From Proto-Baltic *nē, from Proto-Indo-European *nē, a parallel form to *ne “no, not,” the sentence negation particle. Cognates include Lithuanian nè, nė̃ (“neither, nor”), Old Church Slavonic не (ne), Russian, Ukrainian, Belarusian, Bulgarian не (ne), Czech ne, Polish nie, Gothic 𐌽𐌹 (ni), 𐌽𐌴 (nē), Hittite natta (“not”), nāwi (“not yet”), Sanskrit न (ná), Latin ne-, nē.
- used to deny or disagree with what was said in the preceding affirmative statement; no
- “Vai tu biji teātrī?” “Nē” — “Were you at the theater?” “No”
- “Vai viņš ir slims?” “Nē” — “Is he sick?” “No”
- used to confirm or agree with what was said in the preceding negative statement; no
- “Avīzi neatvedi?” “Nē”, es iesaucos; “avīzes mums nav.” — “Didn't you bring the newspaper?” “No,” I exclaimed; “we don't have newspapers.”
- “Tu esi klāt!” viņa sacīja. “Jā, esmu klāt.” “Nenomaldījies?” “Nē, nenomaldījos.” — “You are here!” she said. “Yes, I am here.” “You didn't get lost?” “No, I didn't get lost.”
- used to negate a previous assumption; no
- Atskan telefona zvans: tai vajag būt viņai! Nē, nav. — The telephone bell rang: it must be her! No, it isn't.
- Ja viss sils izdegtu!... Nē, nē, to Andrikssons nebija gribējis — If the whole forest burned!... No, no, Andrikssons had not wanted that
- used to correct, precise or reinforce what was said in the preceding utterance; no, rather, actually
- Jūra bija zila. Nē, dzīzāk zaļa — The sea was blue. No, rather (it was) green.
- Atnākšu rīt. Nē, parīt. — I'll come tomorrow. No, actually, the day after tomorrow
- Kāds nāca. Nē, tur sarunādamies nāca vairāki vīri. — Someone was coming. No, actually, several men came talking.
- Ieva reizēm palūkojās: zēns soļoja, rokas šūpodams, šaurajā sejā apņēmīga izteiksme. Nē, Aivars atradīs sev vietu dzīvē — Ieva looked a few times: the boy walked, arms swinging, a resolute expression in (his) narrow face. No, Aivars will find a place for himself in life
- used to reinforce a negative statement; no
- Nē, neiesim! — No, we're not going!
- Nē, nevar. — No, (you) can't (do this).
- Nē, tas patiesi nav saprotams. — No, this is really not clear
- Nē, citādi tu nevarēji rīkoties. — No, you could not have acted differently
- used instead of a negative verb form; no, ...not
- vienam ieteicams sauļoties, otrs turpretī nedrīkst; viens var peldēties, cits nē — to one it is recommended to sit in the sun, the other, however, is not allowed; one may swim, the other no (= may not)
- used as a noun, to indicate a negative answer to a question, or to a proposal
- Kristaps gribēja apprecēties... bet te nu Līvija pateica: nē — Kristaps wanted to get marreid... but here Līvija said: no.
- viņai iztapa, viņu lutināja, nekad viņai nebija gadījies dzirdēt “nē”, kad viņa kaut ko vēlējās — they pleased her, they indulged her, she never had happened to hear “no” when she wanted something
- ^ “nē” in Konstantīns Karulis (1992, 2001), Latviešu Etimoloģijas Vārdnīca, in 2 vols, Rīga: AVOTS, ISBN: 9984-700-12-7