Wordy Wednesday: Knit One, Purl Two

While listening to Greizie Rati, one of the riddles was as follows:

Krustām, šķērsām taisīts koka aploks -- ganiņš gana tūkstošiem aitiņu.
A corral made of criss-crossed wood, a shepherd shepherds thousands of little sheep.

The answer? Knitting! More precisely, knitting on double-pointed needles.

I've recently taken up knitting myself and I thought the riddle was an amazingly cute way to refer to it. Latvians have a culture rich in textiles of all sorts, but particularly in linen and wool. Their patterns are complex and colorful, with Latvian mittens in particular being very popular among knitters around the world.

If you're lucky enough to be in Latvia during Christmas, you should go to one of the Christmas Markets. If you're too early, don't despair! All throughout Vecrīga, little stands will be set up with all sorts of holiday items, including lots and lots of cimdi and zeķes. (Of course, many such stands are up all the time, but more show up around Christmas.) You can even find such stands in malls like Ostmala and Kurzeme in Liepāja. You can't pass up a good pair of mittens or socks, knitted by hand and super-warm.

  • vilna : wool [slider title="decline me"] vilna , f, 4. dekl.
    vsk.: vilna, vilnas, vilnai, vilnu, ar vilnu, vilnā
    dsk.: vilnas, vilnu, vilnām, vilnas, ar vilnām, vilnās[/slider]

Wool, much as in English, is primarily used in the singular. It's considered basically uncountable. (Ever try to count a sheep's hairs? Yeah, good luck.) A sheepskin would be an aitāda , a fleece would be a cirpums no vienas aitas which translates to "the shearing from a single sheep", and vilna refers to the fluff that makes up yarn and textiles or is processed into such.

  • aita : sheep, mutton [slider title="decline me"] aita , f, 4. dekl.
    vsk.: aita, aitas, aitai, aitu, ar aitu, aitā
    dsk.: aitas, aitu, aitām, aitas, ar aitām, aitās[/slider]

Interestingly, Latvians do not have separate words for the animal and the meat. Some, like pork, might get gaļa (meat) added on. Aita does not.

  • cimdi : mittens [slider title="decline me"] cimdi , m, 1. dekl.
    vsk.: cimds, cimda, cimdam, cimdu, ar cimdu, cimdā
    dsk.: cimdi, cimdu, cimdiem, cimdus, ar cimdiem, cimdos[/slider]

Latvian maidens used to knit many, many pairs of mittens for their dowries. Usually this would be between 50 and 80 pairs, according to some historical references I've found, but some maidens (who apparently really got on a roll) would produce several hundred pairs of mittens! (One reportedly had a stash of 800 pairs. Now that's a knitter!) As with other elements of the traditional dress in Latvia, every area has its own individual patterns and colors.

A great reference (and one I still need to buy for myself) is Latvian Mittens/Latviešu Cimdi: Traditional Designs & Techniques by Lizbeth Upitis. This book not only has patterns and color reference pictures of mittens from all over Latvia, but it is dual-language!

  • adata : needle [slider title="decline me"] adata , f, 4. dekl.
    vsk.: adata, adatas, adatai, adatu, ar adatu, adatā
    dsk.: adatas, adatu, adatām, adatas, ar adatām, adatās[/slider]

No Wednesday on knitting would be complete without the trademark of a knitter: the needles. In fact, that's even where the verb comes from, which we'll see below.

  • adīt : to knit [slider title="conjugate me"] adīt , 3. konj. (mixed)
    tag. adu, adi, ada, adām, adāt
    pag. adīju, adīji, adīja, adījām, adījāt
    nak. adīšu, adīsi, adīs, adīsim, adīsiet / adīsit
    pav. adi, adiet [/slider]

Added bonus: Any knitter who reads this will immediately think, "Yes, but how do I purl?" Unlike in English, it actually makes sense in Latvian. After all, a knit is a purl, only backwards.

adīt kreiliski : to knit left-handedly : to purl

  • zeķe : sock [slider title="decline me"] zeķe , f, 5. dekl.
    vsk.: zeķe, zeķes, zeķei, zeķi, ar zeķi, zeķē
    dsk.: zeķes, zeķu, zeķēm, zeķes, ar zeķēm, zeķēs [/slider]

Hand-knit socks are marvelous things. I have two pairs: a cream lace pair and a grey kitty pair. Totally worth it. My mother-in-law gave me the cream pair to keep me warm in the hospital (and I have thanked her ever since).

