Latvian Pronunciation Guide

By Dick Oakes


A a, Ā ā, B b, C c, Č č, D d, Dz Dz, Dž dž, E e, Ē ē, F f, G g, Ģ ģ,
H h, I i, Ī ī, J j, K k, Ķ ķ, L l, Ļ ļ, M m, N n, Ņ ņ, O o, P p,
R r, S s, Š š, T t, U u, Ū ū, V v,
Z z, Ž ž


Latvian is a Baltic language and is spoken by nearly 1.5 million people. It is related to Lithuanian and Old Prussian.

Stress is (almost) always on the first syllable.

A macron over the vowels a, e, i, and u signifies a long vowel (ā, ē, ī, and ū).

A caron over the c, s, and z signifies palatalization (č, š, and ž).

A sedilla under or over some consonants signifies a "palatal" variant (ģ, ķ, ļ, and ņ).

Letters not listed below are pronounced approximately as in English.


A, a   - a as in about
E, e   - e as in let; e as in grey
I, i   - i as in pin
O, o   - o as in corn
U, u   - u as in put
 
Ā, ā   - a as in car
Ä, ä   - ai as in air; a as in hat
Ē, ē   - i as in machine
Ī, ī   - oo as in soon
Ū, ū   - i as in girl
 
C, c   - ts as in coats
Č č   - ch as in check
Dz, dz   - ds as in boards
Dž, dž   - j as in jump
Ģ, ģ   - d as in down
J, j   - y as in yes
Ķ, ķ   - t as in tune
Ļ, ļ   - li as in million
Ņ, ņ   - n as in never
R, r   - slightly rolled
Š, š   - s as in sugar
Ž, ž   - s as in stamp
Ž, ž   - z as in azure
 
DIPTHONGS:
 
Ai, ai   - i as in fine
Au, au   - ow as in cow
Ei, ei   - ey as in prey
Ie, ie   - ea as in dear
Ou, ou   - wa as in wallet


Copyright © 2014 by Dick Oakes