Wordy Wednesday – Moro

I hope you had fun with the audio and text of Moro! As you can see from the text, even though Moro is intended for elementary school kids, there’s a lot of complicated grammar and vocabulary. Poetry makes everything more complicated, but I hope that you were able to hear some of the rhythm and how the different sounds worked, like the macrons. We had a lot of fun with it, so we’ll be doing some different audio posts in the future too. (For one, audio will let me write about ēst!)

I thought I’d write about some of the vocabulary used in Moro for this week’s Wordy Wednesday.

  • godāt : to honor, respect or revere conjugate me»

    This is probably one of the more challenging parts of Moro (at least for beginners) and it shows up in the first two lines! Godā can look like either a verb or a noun! It’s hardly fair. In Moro’s case, the verb is on line 1 and the noun is on line 2.

  • gods : honor decline me»

    This is an extremely flexible word, easily as flexible as honor is in English with all sorts of little phrases and idiomatic expressions used with it.

  • cinis : mound, hillock or knoll decline me»

    This word is a bit archaic, both in Latvian and in English. However, if you study Latvian folktales or stories at all, you’ll come across this one pretty frequently.

    There is a little proverb with the diminutive form of this word too: “Mazs cinītis gāž lielu vezumu.” This means roughly: “A tiny mound fells the great cartload.” However, my dictionary translates it as a different proverb: “Little strokes fell great oaks” which doesn’t quite have the same feel as the original. Ahhh, translation.

  • valsts : country decline me»

    This is a bit confusing. Even though valsts looks like a 1st declension masculine noun, it is actually a feminine 6th declension noun. All countries are considered feminine, just like all rivers are feminine and all lakes are masculine. It simply is. This also applies to names of countries – Latvija, with its -a ending, is obviously feminine, as is Nīderlande.

    Also note that the plural genitive here does not get palatalized. If you palatalized the -t, you would then get a -š next to a -s and that would be very, very strange! Not to mention difficult to pronounce. So, it doesn’t change.

  • pavalstnieks : subject, citizen decline me»

    To create this word, we combine three different things together: the prefix pa- for “sub” + valsts for “country” + the suffix -nieks for “person” to create a “subject” under a ruler, in this case, a prince.

    Pa- can be used for “sub” or “under”, which is kinda different from the “under” given by zem-. There’s a few words that deal with being figuratively “under” someone else in a hierarchy and they all start with pa-, like padotais (an underling) or pavaldonis (a regent).

    As shown in previous Wordy Wednesdays, the suffix -nieks changes to -niece for women, so a female citizen is a pavalstniece.

  • apkrākāt : to crow, to caw conjugate me»

    This is fun. This is not a real word! (At least, it isn’t a word given in ANY of my dictionaries, online or offline.) It’s a created word for the passage and is onomatopoeic of a crow’s caw. As with English, Latvian allows you to play around and create words — provided you play by the rules and conjugate (or decline) it properly. Now, which set of rules?

    It’s pretty clear that apkrākāt has to be either 2nd or 3rd (long or mixed) and cannot be 1st which would require it to be one syllable after the ap-. Artis looked at it and said that obviously it is long. Why? Because it sounds better. It just doesn’t sound good in mixed, doesn’t work and probably because it doesn’t sound like a crow as much in the mixed, he says. If it were in mixed, you’d lose the final -ā-, and you’d lose a lot of the sound of a crow.

