Latvian: hard to do / easy to do

Samuelkristopher

Member
English - New Zealand
Hi everyone!

I'm an English teacher and amateur methodologist, and I've been developing a system/curriculum of language learning that I want to test on a language I'm unfamiliar with. I chose Latvian, since I reside in St Petersburg (not far from the country), and it seems to share a lot of grammatical features that I recognise from Russian and German. The only issue with my system is that it relies heavily on translating "ideas" into the target language, and ideally that means translating correctly, which is difficult at the moment since I don't know any Latvians! So until my holiday to Riga in a few months, where I hope to pick up some friends to keep a check on my accuracy, I'm hoping to get some tips here on certain features.

For the moment, I have a couple of questions.

I want to communicate the meaning of "hard to do sth" / "easy to do sth" into Latvian. I’ve already learned the adjectives ‘grūts’ and ‘viegls’, and (correct me if I’m wrong), it’s okay to say something like “Krievu valoda ir grūta”, or “tā ir viegla valoda”. But it’s a bit harder to confidently translate something like: “It’s hard to understand Russian.”

Google gives me: “Grūti saprast krievu valoda", which would be [adjective + infinitive], same as English, but I feel like this isn't quite right, since google searches show other variants, such as “grūti saprotams” or even “grūti saprotamā”. With “saprotams” I can see that it is a passive form, which makes sense, but I can’t make sense of “saprotamā”.

Can anyone give some information about how it works, expressing something like “hard to do / easy to do sth”?

Thanks :))))
 
  • jazyk

    Senior Member
    Brazílie, portugalština
    Grūti saprast is an adverb, not an adjective, followed by an infinitive. This construction is correct. Grūti is an adverb here (even though English requires an adjective), but it could also be nominative plural (not here). The masculine nominative form is grūts and the feminine nominative is grūta. See some examples I've found in Google Books:

    Tādēļ ir grūti saprast, kādēļ māksliniekiem būtu jāļauj izstādīt sabiedrisko domu aizskarošus mākslasdarbus. - It is therefore difficult to understand why artists should be allowed to exhibit artistic works that offend public opinion.

    Man ir grūti saprast šo jēdzienu. Jūs esat mums vēlīga? - It's hard for me to understand this concept. Are you interested in us?

    Kopš Ivana Kaļitas laikiem dažiem krievu politiķiem vēsturiski vienmēr ir bijis grūti saprast, kur ir Krievijas valstiskās robežas. - Since the times of Ivan Kalitov, historically it has always been difficult for some Russian politicians to understand where the Russian state borders are.

    Ir grūti saprast Krievijas puses argumentus tādēļ, ka to juridiskais pamatojums ir vājš. - It is difficult to understand the arguments of the Russian party because their legal basis is poor.
     

    AndrasBP

    Senior Member
    Hungarian
    Google gives me: “Grūti saprast krievu valoda", which would be [adjective + infinitive], same as English, but I feel like this isn't quite right, since google searches show other variants, such as “grūti saprotams” or even “grūti saprotamā”. With “saprotams” I can see that it is a passive form, which makes sense, but I can’t make sense of “saprotamā”.
    The Google translation has a mistake there: it should be "Grūti saprast krievu valodu" (Accusative case) because valoda is the object of the verb "saprast".
    Indeed, "saprotams" means "understandable" or "which can be understood".
    The form "saprotamā" is the locative case of the adjective "saprotams". Grāmata sarakstīta grūti saprotamā valodā. - The book is written in a "difficult-to-understand" language.
     
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