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.


It's Time for Some Time

Did you know that Latvians don't exclusively use a 12 hour clock like we Americans do? They often use a 24 hour clock instead! When translating times for 24 hour clocks, remember to add 12 to PM times - 2:00 pm is equal to 14:00.

Formally, times are posted using a 24 hour clock but informally, Latvians often use the 12 hour clock and specify when needed for uncommon or ambiguous times. It depends on the speaker which they will use in any given situation. As with English, context will take care of most of the ambiguity.

How to express AM and PM

There isn't a direct equivalent of AM and PM, instead phrases equivalent to "in the morning" or "in the afternoon" are used, which makes rather more sense than our AM/PM conventions. (I mean really, ante-meridian and post-meridian? When's the last time you actually thought about what AM or PM means?)

AM would be expressed as:

  • no rīta - in the morning
  • pa nakti - during the night, at night
  • naktī - in the night

PM is a bit more difficult. Potential translations include:

  • pa dienu - during the day
  • dienā - in the day, during the day (this doesn't translate well)
  • pēcpusdienā - in the afternoon, after midday
  • vakarā - in the evening

What about midnight?

To avoid confusion, the start of the day on a 24 hour clock is 00, the end is 24. Thus, a 24-hour shop is open from 00 to 24.

If you wanted to meet someone later that night at midnight, you would meet them at 24, but if you needed to wake up at midnight to make it to work for a graveyard shift, you would be up at 00.

Wordy Wednesday: Mmmm!

Lately, my husband has really gotten into baking. He loves it! So in honor of all the wonderful bread he's been providing us, today's Wordy Wednesday is all about baking.

  • maize : bread [slider title="decline me"] maize , f., 5. dekl.
    vsk.: maize, maizes, maizei, maizi, ar maizi, maizē
    dsk.: maizes, maižu, maizēm, maizes, ar maizēm, maizēs [/slider]

The most important facet of Latvian cuisine - bread. A Latvian dark rye bread is 100% rye flour with yeast and water plus maybe some salt, honey or caraway. There is no wheat. It's dense, chewy, intense and filling. But, since this isn't my food blog, I'll stop there. :)

  • maiznīca : bakery [slider title="decline me"] maiznīca , f., 4. dekl.
    vsk.: maiznīca, maiznīcas, maiznīcai, maiznīcu, ar maiznīcu, maiznīcā
    dsk.: maiznīcas, maiznīcu, maiznīcām, maiznīcas, ar maiznīcām, maiznīcās[/slider]

-Nīca is basically a suffix that means "thing-place". So a maiznīca is a "bread-place" - a bakery.

  • maiznieks : a baker (masc.) [slider title="decline me"] maiznieks , m., 1. dekl.
    vsk.: maiznieks, maiznieka, maizniekam, maiznieku, ar maiznieku, maizniekā
    dsk.: maiznieki, maiznieku, maizniekiem, maizniekus, ar maizniekiem, maizniekos[/slider]
    maizniece : a baker (fem.) [slider title="decline me"] maizniece , f.,
  • dekl.
    vsk.: maizniece, maiznieces, maizniecei, maiznieci, ar maiznieci, maizniecē
    dsk.: maizneices, maiznieču, maizniecēm, maiznieces, ar maizniecēm, maizniecēs[/slider]

Like -nīca, -nieks and -niece are common suffixes that indicates a person of either male or female gender respectively. So, we combine bread + appropriate person suffix = baker.

  • mīcīt : to knead [slider title="conjugate me"] mīcīt , 3. konj.
    tag. mīcu, mīci, mīca, mīcam, mīcat
    pag. mīcīju, mīcīji, mīcīja, mīcījām, mīcījāt
    nak. mīcīšu, mīcīsi, mīcīs, mīcīsim, mīcīsiet / mīcīsit
    pav. mīci, mīciet [/slider]

  • mīkla : 1. dough; 2. riddle [slider title="decline me"] mīkla , f., 4. dekl.
    vsk.: mīkla, mīklas, mīklai, mīklu, ar mīklu, mīklā
    dsk.: mīklas, mīklu, mīklām, mīklas, ar mīklām, mīklās [/slider]

Like tautasdziesmas , riddles are part of Latvia's cultural heritage and are still alive and well today. There's even a radio show where a family guesses answers to listener-submitted riddles and sing! You can listen to "Greizie rati" on LR-1 at 10:25 EET on Saturdays, rebroadcast on Sundays at 04:02.(Listen to it via live streaming or find it in the archives.)