    Me, I clearly have a ways to go on training my “ear” for what sounds “right” in the language but I have to agree that it sounds more like a crow in the long than the mixed.

godāt, 2. konj.
tag. godāju, godā, godā, godājam, godājat
pag. godāju, godāji, godāja, godājām, godājāt
nak. godāšu, godāsi, godās, godāsim, godāsiet / godāsit
pav. godā, godājiet Powered by Hackadelic Sliding Notes 1.6.5
gods, m, 1. dekl.
vsk.: gods, goda, godam, godu, ar godu, godā
dsk.: godi, godu, godiem, godus, ar godiem, godos Powered by Hackadelic Sliding Notes 1.6.5
cinis, m, 2. dekl.
vsk.: cinis, ciņa, cinim, cini, ar cini, cinī
dsk.: ciņi, ciņu, ciņiem, ciņus, ar ciņiem, ciņos Powered by Hackadelic Sliding Notes 1.6.5
valsts, f, 6. dekl.
vsk.: valsts, valsts, valstij, valsti, ar valsti, valstī
dsk.: valstis, valstu, valstīm, valstis, ar valstīm, valstīs Powered by Hackadelic Sliding Notes 1.6.5
pavalstnieks, m, 1. dekl.
vsk.: pavalstnieks, pavalstnieka, pavalstniekam, pavalstnieku, ar pavalstnieku, pavalstniekā
dsk.: pavalstnieki, pavalstnieku, pavalstniekiem, pavalstniekus, ar pavalstniekiem, pavalstniekos Powered by Hackadelic Sliding Notes 1.6.5
apkrākāt, 2. konj.
tag. apkrākāju, apkrākā, apkrākā, apkrākājam, apkrākājat
pag. apkrākāju, apkrākāji, apkrākāja, apkrākājām, apkrākājāt
nak. apkrākāšu, apkrākāsi, apkrākās, apkrākāsim, apkrākāsiet / apkrākāsit
pav. apkrākā, apkrākājiet Powered by Hackadelic Sliding Notes 1.6.5
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Text – A Reading from Moro

As promised, here is the text of the passage. I’ve also linked the audio again so that you can listen and read along if you choose.

Suņu karaļa Moro piedzīvojumi
Žanis Grīva

Es esmu Moro — spaniels, tā visi mani godā,
Un apburts Melnā prinča dēls, celts karaliskā godā.
Man valsts nav liela, jāatzīst — tik viena sēta dota,
No visām pusēm arī tā ir stingri iežogota.

Man pavalstnieku nav tik daudz, ir kāda vārna Grieta,
Tai dižas priedes galotnē ir lepna ligzda slieta.
Tā mani nikni apkrākā, pat dažkārt uzbrukt tīko —
Mans karaliskais mundieris nemaz tai nepatīkot.

Kas vainas manam mundierim? Tas saulē spīd un laistās,
Ap kaklu balta kravate un svārki melni, skaisti.
Es samta biksēs staigāju un baltos zābaciņos,
Tie mani nes un neķeras nedz krūmājos, nedz ciņos.

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Audio – A Reading from Moro

Artis has kindly agreed to record a page from a children’s poetry book so that those of you who are not in Latvia and don’t have much exposure to native speech patterns can listen to a slower, relatively low-key reading.

If you feel up to it, you can treat this as a basic diktāts. A diktāts can be roughly translated as a dictation. In Latvian schools, the teacher will read a passage and the students are expected to write as she speaks. It basically helps train their ears, spelling and grammar abilities. (This isn’t a beginning diktāts though, if it were, Artis would also repeat the lines slower and provide the punctuation marks.)

We chose a page from “Suņu karaļa Moro piedzīvojumi” by Žanis Grīva, a children’s book of poetry about the adventures of a little dog named Moro. There are three stanzas and each are four lines long. Your job is to listen and, if you are up to it, write or translate what you hear. Do the best you can and pause or replay the audio as you need to.

I will post the text of the passage on Monday. Feedback’s appreciated – if this helps you, if you hate it and wish I’d never brought it up, or if you want this to be a regular feature, please let us know in the comments.

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Wordy Wednesday: All About Slims

I don’t know about you, but something is going around in our area. Both Artis and I were sick and miserable for days and the crud is lingering on. At least it’s not keeping us up at night or keeping me from working!

So, let’s have some fun with being sick and do some words based on slims!

  • slims : adj. sick decline me»

    slima : adj. sick decline me»

    This is an adjective, which means it modifies nouns. Because of this, it can take either gender and has gender-appropriate endings. Yes, I still need to write about both adverbs and adjectives.

