Map of dialects in Latvia

Latvian spoken dialects:

  • Libiskais dialect in the North (light blue area)
  • Latvian writing
  • Vidus dialect in the Centre (blue area)
  • Augšzemnieku dialect in the East (dark blue area)


Latvijas Republika (Republic of Latvia), or just Latvija (Latvia)

Latvian belongs to the Baltic language group and is similar to Lithuanian (although not mutually intelligible).

Latvian was oppressed during the Soviet occupation. There are numerous loan words from German, Swedish and Russian.

In the capital (Riga), virtually everything is trilingual: Latvian, Russian and English. Many speak Russian and English.

Spoken Latvian

Pronunciation of some letters differs according to the position within the word and the preceding letter. Nearly always the first syllable is stressed.

Written Latvian

Q, W, X and Y are not used in the Latvian alphabet, only in loan words and foreign words.

Latvian Latin Alphabet

There are 33 letters in the Latvian alphabet.

It does use accents, see below:

Full Latvian Alphabet

   a      A  

   ā      Ā  

   b      B  

   c      C  

   č      Č  

   d      D  

   e      E  

   ē      Ē  

   f      F  

   g      G  

   ģ      Ģ  

   h      H  

   i      I  

   ī      Ī  

   j      J  

   k      K  

   ķ      Ķ  

   l      L  

   ļ      Ļ  

   m      M  

   n      N  

   ņ      Ņ  

   o      O  

   p      P  

   r      R  

   s      S  

   š      Š  

   t      T  

   u      U  

   ū      Ū  

   v      V  

   z      Z  

   ž      Ž  

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Latvian Translation sample:

Visi cilveki piedzimst brivi un vienlidzigi sava pašciena un tiesibas. Vini ir apveltiti ar sapratu un sirdsapzinu, un viniem jaizturas citam pret citu bralibas gara.

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood. (Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)

Latvian Speaking countries


Indo-European Language group

European language groups

Indo-European > Baltic

Latvian letter writing samples

  • Letter (formal)
  • Letter (informal)