  • milti : flour [slider title="decline me"] milti , m., 1. dekl.
    vsk.: milts, milta, miltam, miltu, ar miltu, miltā
    dsk.: milti, miltu, miltiem, miltus, ar miltiem, miltos[/slider]

This is one of Latvian's "uncountable" nouns. It is possible to decline it for singular, but in practice it is not really used. In English, we would have to say "a grain of flour" as flour is considered to be made up of thousands upon thousands of tiny grains.

No New Post This Week

To hell with it. Between work, school and life, I cannot seem to get my post finished for this week.

I'm going to work on it this week and see if I can get a post or two ahead. Expect a Wordy Wednesday as usual tomorrow morning, but otherwise? No new post unless a miracle of writing occurs before Sunday.

Wordy Wednesday: Wordbuilding with Sētas

Today, let's take a look at some light wordbuilding with compound nouns.


  • galva : head (fem.) [slider title="decline me"] galva , f., 4. dekl.
    vsk.: galva, galvas, galvai, galvu, ar galvu, galvā
    dsk.: galvas, galvu, galvām, galvas, ar galvām, galvās[/slider]
    As with English, head can refer to the head on your shoulders or the head of a company, city or group.

  • pils : castle (fem.) [slider title="decline me"] pils , f., 6. dekl.
    vsk.: pils, pils, pilij, pili, ar pili, pilī
    dsk.: pilis, piļu, pilīm, pilis, ar pilīm, pilīs[/slider]
    There are many pilis scattered around the Latvian countryside. There's even one named "Jaunpils pils"! It's so neat to be able to walk through history. We Americans are so short-changed -- Artis' hometown is older than my entire country, and it is considered "young" at only 386 years old, and that's just when it obtained its town rights! People have been settled in the region for much, much longer, but then again, you could make that case for America too, but that's a history lesson for another day.

  • sēta : yard, courtyard (fem.) [slider title="decline me"] sēta , f., 4. dekl.
    vsk.: sēta, sētas, sētai, sētu, ar sētu, sētā
    dsk.: sētas, sētu, sētām, sētas, ar sētām, sētās[/slider]
    A sēta can also be used to refer to a collection of little buildings enclosed by a yard or fence forming a self-sufficient homestead, however, the more precise term for this is viensēta.

  • pilsēta : city (fem.) [slider title="decline me"] pilsēta , f., 4. dekl.
    vsk.: pilsēta, pilsētas, pilsētai, pilsētu, ar pilsētu, pilsētā
    dsk.: pilsētas, pilsētu, pilsētām, pilsētas, ar pilsētām, pilsētās[/slider]
    This makes a lot of sense, if you think about it in historical terms. When a castle was built, the area inside its walls would fill up with townspeople. The town would grow into a city, with new walls being built as the city expanded (hopefully, but not always). The concept of the sēta or courtyard was well-suited to this, and since it was centered on a castle, a city being called a pilsēta made a lot of sense (and still does)!

If you visit Vecrīga, you can still pass through some of the old city gates and walk along or under portions of the original city walls.

  • galvaspilsēta : capital city (fem.) [slider title="decline me"] galvaspilsēta , f., 4. dekl.
    vsk.: galvaspilsēta, galvaspilsētas, galvaspilsētai, galvaspilsētu, ar galvaspilsētu, galvaspilsētā
    dsk.: galvaspilsētas, galvaspilsētu, galvaspilsētām, galvaspilsētas, ar galvaspilsētām, galvaspilsētās[/slider]
    Yep, a triple compound. It's pretty easy to see how it worked out - the head or leading + castle + courtyard -> capital city.

  • viensēta : homestead, farm or ranch (fem.) [slider title="decline me"] viensēta , f., 4. dekl.
    vsk.: viensēta, viensētas, viensētai, viensētu, ar viensētu, viensētā
    dsk.: viensētas, viensētu, viensētām, viensētas, ar viensētām, viensētās[/slider]

Viens + sēta -> single or alone (independent) + yard = independent homestead

Image of a Latvian viensēta courtesy of Modris Frikmanis, underCreative Commons

Viensētas were common throughout most of Latvia, and consisted of self- sufficient little homesteads generally run by a single extended family. Typically, a homestead would be on a fairly large piece of unfenced land and include both living quarters and purpose-built buildings for running the farm, such as threshing barns, silos, granaries, mills, etc., or any combination thereof as the family saw fit. Interestingly, the yard here implied by sēta may not be fenced but rather enclosed by the buildings themselves.

