LATV 101 A: Elementary Latvian

Meeting Time: 
MTWThF 9:30am - 10:20am
SAV 140
Iveta Grinberga

Syllabus Description:

Course Description               Elementary Latvian   LATV 101        


Credits:          5 credits          Fall Quarter
Time:              M-F 9:30 AM - 10:20 AM
Location:        SAV 140
Lecturer:        Iveta Grinberga



Course Objectives

This course provides a systematic overview of the basic linguistic characteristics of the Latvian language.  It will concentrate on contemporary Latvian, fundamentals of the grammar system, with due attention to all four language skills – reading, writing, speaking, and listening. The aim of the course is to give the students grounding in all of these skills. The classrooms are oriented to communication and maximum use of Latvian, while English-language explanations of grammatical structures and occasional translations are not avoided altogether.  Language learning in this course is closely tied to learning about culture, and through culture, as well as to the learners' own personal experiences. Authentic cultural materials will be used whenever possible.


Teaching philosophy

Elementary Latvian strives to be at all times a student-centered course, encouraging students to take control of their own learning, to be active, engaged, curious, and questioning about this subject matter as well as the wider world it fits into. The instructor strives to accommodate and assist students of different cognitive abilities and different learning styles.


Course goals

By completing this course, successful students will be able to communicate in Latvian in a variety of basic social situations:  meeting people, asking for directions, ordering in a restaurant, shopping.  They will be equipped with the necessary basic concepts to continue language acquisition in their social and professional milieu, interacting with native speakers, or taking a course LATV 102.

During the quarter students are expected to acquire:

  • new vocabulary and communicative phrases,
  • understanding of Latvian grammar as a system,
  • understanding of the language functions.

Students are expected to develop listening, reading, speaking and writing skills and be able to:

  • read simple authentic texts,
  • communicate - ask and answer simple questions, express their own opinion etc.,
  • write notes, postcards, simple letters, short e-mails.


Required texts and materials


Klevere-Velhli I., Naua N. Latviesu valoda studentiem, LVA, Riga 2012

Handout materials prepared by the instructor, available in class.

Suggested texts and materials



Latviešu-angļu angļu-latviešu vārdnīca. Riga: Avots, 2003 - on-line dictionary


Assignments and grading policy


Home assignments

There will be home assignments including grammar and vocabulary exercises or writing assignments and listening practice.


Class assessment

On Fridays, there will be short quizzes (2-3) covering the week’s material.


There will be a Midterm and a Final exam. These exams will consist of a test written in class and an oral part (conversation with the instructor, short role-plays).


Daily attendance is essential! If you need to miss (part of) a class due to an emergency, contact the instructor beforehand or as soon as possible.




participation                             30%    

quizzes                                    10%

homework                               10%

midterm                                   20%

final                                                     30%


Schedule of classes               Elementary  Latvian                Iveta Grinberga



Topic/vocabulary area

Language functions


Cultural points

Fall Quarter.       Countries, Nationalities, Languages. Friends and Family.

Week 1

Personal Identification

States and nationalities


Who are you, where are you from

What languages do you speak


Family members



Introduce oneself






Latvian word classes – noun, verb, pronoun, adjective and adverb

Grammatical categories of the noun – gender, number, case

Conjugation of the verb to be in simple present


Personal pronouns

Some well-known Latvians

Latvia in the map of the world

Explore Latvian  Internet in a computer lab

Latvian newspapers

Popular songs and folk groups

Birthday song

“Daudz baltu dieniņu”

Cartoon: “I Played, I Danced”


Week 2

Books and cinema


Popular Latvian books

What are you interested in

How to ask questions

How to characterize people


Question words: kas, ko


Accusative or direct object case


Verbs in present tense

Week 3

My home town



How to characterize things

How to tell where I live

Noun and adjective ending agreement

Locative case

Cardinal numbers


Week 4

Birthdays and name days

How to express my opinion

How to ask for the others opinion

How to express likes/dislikes


Dative case

Man ir/man patīk/man garšo

Week 5






Word order

Structure of the sentence


Fall Quarter.      Time, Daily Schedule, Holidays and Traditions.

Week 6

Time, Day, Date



How to make appointments

How to talk about time


Ordinal numbers (1-10)

Conjugational system of the verb

Verb tenses – simple present, past and future


Latvian Song and Dance Festivals

Movie “Baltic Way to Freedom”

Popular songs

National anthem

Explore Latvian  Internet in a computer lab


Week 7

My friends and family


Universities in Latvia

How to report past events


Genitive case

Consonant interchange

Possessive pronouns mans, tavs

1st conjugation of the verbs

Week 8

Holidays and Traditions

Traditional food


How to talk about future plans

Prepositions followed by genitive: no, pie, zem, aiz, uz

Future tense, conjugation of the verb to be in simple future

Week 9

Daily schedule


How to describe sequences/frequency How to speak of habits


Ordinal numbers (10-100)

Week 10








Additional Details:

Why Study Latvian?

Latvian courses are a fun way to satisfy your language requirement, learn more about Latvian heritage, or get acquainted with a special Indo-European language. Our courses are taught by an exceptional faculty, including our visiting Latvian Language Lecturer.

How will this impact my career?

In our increasingly global world, proficiency in a foreign language is a big career asset! Students of Latvian have gone on to jobs in tech, business, and to further study in graduate and professional schools.

What requirements am I filling?

The College of Art and Sciences, the School of Social Work and the College of Education have language requirements beyond the UW admission requirement – studying Latvian through the third quarter fulfills this requirement. 

What scholarships are available?

Students of Latvian are eligible to apply for support from the Baltic Program Fund.

Can I study abroad?

Yes! We have a variety of programs for students to study abroad in Latvia and throughout Scandinavia and the Baltics.

How does registration work?

The sequence starts in autumn quarter with LATV 101 and lasts for three quarters.

Want to learn more?

See what our students have to say about studying Latvian at UW!


Catalog Description: 
Fundamentals of oral and written Latvian. First in a sequence of three.
Last updated: 
October 5, 2016 - 9:23pm