Latvian language

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Latvian (latviešu valoda) is the official state language of Latvia. It is also sometimes referred to as Lettish. There are about 1.4 million native Latvian speakers in Latvia and about 150,000 abroad. The Latvian language has a relatively large number of non-native speakers, atypical for a small language. Because of language policy in Latvia about 1.9 million or 79% of Latvian population speak Latvian.[2] The use of the Latvian language in various areas of social life in Latvia is increasing.[3]

Latvian is a Baltic language and is most closely related to Lithuanian, although the two are not mutually intelligible.

Latvian first appeared in Western print in the mid-16th century with the reproduction of the Lord's Prayer in Latvian in Sebastian Münster's Cosmographia Universalis, in Roman script.

Contents

Classification

Latvian belongs to the Baltic branch of the Indo-European language family. It is one of two living Baltic languages with an official status (the other being Lithuanian). The Latvian and Lithuanian languages have retained many features of the nominal morphology of the proto-language, though in matters of phonology and verbal morphology they show many innovations, with Latvian being considerably more innovative than Lithuanian.

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