Latvian: language names

Flaminius

coclea mod
日本語 / japāniski / יפנית
Čau,

I know that the Latvian language is most officially latviešu valoda in Latvian but it is more commonly latviski. In fact, using the nominative plural of the adjective of an ethnonym or toponym productively generates language names such as krieviski (< krievija), franciski (< francija), japāniski (< japāna).

I am wondering how these adjectives diverted as nouns express grammatical relation with other words in sentences. Maybe they do not inflect at all. I'd expect the accusative in "I don't speak Estonian" but in Latvian they seem to say:
Es nerunāju igauniski.

How about sentences where other cases are expected?
- discussion in Latvian
- characteristics of Latvian
- differences between Latvian and Lithuanian (I am hoping to use starp, which governs dative/instrumental plural)
- It's probably too pedantic to find the locative use of a language name. :)
 
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  • indian.summer

    Senior Member
    Latvian
    Hi Flaminius,

    As a Latvian I can give you some answers:

    - discussion in Latvian - diskusija latviešu valodā
    - characteristics of Latvian - latviešu valodas raksturīgās iezīmes
    - differences between Latvian and Lithuanian (I am hoping to use starp, which governs dative/instrumental plural) - atšķirības starp latviešu un lietuviešu valodām (yes, you use dative for "valodām")

    Hope that it helps! If you have any more cuestion, do not hesistate to ask me! :)

    indian.summer
     

    Flaminius

    coclea mod
    日本語 / japāniski / יפנית
    Hi,

    Good to have you here, indian.summer.

    Let me just confirm. So you cannot use latviski or its inflected forms for my examples? Is it that when a language name needs to be cast in genitive, dative, instrumental cases, it cannot replace latviešu valoda? It's probably okay to say "Es protu latviski" when I mean, "Es protu latviešu valodu." I think at least latviski can work as accusative because prast requires an accusative object. Then, I wanted to know if it can work for other cases.

    There is one case I missed to mention in my last post. That's nominative. Can I say something like this for "Latvian is a beautiful language"?
    Latviski ir valoda skaista.


    Paldies.
     

    indian.summer

    Senior Member
    Latvian
    Hi again,

    Flaminius, "latviski" answers to a cuestion "How?", and it is not a noun, but an adverb. So, it doesn't have a connection to the declinations. To say "I know Latvian", it's better to say "Es protu runāt latviski" (I can speak Latvian). And to say "Latvian is a beautiful language" - "Latsiešu valoda ir skaista valoda."
     

    Sobakus

    Senior Member
    Curiously, in Russian we have exactly the same thing, language name adverbs in -ski. They're different from adjectives in -skij and always come with the preposition "po" and a hyphen:
    I speak Russian= Ja govoriu po-russki. Some Russians mistake them for adjectives an write -skij as well!
     
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