I don't know any Latvians, so there won't be any content from me in the foreseeable future. If you are Latvian, and would like to help, send me an e-mail: info (at) single-serving dot com. I live in Denver, Colorado, USA right now, but can easily work with anyone via email. For the audio recording (which is the very last stage) I would need to come to you, or you would need to be in Denver.
Check out these Latvian Resources
Code Fusion's Latvian Language Page
Jancada has a good Latvian foreign language page
Wikipedia's excellent Latvian Language page
Here is a little bit of content from in your pocket. They have the best, cheapest, and most up-to-date travel guides to most of Central Europe and the Baltics. That is not an advertisement, that is my personal opinion after having used their guides. Check out their free, downloadable mini-guide to Riga. If you like them, order the full booklet from them.
Latvian is an Indo-European language (not Slavic) just as old as Lithuanian. It has six declensions and a lot of funny accents. Even the most heavily accented and ungrammatical attempt to speak their language will please Latvians, who are prone to cheer your 'proficiency' and slam the Russians who 'have lived here for fifty years and still can't even say hello'.
Although the official language of the country is Latvian, you will very easily get around with a command of Russian, as over half of the population in Riga is Russian speaking and most Latvians do understand Russian. They will, however, avoid it, except to swear, because Russian curses are more colourful than Latvian.
Older people often speak a fair bit of German, but most young Latvians are not shy to speak English!
Latvians reshape foreign names to fit their language and add an 's' to the end of all male names, i.e. Bils Klintons, Tonijs Blers and Gerhards żroders. Females will get an 'a' or an 'e' on the end instead, as happened to Hilarija Klintone. Hilarious!
|All the best!||Visu labu!|
|I love you||Es tevi milu|
|How are you?||Ka jums klajas?/Ka tev iet?|
|Pleased to meet you.||Prieks iepazities.|
|Do you speak English, German, Russian?||Vai jus runajat angliski, vaciski, krieviski?|
|I speak English, German, Russian.||Es runaju angliski, vaciski, krieviski.|
|I don't speak Latvian.||Es nerunaju latviski.|
|Where is the nearest shop, hotel, restaurant, café, bar, toilet?||Kur atrodas tuvakais veikals, viesnica, restorans, kafejnica, bars, tualete?|
|What's your name?||Ka Jus/tevi sauc?|
|My name is ...||Mani sauc ...|
|What time is it?||Cik ir pulkstenis?|
|How much does this cost?||Cik tas maksa?|
|This costs too much!||Tas ir par dargu!|