Unlike the villages common to western Europe, viensētas were independent of each other. The Open-Air Ethnographic Museum (Latvijas Etnografiskais Brīvdabas Muzejs) has a huge collection set up for viewing and touring. They also participated in a Virtual Museum project! You can go on a virtual walkthrough (though nothing beats the real thing) at Virtuālais brīvdabas muzejs.

The concept of a separate, independent homestead is still alive and well in Latvia today, however, viensēta is generally used to refer to historical homesteads rather than contemporary versions.

Nouns in Vocative

We've reached the last post in the Nouns series for now. There will be more posts in the series on topics like Diminutives in the future. I haven't decided yet whether or not to start a new series, so for the time being, expect to see standalone grammatical posts on Mondays instead. I'm thinking Adjectives and Adverbs will be featured in February at least.

Understanding the Vocative

This is the easiest case of all. It is used for one purpose - to address another person, living thing or anthropomorphized thing. Examples of the last would be concepts such as Ziemassvētki ("Christmas"), which you will see referred to as a person in dainas , or Vēja Māte ("Mother Wind"). Of course, as we people like to talk to inanimate objects on occasion, like our computers, the vocative is also used then when exclaiming at the computer who just ate your document.

There is no question word associated with the vocative. It's pretty clear what its role is. It generally is not listed in spelling dictionaries because the form is so simple.

It's very easy to use. It's basically the same as the nominative except that there is some fiddling about you can do with the 1st and 2nd declension vocative singular if you want.

The thing is, there's formal Latvian and then there's how people actually speak. Sometimes people will drop the ending anyway even if technically (and grammatically) the rules say you shouldn't. Sometimes it will simply be for one particular word and that's an exception, either by the word or the speaker. Below are the formal Latvian rules, but sometimes you can be better off with what sounds right instead.

1st & 2nd Declension (Singular)

For 1st declension, you have the option of using the same forms as the nominative or dropping the final -s or -š.

Tēvs! Tēv! Vējš! Vēj!

If it is a 2nd declension (ends in -is) regular noun, retain the vowel when dropping the -s or drop the ending entirely , your choice. It is easier to call out if the name ends with a vowel sound, so I personally think it is better to just drop the -s rather than the whole ending.

Arti! Brāli! Brāl!

If it is a 2nd declension exception word (there are only a few), you can retain the -s as with the 1st declension or drop the -s, as you choose. Artis notes that he would actually add the original -i back in because it sounds better, resulting in, "Zibeni!" instead.

Akmens! Akmen! Zibens! Ziben!

For everything else…

This is easy. Vocative is the same as nominative. 3rd, 4th, 5th or 6th declension? Same as the nominative. Plural? Same as the nominative.

Saldus! Kora! Līze! Acs!

Plural: Brāļi! Akmeņi! Liepas! Bites! etc.

How to Decline

Where -! is noted, drop the ending and use only the root, i.e., tēvs -> tēv!

Remember there is no associated question word. The endings are as follows:

vsk.   1. dekl. | 2. dekl. | 2. dekl. exc. | 3. dekl.
     -s!/-š!/-! |  -i!/-!  |    -s!/-!     |   -us!

vsk.   4. dekl. | 5. dekl. | 6. dekl.
          -a!   |    -e!   |    -s!

dsk.   1. dekl. | 2. dekl. | 2. dekl. exc. | 3. dekl.
          -i!   |    -i!    |     -i!        |   -i!

dsk.   4. dekl. | 5. dekl. | 6. dekl
         -as!   |    -es!  |    -is!

Red indicates potential palatalization changes.

Wordy Wednesday: Reading

Welcome to the first Wordy Wednesday!

NB: vsk. and dsk. are the abbreviations for vienskaitlis and daudzskaitlis , or singular and plural , respectively. Cases are given in standard Latvian order, as such: kas (nom.), kā (gen.), kam (dat.), ko (acc.), ar ko (inst.), kur (loc.). Vocative is never listed.