  • slimot : to be sick, to ail conjugate me»

    Unlike sāpēt, slimot is just a normal verb, so don’t get the two mixed up. Sāpēt needs a dative construction, such as man sāp galva, slimot doesn’t.

  • slimība : disease decline me»

    You could think of this as a “thing that makes one sick”. Pretty neat, huh?

  • slimnieks : (male) patient decline me»

    slimniece : (female) patient decline me»

    -nieks is the suffix for person, so a slimnieks is a sick-person or patient!

  • slimīgs : adj. sickly decline me»

    slimīga : adj. sickly decline me»

    Another adjective. Notice that both sets of adjectives here conform to the 1st and 4th declensions, as is typical for adjectives. The declension of the noun is irrelevant, only the gender, number and case. The adjective must match all three.

If you are wondering why I left out slimnīca, it’s because I featured it on March 2nd’s Wordy Wednesday.

slims, m, adj.
vsk.: slims, slima, slimam, slimu, ar slimu, slimā
dsk.: slimi, slimu, slimiem, slimus, ar slimiem, slimos Powered by Hackadelic Sliding Notes 1.6.5
slima, f, adj.
vsk.: slima, slimas, slimai, slimu, ar slimu, slimā
dsk.: slimas, slimu, slimām, slimas, ar slimām, slimās Powered by Hackadelic Sliding Notes 1.6.5
slimot, 2. konj.
tag. slimoju, slimo, slimo, slimojam, slimojat
pag. slimoju, slimoji, slimoja, slimojām, slimojāt
nak. slimošu, slimosi, slimos, slimosim, slimosiet / slimosit
pav. slimo, slimojiet Powered by Hackadelic Sliding Notes 1.6.5
slimība, f, 4. dekl.
vsk.: slimība, slimības, slimībai, slimību, ar slimību, slimībā
dsk.: slimības, slimību, slimībām, slimības, ar slimībām, slimībās Powered by Hackadelic Sliding Notes 1.6.5
slimnieks, m, 1. dekl.
vsk.: slimnieks, slimnieka, slimniekam, slimnieku, ar slimnieku, slimniekā
dsk.: slimnieki, slimnieku, slimniekiem, slimniekus, ar slimniekiem, slimniekos Powered by Hackadelic Sliding Notes 1.6.5
slimniece, f, 5. dekl.
vsk.: slimniece, slimnieces, slimniecei, slimnieci, ar slimnieci, slimniecē
dsk.: slimnieces, slimnieču, slimniecēm, slimnieces, ar slimniecēm, slimniecēs Powered by Hackadelic Sliding Notes 1.6.5
slimīgs, m, adj.
vsk.: slimīgs, slimīga, slimīgam, slimīgu, ar slimīgu, slimīgā
dsk.: slimīgi, slimīgu, slimīgiem, slimīgus, ar slimīgiem, slimīgos Powered by Hackadelic Sliding Notes 1.6.5
slimīga, f, adj.
vsk.: slimīga, slimīgas, slimīgai, slimīgu, ar slimīgu, slimīgā
dsk.: slimīgas, slimīgu, slimīgām, slimīgas, ar slimīgām, slimīgās Powered by Hackadelic Sliding Notes 1.6.5
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I hate being sick.

I know, I missed Wordy Wednesday. I slept for most of Wednesday, blearily looked at the blog and decided I probably wasn’t competent enough to look at a draft and figure out what needed to be rewritten or doublechecked before posting.

It’s a doozy of a cold. My graduate term paper is due next week and I’d planned to get stuff up for the blog before this came up. Sheesh. Time flies. I’d better get busy once my head isn’t so stuffed with cotton!

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Wordy Wednesday: Modes of Transportation II

Let’s finish last week’s Wordy Wednesday topic off today!

  • lidot : to fly conjugate me»

    Interestingly, one of the most popular restaurant chains in Latvia is named Lido. I’m told there’s no relation, however.

