Wiktionary:About Latvian

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The aim of this page is to explain the norms used in Latvian language entries. It is intented to complement, not supersede, WT:CFI and WT:ELE.


Latvian, together with Lithuanian and several extinct languages (Old Prussian, Curonian, etc.), forms the Baltic subgroup of the Balto-Slavic sub-branch of the Indo-European language family. (There is still some debate about whether the Baltic languages form a proper subgroup of the Balto-Slavic languages. Also, a minority view according to which Baltic and Slavic are separate groups within Indo-European still has some support.)


The current orthography of Latvian words follows the Latvian standard alphabet (adopted in its present form after World War II), which consists of 33 letters:

a ā b c č d e ē f g ģ h i ī j k ķ l ļ m n ņ o p r s š t u ū v z ž

Before World War II, there were two extra letters, Ŗ/ŗ and Ch/ch, no longer in use, but still found in older books and in books published by the Latvian diaspora after World War II and before the fall of the Soviet Union. These older forms can be entered as alternative forms of Latvian words (see, e.g., kaŗš).

Main outline[edit]

A Latvian entry should follow a structure compatible with WT:ELE. For instance, for nouns, this is the (maximal) structure (any sections for which there is no information are of course left out):

===Alternative forms===
# SENSE-1...
# SENSE-2...
====Usage notes====
====Derived terms====
====Related terms====
====See also====


Language section[edit]

All latvian entries should start with a (level-2) language identification (==Latvian==), on which all other sections are dependent. When the entry in question exists with the same spelling in other languages, then the Latvian entry should be inserted in the apropriate place by alphabetic order, preceded and/or followed by a line (----), so as to separate it from the other languages:


Helpful information can be placed under the ==Latvian== heading, if it applies to the whole entry: for instance, a reference to the Latvian wikipedia (with the {{wikipedia}} or {{slim-wikipedia}} templates), or an illustrative picture (with [[File:....]] call). The 'picture dictionary' template can also be placed here, if there is an available picture with labels for it (see {{picdic}}; for an entry that has a picture dictionary template in it, see acs (eye)). For example, here is the beginning of the entry lapsa (fox):

[[File:Vulpes vulpes with prey.jpg|220px|thumb|Lapsa]]

Alternative forms section[edit]

Here alternative spellings should be listed, like kaŗš as an alternative, pre-World-War-II spelling of karš (war). So, under karš, one finds:

===Alternative forms===
* {{l|lv|kaŗš}}

By itself, the alternative form kaŗš should also be an entry, with a simple page that directs the reader back to karš. As in the case of form-of entries (see form-of entries below), editors should use the generic template {{head}} in the main section to format the entry, and helping templates like {{obsolete spelling of}}, {{alternative spelling of}} or {{alternative form of}} as the definition.

{{head|lv|noun form|g=m}}

# {{context|before 1940}} {{obsolete spelling of|karš|lang=lv}}

In Latvian, it is fairly frequent to find genitive phrases that can also be spelled together as one word (e.g. kaklarota ~ kakla rota "necklace", or bērnunams ~ bērnu nams "orphanage"; such orthographic variations should also be indicated here. To determine which is the basic form and which is the alternative form, one should first use dictionary or encyclopedic sources (including, for instance, the preferred form given in the Latvian Wikipedia, when available); if those are not available, one can do a quick Google search and adopt as basic spelling the form with the highest number of hits. As an example, consider ledusskapis (refrigerator):

===Alternative forms===
* {{l|lv|ledus skapis}}

And here is the entry for its alternative form ledus skapis:


# {{alternative form of|ledusskapis|lang=lv|nocap=1|nodot=1}}

If the alternative form is written as one word, it should be identified as a compound in its Etymology section, as e.g. bērnunams:

From {{compound|bērnu|nams|gloss1=children|gloss2=house|lang=lv}}.

# {{alternative form of|bērnu nams|lang=lv|nocap=1|nodot=1}}

Etymology section[edit]

Always start with 'From' and end with a full stop. The etymological origin of the word, as far back as possible, can be added here, following the format in Wiktionary:Etymology. Complex words should have their word formation explained. To place them in the appropriate categories, editors should use the templates {{suffix}}, {{prefix}}, {{compound}}, and {{confix}}. For example, the following section, from skolnieks (schoolboy), places this word in [[Category:Latvian words suffixed with -nieks]]:

From {{suffix|skola|nieks|gloss1=school|lang=lv}}.

