Wordy Wednesday: Pet Edition

I love the way Latvian creates the word for pet. Since my little furballs are an important part of my life, today’s Wordy Wednesday is all about our furry, four-footed friends.

  • dzīvot : to live [slider title=”conjugate me”]
    dzīvot, 2. konj. (long)
    tag. dzīvoju, dzīvo, dzīvo, dzīvojam, dzīvojat
    pag. dzīvoju, dzīvoji, dzīvoja, dzīvojām, dzīvojāt
    nak. dzīvošu, dzīvosi, dzīvos, dzīvosim, dzīvosit / dzīvosiet
    pav. dzīvo, dzīvojiet [/slider]

    The root seen here in dzīvot is commonly used in word-building. It’s used in several compounds, including dzīvnieks below and dzīvoklis (an apartment or flat).

  • dzīvnieks : animal  [slider title=”decline me”]
    dzīvnieks, m, 1. dekl.
    vsk.: dzīvnieks, dzīvnieka, dzīvniekam, dzīvnieku, ar dzīvnieku, dzīvniekā
    dsk.: dzīvnieki, dzīvnieku, dzīvniekiem, dzīvniekus, ar dzīvniekiem, dzīvniekos[/slider]

    Literally a “living thing”, this refers to any type of living animal, including insects.

  • mājdzīvnieks : pet, housepet  [slider title=”decline me”]
    mājdzīvnieks, m, 1. dekl.
    vsk.: mājdzīvnieks, mājdzīvnieka, mājdzīniekam, mājdzīvnieku, ar mājdzīvnieku, mājdzīvniekā
    dsk.: mājdzīvnieki, mājdzīvnieku, mājdzīvniekiem, mājdzīvniekus, ar mājdzīvniekiem, mājdzīvniekos[/slider]

    This compound is created from māja + dvīvnieks = a house animal = housepet = pet. I just think this is such a neat way to refer to a pet.

  • kaķis : male (or unknown) cat  [slider title=”decline me”]
    kaķis, m, 2. dekl.
    vsk.: kaķis, kaķa, kaķim, kaķi, ar kaķi, kaķī
    dsk.: kaķi, kaķu, kaķiem, kaķus, ar kaķiem, kaķos [/slider]

    kaķene : female cat  [slider title=”decline me”]
    kaķene, f, 5. dekl.
    vsk.: kaķene, kaķenes, kaķenei, kaķeni, ar kaķeni, kaķenē
    dsk.: kaķenes, kaķeņu, kaķenēm, kaķenes, ar kaķenēm, kaķenēs[/slider]

    Gender differences matter, even with pets. Unlike with English, where it can be impossible to tell if little Midnight is a boy or girl, Latvian always makes gender differences clear in names. Therefore, if you know that Grācija is the name of my cat, you’d then need to refer to her as my kaķene instead of my kaķis. If you don’t know, however, a cat of any sort is a kaķis.

  • runcis : tomcat  [slider title=”decline me”]
    runcis, m., 2. dekl.
    vsk.: runcis, runča, runcim, runci, ar runci, runcī
    dsk.: runči, runču, runčiem, runčus, ar runčiem, runčos[/slider]

    As with our word for tomcat, a runcis can refer to a male cat or a big bruiser of a cat. Puss in Boots is called Runcis Zābakos, for example.

  • suns : dog  [slider title=”decline me”]
    suns, m, 2. dekl. exc.
    vsk.: suns, suns/suņa, sunim, suni, ar suni, sunī
    dsk.: suņi, suņu, suņiem, suņus, ar suņiem, suņos[/slider]
    This is one of the 2nd declension exception nouns. According to my references, the 2nd singular genitive should be suns. According to my husband, the 2nd singular genitive should be suņa. Personally, I think that I will go with how he says it because I’d rather speak how a native does than perfectly by the book. Go with what you prefer.
  • kuce : female dog, bitch  [slider title=”decline me”]
    kuce, f, 5. dekl.
    vsk.: kuce, kuces, kucei, kuci, ar kuci, kucē
    dsk.: kuces, kuču, kucēm, kuces, ar kucēm, kucēs[/slider]

    As with cats, so with dogs. Also, when kuce is applied to people, it means exactly the same thing as it does in English.

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2 Responses to Wordy Wednesday: Pet Edition

  1. Eric Becker says:

    Thanks again for continuing to feed us really interesting information on Latvian! Especially stuff that transcends grammar.

    But on the topic of grammar, would it be possible for you to do a Reflexive verbs post? While I have their conjugational paradigms, their use really confuses me. Such as how to use them with the accusative ie. “I learn a language” with Maaciities and other uses of reflexive verbs. I have Teach Yourself Latvian, but its coverage of reflexive verbs isn’t very deep.

    Paldies!

  2. Cori Rozentāle says:

    I’m glad you’re enjoying it! :)

    Sure, I can do a post on reflexives. Look for it later this week or first part of next.

    Also: I am learning a language. –> Es mācos valodu. (Es is optional as usual.)

    Because of the lack of an article, this is an incomplete sentence in Latvian. It doesn’t work without saying what kind of language is being learned. A better sentence would be: Es mācos latviešu valodu.

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