  • lidosta : airport decline me»

    Yep, built from lidot, a lidosta is a place for flying. There is a Lido in Rīgas lidosta!

  • taksometrs : taxi, cab decline me»

    From how this one is built, I wonder if the word “taxi” was brought over and combined with the “meter” that runs inside of it to illustrate that this form of travel is metered by time and distance rather than how everything else works.

  • zebra : zebra, coll. crosswalk decline me»

    How cute is that? I think this is probably from British slang, since we don’t use it here in America. We ought to, it’s a fun way to refer to crosswalks. The crosswalks do somewhat look like zebra stripes, after all.

  • ietve : sidewalk decline me»

    The iet you see is the infinitive for “to go” and the word is structured around it. Essentially a sidewalk is a place you go or walk.

  • gājējs : pedestrian decline me»

    All the js make this one a pain to type. A pedestrian is a “going person” – there isn’t a specific verb for “to walk”, instead it’s classed as “to go” as you can see in the related word for sidewalk. My husband tells me that he thinks the past tense of iet is used because the present would make it sound terrible. Iejējs? Ugh, talk about hard to say.

lidot, 2. konj. (long)
tag. lidoju, lido, lido, lidojam, lidojat
pag.lidoju, lidoji, lidoja, lidojām, lidojāt
nak.lidošu, lidosi, lidos, lidosim, lidosiet / lidosit
pav. lido, lidojietPowered by Hackadelic Sliding Notes 1.6.5
lidosta, f, 4. dekl.
vsk.: lidosta, lidostas, lidostai, lidostu, ar lidostu, lidostā
dsk.: lidostas, lidostu, lidostām, lidostas, ar lidostām, lidostāsPowered by Hackadelic Sliding Notes 1.6.5
taksometrs, m, 1. dekl.
vsk.: taksometrs, taksometra, taksometram, taksometru, ar taksometru, taksometrā
dsk.: taksometri, taksometru, taksometriem, taksometrus, ar taksometriem, taksometros Powered by Hackadelic Sliding Notes 1.6.5
zebra, f, 4. dekl.
vsk.: zebra, zebras, zebrai, zebru, ar zebru, zebrā
dsk.: zebras, zebru, zebrām, zebras, ar zebrām, zebrāsPowered by Hackadelic Sliding Notes 1.6.5
ietve, f, 5. dekl.
vsk.: ietve, ietves, ietvei, ietvi, ar ietvi, ietvē
dsk.: ietves, ietvju, ietvēm, ietves, ar ietvēm, ietvēsPowered by Hackadelic Sliding Notes 1.6.5
gājējs, m, 1. dekl.
vsk.: gājējs, gājēja, gājējam, gājēju, ar gājēju, gājējā
dsk.: gājēji, gājēju, gājējiem, gājējus, ar gājējiem, gājējosPowered by Hackadelic Sliding Notes 1.6.5
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Wordy Wednesday: Modes of Transportation I

Lots of driving today for us as Spring is finally here! We had fun going to various markets and picking up fresh, seasonal veggies to enjoy all week. What we do with those veggies is a topic for the other blog, so instead let’s talk about different ways you can get around Latvia.

Surprisingly, or perhaps not so surprisingly, there are more options in Liepāja alone than there in many American cities! Salt Lake, for example, really only has buses and light-rail. Of course, we’re rather behind when it comes to mass transit.

A little late today, but hey, it’s still Wednesday somewhere, right? Let’s get to it.

  • dzelzceļš : railroad decline me»

    This is neat. Dzelzs means iron and ceļš means road, so a railroad means literally, iron road, which makes a ton of sense. Unfortunately, the word for locomotive is simply lokomotīve instead of our more fun colloquialism of “iron horse” which would have suited beautifully.

    A railroad station is a dzelceļa stacija.