The following section, from cietviela (solid), places this word in the [[Category:Latvian compound words]].

From {{compound|ciets|viela|gloss1=hard|gloss2=substance|lang=lv}}.

Eventual explanations can also be added, for stem alternations (as in draudzene) or to further analyze word components (as in augšāmcelšanās). Further information can also be added (as in galvaspilsēta (capital city), which apparently is a calque of German Hauptstadt), or tīklene (retina), apparently a calque of Latin retina (little net)).

The history of the word should start with "From" + the latest known source; further sources can be added with ", from" + the source. Cognates from other languages can also be added. See, for example, the Etymology sections of mēness (moon)) and ābols (apple).

Pronunciation section[edit]

The IPA should be used to transcribe the pronunciation (with the template {{IPA}}, as e.g. in lapsa (fox):

* {{IPA|/ˈlapsa/|lang=lv}}

If a sound file is available, the template {{audio|File|Audio}} should be used (with 'Audio' as the link string at the end, as e.g. in ābols):


If an editor records a sound file with a pronunciation, s/he should upload it to Commons (using the Commons Upload Wizard) and place it in the Commons Category:Latvian pronunciations, where all available pronunciation files are at present. The format for the filename should be: Lv-xxx.ogg, where xxx is the word or a close transcription of it.

Part-of-speech and definition section[edit]

The title of this section should be the part of speech (noun, verb, adjective, adverb, etc.) of the word in question. (Suffixes and prefixes have a ===Suffix=== or ===Prefix section; see, e.g., -nieks or ie-).

The first line in this section is the inflection line, and should contain a template that identifies the word in its basic form (for Latvian nouns, the nominative singular, or nominative plural for pluralia tantum; for Latvian verbs, the infinitive; in both cases, it should also be the page name) and gives further succint grammatical information. Latvian inflection-line templates all start with "lv-"; currently available ones include {{lv-noun}}, {{lv-adj}}, {{lv-verb}}, {{lv-prefix}}, {{lv-suffix}} (see ). The necessary grammatical information should be provided with the template, not written in independently (see each template for individual documentation). Nouns, for instance, should have their gender and declension class indicated, as well as any irregularities (plural or singular only, irregular plural or case, etc.). Nouns that have a corresponding feminine and/or masculine form should also have this form indicated. As an example, here is the part-of-speech section with inflection line for latvietis (Latvian (man)) and puika (boy):

{{lv-noun|m|4th|irr=gender, dative singular}}

After the inflection line comes the explanation of the meaning (or definition) of the word. If the word has several senses, each sense should be indenpendently defined in a separate line. A sense line starts with #, followed by a definition in English (with important words linked to their Wiktionary entries). A sense line is immediately followed by usage example lines (if there are any) starting with #:. The usage example in Latvian should be italicized, with the word being exemplified in bold; a dash should separate it from the English translation, not italicized, with the English translation of the word being exemplified in bold. Usage examples should not have their words linked to Wiktionary entries. As an example, here are the two senses from the word lelle (doll, puppet):

# [[doll]] {{gloss|a [[toy]] in the form of a [[human]]}}
#: ''lupatu '''lelle''' — rag '''doll'''
#: ''gumijas, koka, porcelāna, vaska '''lelle''' — rubber, wooden, porcelain, wax '''doll'''
#: ''rotaļāties ar '''lelli''''' — to play with a '''doll'''
# [[puppet]], [[marionette]] {{gloss|small model of a person or animal which can be moved by an actor, e.g. via strings, rods, or as a glove}}
#: '''''leļļu''' teatris'' — '''puppet''' theatre
#: ''vadīt '''lelles''' kustības'' — to manage, lead the movements of a '''puppet'''

The style of the definition should be as standardized as possible. Context should be indicated with {{context}} templates, such as {{astrophysics}} or {{medicine}}; further information can be added with the template {{gloss}}.

There is in principle no limit to the number of usage examples one can give, though relevance, brevity, illustrative efficiency and facility of understanding should be kept in mind. Note that, to explain a foreign language (Latvian) in English, it is often useful to display more usage examples than one would in the explanation of an English term, since these will give an idea of how the usage of that word (for the given sense) compares to its English counterpart -- especially useful are simple phrases found in both languages, like "puppet theatre" in the example above).

