies to the end of the infinitive, they still follow the rules.  You can drop the -ies to help you determine whether the infinitive is one syllable (ceļties -> ceļt) and look at the first person present and past forms.  If they are the same, the verb belongs to the long conjugation.

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