Tag., pag., nak., and pav. are the abbreviations for tagadne, pagātne , nākotne, and pavēles izteiksme or present, past, future, and imperative respectively. (Imperative is given in my spelling dictionary, so I am following their lead.) Order is traditional as follows: es, tu, viņš/viņa, mēs, jūs. The 3rd plural is dropped as it is identical to the 3rd singular.


  • autors : author (masc.) [slider title="decline me"] autors , m., 1. dekl.
    vsk.: autors, autora, autoram, autoru, ar autoru, autorā
    dsk.: autori, autoru, autoriem, autorus, ar autoriem, autoros[/slider]

  • autore : authoress (fem.) [slider title="decline me"] autore , f., 5. dekl.
    vsk.: autore, autores, autorei, autori, ar autori, autorē
    dsk.: autores, autoru, autorēm, autores, ar autorēm, autorēs[/slider]

Both are obvious svešvārdi or loanwords from Latin, exactly the same as in English. However, as Latvian is very gender-specific, you must use the correct gender when the gender of the person is known. Authoress may be nearly archaic in English, but autore is very much alive and well in Latvian.

  • izdevniecība : publisher [slider title="decline me"] izdevniecība , f., 4. dekl.
    vsk. : izdevniecība, izdevniecības, izdevniecībai, izdevniecību, ar izdevniecību, izdevniecībā
    dsk. : izdevniecības, izdevniecību, izdevniecībām, izdeviecības, ar izdevniecībām, izdeviecībās[/slider]
    We can see where izdevniecība comes from by looking at its base:

Root: dot - to give -> izdot - to publish (lit. to give out) -> past tense: izdeva - published -> izdevniecība - publishing house (a place where things are published)

  • lappuse : page [slider title="decline me"] lappuse , f., 5. dekl.
    vsk.: lappuse, lappuses, lappusei, lappusi, ar lappusi, lappusē
    dsk.: lappuses, lappušu, lappusēm, lappuses, ar lappusēm, lappusēs[/slider]

Interestingly, lapa originated as leaf , which is similar to English's "leafing through a book" and leaflet. Puse means half so we could wind up with a literal translation of half-leaf. Nowadays, lapa also means a sheet of paper , which makes a lappuse much clearer - a page in a book is literally half a sheet!

  • nodaļa : chapter [slider title="decline me"] nodaļa , f., 4. dekl.
    vsk.: nodaļa, nodaļas, nodaļai, nodaļu, ar nodaļu, nodaļā
    dsk.: nodaļas, nodaļu, nodaļām, nodaļas, ar nodaļām, nodaļās[/slider]
    As with English, chapter can be used in organizational uses not just for books.


  • lasīt : to read, to gather [slider title="conjugate me"] lasīt , 3. konj. / mixed
    tag. lasu, lasi, lasa, lasām, lasāt
    pag. lasīju, lasīji, lasīja, lasījām, lasījāt
    nak. lasīšu, lasīsi, lasīs, lasīsim, lasīsit / lasīsiet
    pav. lasi, lasiet[/slider]

Reading is "gathering up" words and letters to make stories!

Nouns in Locative

This is my favorite case, hands down. For one, it is the case I can most reliably pick out of sentences, so I usually will translate it first. For another, it's just so darned easy. I love this case!

The locative case expresses location -- both physical location and location in time (also known as the locative of time ). It primarily answers the question Kur? or Where?


Simply put, the locative is used any time you want to say something or someone is located in somewhere. If you are in a car , car will be in locative. If there is water in the pot , pot will be in locative. If you are in the field , field will be in locative.

Yes, it is that easy. Locative is location.

It is incredibly easy to distinguish - singular nouns will end in a macron, while plural masculine nouns end in -os and plural feminine nouns end with -ās, -ēs or -īs (which is basically their nominative plural + a macron).

Now what is really, really cool about the locative is that Latvians can refer to location very quickly and efficiently, while we English-speakers need a few more words to do it. Like so:

Galds ir istabā. -> The table is in the room.

Latvian cuts that sentence length in half and almost all of that is due to the fact that placing a noun in locative represents an entire prepositional phrase in English. (In fact, I could imply ir with a -, the sentence would still be perfectly understandable and it'd be down to two words!)

Here's the other neat thing: because of the locative, there really isn 't a need for a prepositional equivalent of in just to indicate that something is in that location. If you need to be more specific about position or relative position, there are prepositions for inside, on top of , next to , etc., but of course, those do not take the locative.

Now, you might be thinking, "Do I put seasons and time into locative then? Can I say 'Jāņi ir junijā?'" (Jāņi is in June.) Yes, because that calls for the locative of time.