Declension/Conjugation section[edit]

Under the main part-of-speech heading, the declension (for nouns and adjectives) or conjugation (for verbs) section is given with its own (level-4) heading. The full declension/conjugation of the entry is given with a template ({{lv-decl-noun}} for nouns, {{lv-decl-adj}} for adjectives, {{lv-decl-AdjN}} for adjective-noun phrases, {{lv-conj}} for verbs; see ). Here are a few examples:

kaķis (cat)

# [[domestic cat]]
#: ''melns '''kaķis''''' — black '''cat'''
#: '''''kaķis''' murrā'' — the '''cat''' purrs
#: '''''kaķis''' noķēris peli''  — the '''cat''' caught a mouse
#: ''veikls kā '''kaķis''''' — neat as a '''cat''' 
#: ''acis kā '''kaķim''''' — eyes like a '''cat''''s (= good vision)

labs (good)

# [[good]]

celt (to build)

# to [[lift]]
# to [[build]]
# to [[construct]]; to carry out construction works

Usage notes section[edit]

The usage notes section should include helpful information on the various uses of the word itself, such as specific collocations, contrast with (near-)synonyms, stylistic and/or context restrictions, important specific details about the word, etc. (see, e.g., lauva (lion), or ziemas mēnesis (January)). It is usually written in simple prose, without any specific templates.

Synonyms section[edit]

Here should be listed synonyms of the headword, each usually in a separate line that starts with a '*'. The synonyms should be at least linked (with '[[ ]]'), though the best solution is to use a link template like {{l|lv}}. For instance, pekle (hell) is a synonym of elle (hell), and is listed in the entry for elle as follows:

* {{l|lv|pekle}}

Derived terms section[edit]

Here, in the same format as in the Synonyms section above, should be listed all terms that are derived from the headword, via prefixing, suffixing, compounding, or other morphological processes. For instance, for maiss (sack, bag), the diminutive form maisiņš (little bag) is listed under ====Derived terms====.

Related terms section[edit]

Here, in the same format as in the Synonyms section, one can list terms that are related to (though not directly derived from) the headword. For instance, for lauvēns (baby lion), lauvene (lioness) is listed under ====Related terms==== (both are derived from lauva (lion)).

See also section[edit]

Here, in the same format as in the Synonyms section, one can list terms that are not related to or derived from the headword, but are also connected to it in an important way. For example, for pirmdiena (Monday), the word nedēļa (week), as well as a list of all days of the week, was placed under ====See also====.


At the very end of the entry, one should manually include all relevant categories that were not automatically added by templates. This usually means relevant topic categories. See [[Category:lv:All topics]] for a current list of all available Latvian topic categories.

Lemma vs. form-of entries[edit]

Since Latvian is a highly inflected language, Latvian words often have a large number of different forms. The main entry structure above should be used for the basic form (or lemma) of a word: for nouns and adjectives, the nominative singular; for verbs, the infinitive. Other forms should of course also be listed as entries in Wiktionary, but with a much simpler structure. Here is an example of such a "form-of" entry, for galdam, the dative singular form of galds (table):

{{head|lv|noun form|g=m}}
# {{lv-inflection of|galds|dat|s}}

Form-of entries don't have a specific head / inflection line template; the {{head|lv}} template is used, with an appropriate identification of the entry ('noun form') (which automatically places it in the [[Category:Latvian noun forms]]) and with an indication of gender (g=m or g=f)). The following line, starting with a '#', has the template {{lv-inflection of}} instead of a definition. If a given word (or more than one word) has homophonous forms which are grammatically different, they should be listed as independent '#' lines, as in the following example (for mēnesi, from either mēness (moon) or mēnesis (month)):

===Noun form===
{{head|lv|noun form|g=m}}
# {{lv-inflection of|mēness|voc|s}}
# {{lv-inflection of|mēness|acc|s}}
# {{lv-inflection of|mēness|ins|s}}
{{head|lv|noun form|g=m}}
# {{lv-inflection of|mēnesis|voc|s}}
# {{lv-inflection of|mēnesis|acc|s}}
# {{lv-inflection of|mēnesis|ins|s}}

Alternative form entries also have a similarly simple structure (see Alternative forms section above).

Available online resources[edit]

Here are some useful free online dictionaries and similar resources about Latvian. (All sites are in Latvian.)