  • tramvajs : tram, streetcar decline me»

    If you want to take the tram in Liepāja, you can usually pick up tickets at a discount at Narvesen kiosks, or you can buy tickets from the driver. Another word for trams, at least in our area here, is light-rail.

    A tram stop is a tramvaja pietura.

  • autobuss : bus decline me»

    When getting on a Latvian bus, look around for the conductor to buy a ticket. You can spot them by the rolls of tickets crossing their chests on bandoliers. If there isn’t a conductor, buy a ticket from the driver.

    If you hear the phrases, “galapunkts” or “lūdzu izkāpiet” – it’s time to get off! You’ve reached the end of the line.

    A bus stop is an autobusa pietura while a bus terminal is an autoosta.

  • trolejbuss : trolley decline me»

    The difference between a bus and a trolley is that a trolley runs on overhead electric wires.

    A trolley stop is a trolejbusa pietura.

  • mikroautobuss : minibus, shuttle, microbus decline me»

    You can also shorten it to mikriņš. We don’t have very many shuttle routes that are open to public use here in Western America (shuttles are primarily for corporate use), but they are commonly used all over Latvia to service various routes. The claustrophobic or the socially anxious would be well advised to steer clear of these. You’ll talk with the driver who will charge you for your ticket based on how far you need to go unless you’re on a route that has a flat fee (which he will tell you).

    A mikriņš stops at a mikroautobusa pietura. However, unlike traditional buses, these do not stop unless you flag them or request to exit. On rural routes, they are often willing to stop at any given point requested along the route. To request a stop, say “Lūdzu pieturiet šeit” or “Please stop here”. In this way, they are more like cabs.

  • braukt : to drive conjugate me»

    One of the essential Latvian verbs to know, braukt is used to refer to traveling via any means of wheeled ground transportation regardless of whether or not you are the driver. This can make it difficult to translate well as English assumes that if you are driving, you are the driver. Latvian makes no such assumption and applies the verb equally to both drivers and passengers.

dzelzceļš, m, 1. dekl.
vsk.: dzelzceļš, dzelzceļa, dzelzceļam, dzelzceļu, ar dzelzceļu, dzelzceļā
dsk.: dzelzceļi, dzelzceļu, dzelzceļiem, dzelzceļus, ar dzelzceļiem, dzelzceļos Powered by Hackadelic Sliding Notes 1.6.5
tramvajs, m, 1. dekl.
vsk.: tramvajs, tramvaja, tramvajam, tramvaju, ar tramvaju, tramvajā
dsk.: tramvaji, tramvaju, tramvajiem, tramvajus, ar tramvajiem, tramvajos Powered by Hackadelic Sliding Notes 1.6.5
autobuss, m, 1. dekl.
vsk.: autobuss, autobusa, autobusam, autobusu, ar autobusu, autobusā
dsk.: autobusi, autobusu, autobusiem, autobusus, ar autobusiem, autobusos Powered by Hackadelic Sliding Notes 1.6.5
trolejbuss, m, 1. dekl.
vsk.: trolejbuss, trolejbusa, trolejbusam, trolejbusu, ar trolejbusu, trolejbusā
dsk.: trolejbusi, trolejbusu, trolejbusiem, trolejbusus, ar trolejbusiem, trolejbusos Powered by Hackadelic Sliding Notes 1.6.5
mikroautobuss, m, 1. dekl.
vsk.: mikroautobuss, mikroautobusa, mikoautobusam, mikroautobusu, ar mikroautobusu, mikroautobusā
dsk.: mikroautobusi, mikroautobusu, mikroautobusiem, mikroautobusus, ar mikroautobusiem, mikroautobusos Powered by Hackadelic Sliding Notes 1.6.5
braukt, 1. konj. (short)
tag. braucu, brauc, brauc, braucam, braucat
pag. braucu, brauci, brauca, braucām, braucāt
nak. braukšu, brauksi, brauks, brauksim, brauksiet / brauksit
pav. brauc, brauciet Powered by Hackadelic Sliding Notes 1.6.5
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