Yes, junijā is left uncapitalized. Latvians do not consider the names of months or days to require capitalization except at the beginning of sentences.

Locative of Time

Locative is used quite a bit when it comes to time and this is probably the most fiddly bit when it comes to understanding the locative case. Locative is also used to answer both kad and cikos.

The exact K-question word for when is kad but cikos is a more specific way of asking at what time something is to happen. Kad is used for time in a general sense , like "today," "next week," or "this winter." Cikos is used for time in a specific sense , such as "at 2 pm".

Interestingly, either kad or cikos can be used for "in 10 minutes" as it can imply either when or at what time. Specific is important when it comes to cikos! It cannot be used when you're giving a general estimate of when something will be done, the way we would casually say "in two or three hours" in English. Well, you can, but it's not a great idea. Cikos implies a request for a specific scheduled time. This is why it is important to remember that cikos translates as "at what time" rather than "when". ****

With locative and kad, if you would answer "in [time]", then you would use the locative.

Kad puses zieda? Vasarā. -> When do flowers bloom? In the summer.

In the example above, you need to use the locative for " in the summer. " (See the in? Big clue that you should use the locative to express this.) Note also that this would be singular - there is only one summer and the question is quite general, thanks to kad.

* However, when it comes to more specific time, we use cikos and in this case the question word has an ending applied. *Cikos? is the locative plural expression of Cik? and expects an answer also in the locative plural.

In short, cikos is always plural and refers to a scheduled time, kad can be singular or plural and can refer to general time.

Cikos mēs brauksim pie ārstes? Četrpadsmitos. -> At what time will we travel to the doctor? At 14 (2pm).

In the example above, we see that četrpadsmitos is in the locative plural, so if we wanted to translate it exactly into an equivalent in English, we'd wind up with something along the lines of "at 1400 hours" which is how the American military (and possibly others) would refer to it.

Pie is used here instead of dative because it is used when you are going "to" someone. It isn't a true indirect object.

I'll have to do a post just on time at some point, because there are a lot of little intricacies in Latvian when it comes to time. More on time in time.

How to Decline the Locative

The endings are as follows:

vsk.   1. dekl. | 2. dekl. | 2. dekl. exc. | 3. dekl.
Kur?      -ā    |    -ī    |    -ī         |   -ū

vsk.   4. dekl. | 5. dekl. | 6. dekl.
Kur?      -ā    |    -ē    |    -ī

dsk.   1. dekl. | 2. dekl. | 2. dekl. exc. | 3. dekl.
Kur?      -os   |    -os   |     -os       |   -os

dsk.   4. dekl. | 5. dekl. | 6. dekl
Kur?     -ās    |    -ēs   |    -īs

Red indicates potential palatalization changes.

Upcoming Feature: Wordy Wednesday

I was thinking about it the other day and thought I would do a riff on those "Wordless Wednesdays" you see around the blogosphere every week. Of course, since my blog is all about words, going Wordless doesn't make as much sense as going Wordy -- vocabulary words, that is!

Why Wordy Wednesdays? First, declining and conjugating words , especially unfamiliar words, is really good practice but I don't do it as often as I did when I was in Latin class. I really should so this is a good way for me to practice my word skills.

Second, it is a good thing to have exposure to new words and build your vocabulary. I've fallen behind on my vocab studies because large lists are unwieldy for me especially when my life is super-busy (like now!). Small groups are easier to work with during a few minutes of downtime.

Third, this will make some of the topics planned for the future easier to discuss as some Wordy Wednesdays will magically transform into Wordbuilding Wednesdays.

Each Wednesday will feature a group of words featuring a common theme. Verbs and nouns will be conjugated and declined but tucked down at the end of the page for RSS/Kindle readers or inside a slider so that if you're working along with me, you can try declining/conjugating them on your own before you see the answers.

All of the words will be cross-posted to theGlossary, which you can find in the Menu bar, to provide a handy quick-reference of the vocabulary used on this blog. (Yes, I will be going through and revising everything in the archives so they are referenced since I have an extra day off this week..)

I 'd like your feedback, oh readers, so feel free to drop a line in the comments of any Wordy Wednesday or the Sticky at the top of the site. Ideas for future themes are very welcome as well! I really hope that this will be as useful for you as it promises to be for me.

Look for the first Wordy Wednesday next week. :)