Verb Stems

I’ve already told you that I think it’s important to learn verbs with three forms: the infinitive, 1st person present singular, 1st person past singular.  Here’s why:

With these three forms, you can create the three stems necessary for building any verb form and type.  Those are the infinitive stem, present stem and past stem.  You also know the conjugation itself and can then conjugate it correctly.

Infinitive Stem

To form the infinitive stem, drop the -t/-ties ending from the infinitive form.  Latvian infinitives always end in -t or -ties.

Drop the -t from domāt to form domā.

Drop the -ties from rotāties to form rotā.

You can now construct:

  1. the infinitive
  2. the simple future
  3. the subjunctive
  4. the past passive participle (-ts)
  5. the -dams participle

Present Stem

Form the present stem by dropping the -u ending from the 1st person present singular form.

Short: Nāku becomes nāk.

Long: Domāju becomes domāj.

Mixed: Sveicinu becomes sveicin.

You can now construct:

  1. the simple present
  2. the debitive
  3. the imperative
  4. the relative
  5. the present active participle (-ošs)
  6. the present passive participle (-ams)
  7. the -ot participle
  8. the -am participle

Past Stem

As with the present stem, we form the past stem by dropping the -u from the 1st person past singular from.

Short: Nācu becomes nāc.

Long: Domāju becomes domāj.

Mixed: Sveicināju becomes sveicināj.

You can now construct:

  1. the simple past (indicative)
  2. the past active participle (-is)

In Conclusion

You can see how knowing the three forms shows you that domāt is a long conjugation verb while sveicināt is a mixed conjugation verb.

Reference: Baltic Online: Lesson 8

Vocabulary in this post:»

rotāties: long : to play
nākt: short : to come
sveicināt: mixed : to greet
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