Foreign language learners often prefer to learn popular widespread languages, such as Spanish or Chinese. However, ‘smaller’ languages that only have a couple of million speakers are well worth learning, too – probably not for the number of speakers, but for other good reasons.
In this article, we are going to take a look at some of the reasons for learning Latvian.
It is one of the oldest languages in Europe
After Lithuanian, another Baltic language, Latvian is the second-oldest language in Europe. Some scholars believe it may have originated from Sanskrit. If you are interested in linguistics, the history of languages, or simply are a curious polyglot, Latvian is a great choice.
It is more widespread than it seems
There are Latvian speakers all over the world. There is quite a large community of Latvian expats in Australia. After the EU was formed, Latvian speakers spread across Europe. There are also Latvians in Brazil, Canada, New Zealand, Russia, and the USA. With a little help from the Internet, finding Latvian native speakers to meet and practice Latvian with will be fairly easy.
It is a beautiful language
Latvian has lots of long vowels. They are fun to pronounce. They also make the language sound uniquely beautiful. If the pronunciation is important for you and you enjoy languages that sound beautifully, Latvian is one of the ways to go.
Interestingly, Latvian regularly uses vowel lengthening instead of prepositions. For instance, lengthening the last vowel of a word indicates location.
Latvian grammar is not as hard as it seems
Latvian does have 7 cases, but memorizing them is not as hard as it seems. They are fairly regular, and with a bit of rote memorization, you can easily remember their meanings and functions. It is also an interesting concept to learn, if your native language, like English, doesn’t have the category of case.
There are also no articles, and the pronunciation is fairly phonetical.
Latvia is a country of great natural beauty
Latvia is a country of lush forests and lovely lakes. Latvians love the outdoors! If you do too, it is a great country to visit. And if you do, knowledge of the local language will be very helpful. Latvians do not speak much English, especially outside of big cities.
Latvia is also a country of interesting history and rich culture that you no doubt will enjoy even more with some knowledge of the Latvian language.
You will make some good friends
Latvians are aware that their language is not that popular among language learners. And many of them are really happy to find out that someone is learning their language. Many will gladly help you, and you will maybe even make some long-lasting good friends.
It is good for your brain
Learning languages is good for our brains. It increases cognitive abilities and improves brain health. This by itself can be enough of a reason to learn a foreign language – and Latvian, an underrated beautiful language, is a great choice for that.