The Latvian language is the primary and official language in Latvia. The Latvian language was granted status as the official language of Latvia in 1918. The language, however, lost its status in 1940 during the Soviet Union as most people spoke Russian. The language regained its status as the official language of Latvia in 1988. After the language regained the status as the official language, the Latvian language became highly standardized.
Throughout the time that Latvia was a part of the Soviet Union, Russian was predominantly spoken. Today, the majority, or 80%, of the population speaks Latvian.
Latvia is as at least as old as its first printed text, which dates back to 1525. However, it is most likely older than that. Latvian is said to have had Germanic influences in the 19th century, but the language was originally spoken by the ancient Latgalian tribes before it got lost as a consolidation process into a broader language. The Latvian language has been called unique because of its verb mood as it is noted by linguists and translators to have a debitive mood to express obligation, a quotative mood to make uncertain utterances and indications. The Latvian language's first dictionary was published in 1638 with the 1st grammar book published in 1644. The Bible was translated to Latvian in 1685. There are languages that are spoken inside Latvian such as the Latgalian and New Curonian. There have been arguments on whether these languages should be classified as a variation of Latvian language or as different languages.
Russian, Belarusian, Ukrainian, Polish, and Lithuanian are common minority languages spoken in Latvia. Latvia has a language policy where Latvian is the official language. However, the government will protect and develop the languages of Latvia's minorities. Because of the Soviet Union, Latvia was Russianized. Therefore, from the 1990s to 2008, programmes were run by the government to teach Latvian.
This page was last modified on May 1st, 2018