LINGUIST List 10.671

Thu May 6 1999

Books: Indo-European Linguistics

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  1. LINCOM EUROPA, Latvian, Nicole Nau

Message 1: Latvian, Nicole Nau

Date: Tue, 04 May 1999 11:54:15 +0200
From: LINCOM EUROPA <LINCOM.EUROPAt-online.de>
Subject: Latvian, Nicole Nau


LATVIAN
Nicole Nau, Univ. Kiel

Latvian is the official language of the Republic of Latvia, where about
1.4 million people speak it as a native language, and an increasing
number of mainly Russian speaking persons use it as a second language.
This sketch concentrates on morphology and syntax, with a short
introduction to Latvian phonology. The sample text, as well as most of
the examples that illustrate grammatical points, are taken from
autobiographical narratives collected by the Latvian Archive for Oral
History.

Compared to Lithuanian, the only other living Baltic language, Latvian
has further diverged from its Indo-European heritage in that it has
abandoned certain inflectional forms and categories and developed new
ones. The fact that, for centuries, speakers of Latvian have been in
close contact with speakers of Baltofinnic, Germanic and Slavic
languages has certainly been an important factor for innovations in all
parts of the grammar. However, Latvian still resembles the well known
old Indo-European languages in certain respects more closely than
Standard Average European languages do. 

Latvian is a fusional language with some traits of agglutination. The
morphology is strikingly regular, especially with nominals. Nominal
inflectional categories are gender, number, case, and definiteness,
which is marked on adjectives. The five morphological cases have clear
syntactic and/or semantic functions. Particularly noteworthy in the
verbal inflectional paradimg are evidentiality and the debitive mood, a
Latvian innovation. Characteristic features of the syntax are non-verbal
predicates and converb constructions.

ISBN 3 89586 228 2. 
Languages of the World/Materials 217. 
Ca. 60pp. USD 32.50 / DM 49.30 / \163 19.90. 
Info: LINCOM EUROPA, Paul-Preuss-Str. 25, D-80995 Muenchen, Germany; FAX
+49 89 3148909; http://home.t-online.de/home/LINCOM.EUROPA;
LINCOM.EUROPAt-online.de.
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