LATV 111 A: Basic Latvian

Autumn 2021
MTWThF 8:30am - 9:20am / SAV 157
Section Type:
Joint Sections:
LATV 101 A
Syllabus Description (from Canvas):


The Latvian language is one of the Baltic languages. It is the state language in Latvia. 

There are about 1.5 million native speakers of Latvian nowadays. 1.38 million of speakers live in Latvia, while the rest is found in the USA, Russia, Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, Lithuania, Estonia, Sweden, Brazil and even in other countries in a small amount. Moreover, at least half a million representatives of other ethnics in Latvia use Latvian as the second one, and tens of thousands of people in neighboring countries.


Language learning is a complex process of discoveries, collaboration, and creation of new habits (e.g., self-expression, information-gathering, and communication). All students can be successful language learners. I am glad you have chosen Latvian to expand your understanding about language learning and to gain new knowledge, skills, and experiences!

General information

The courses Latvian 101 & 111 are taught together as one course, and it is the first part of three-quarter long language learning program to achieve A2 language level in Latvian. The course plan is created for Latvian 101 (5 credit) course with clear indications on the reduction of requirements for students who have chosen Latvian 111 (3 credit) course.

N.B. No previous knowledge and skills in Latvian are necessary to take the course.

The course provides a systematic overview of the basic linguistic characteristics of Latvian. The course uses a series of thematically arranged, structurally graduated readings, conversation topics, individual and group assignments to enable you to acquire a facility with written and spoken Latvian. 

The course has four main pillars: (1) Authenticity (language, texts, communication situations); (2) Interactivity (collaboration, interactive learning materials, discussions, role games); (3) Inductive, explicit, and clear grammar (examples-grammar-practice-extended contexts); (4) Fun (language learning is an amazing journey!)

Learning objectives

At the ending of the course, you will be able to:

  • greet, introduce yourself and others in oral form
  • describe your and others language skills, studies/work, interests, likes/dislikes, family, and daily routines in simple way
  • compare two or more things (e.g., furniture, school supplies, birthday gifts), persons (e.g., friends, colleagues, family members) and places (e.g., living rooms, universities, cities) naming both similarities and differences in simple way
  • identify and characterize main characters in short, the course-topics related literary and informative text, answer text-related questions, formulate the main idea of the text, and express your thoughts about the text in oral and written form
  • name the main conversation topic and describe a communication situation (Who is talking? Where are participants speaking? What are they talking about?) in audio texts heard
  • express your own opinion about familiar topics and briefly justify them in oral and written form
  • explain the route in a city using a map in oral form
  • plan a trip to Latvia and list must-see places and must-do activities in oral and written form
  • write notes, postcards, greeting cards, and short e-mails
  • group nouns, pronouns, adjectives, cardinal numerals, verbs, and adverbs and highlight their main linguistic features
  • determine the declination of nouns and decline them
  • match adjectives / cardinal numerals with nouns in grammatical gender, number, and case
  • determine four of the conjugation types of verbs (4th type of 1st conjugation, 1st type of 2nd conjugation, 2nd type of 3rd conjugation, and 3rd type of 3rd conjugation), and conjugate them in simple present, past, and future
  • apply knowledge of grammar in practice creating own written texts

Course organization

The course is organized into five modules, or themes:

  1. Nice to meet you! Students and professors – Prieks iepazīties. Studenti un profesori
  2. Interests. Books and cinema – Intereses. Grāmatas un kino
  3. Birthdays and name days are significant – Dzimšanas dienas un vārda dienas ir svarīgas
  4. Languages and ethnic groups. My homeland and family – Valodas un tautības. Mana dzimtene un ģimene
  5. Orientation in a city and traveling – Orientēšanās pilsētā un ceļojumi

The modules include the following grammar topics:

  1. Nouns: genders, declination groups, cases (Nominative, Genitive, Accusative, Dative, and Locative)
  2. Adjectives: genders, declination groups, cases (Nominative, Accusative, Dative, and Locative)
  3. Pronouns (Personal, Possessive) 
  4. Several types of Verbs (Simple Present, Past and Future)
  5. Numerals (Cardinal, Ordinal)
  6. Simple syntactic constructions and questions

All classes will take place in-person

Study work of each academic week is divided so that:

  • on Mondays there is an introduction to relevant module-related topic, actualization of the known and the new, self-examinations, and self-reflections
  • on Tuesdays there is a direct introduction to the new grammar, structuring grammatical forms, and learning prescriptive rules
  • on Wednesdays there is a deepening of the topic with integrated grammar learning
  • on Thursdays the focus is on reading texts independently and completing text-related tasks
  • on Fridays more attention is paid to creative works and learning about Latvian culture.

N.B. Students taking Latvian 111 are not required to participate in classes on Thursdays and Fridays.

A detailed plan, assignments, and expected outcomes for each module are included in the section “Modules” of the course Canvas page.

Learning materials

During the course we will use three learning materials.

  1. The main textbook is Latviešu valoda studentiem written by Klēvere-Velhi and Nau in 2012.
  2. The secondary textbook is Latviešu valoda A1 written by Auziņa, Berķe, Lazareva, and Šalme in 2014
  3. Online learning material E-laipa A1:

N.B. All learning materials will be regularly uploaded on the course Canvas page in advance or given in the class. You are not asked to purchase any learning materials for the course, but it is your responsibility to have them in our classes.

To successfully complete the first quarter of the course, you need

- to actively participate during classes (e.g., answer questions, fulfill tasks, work as a team) and do all homework 

- to pass five tests related to each module

- to pass a Final exam. 

Graded units

Participation                                20%

Homework                                   30%

Five tests                                     30%

Final exam                                   20%

Grading scale

97-100%=4.0; 93-96%=3.9; 91-93%=3.8; 90%=3.7; 89%=3.6; 88%=3.5; 87%=3.4; 86%=3.3; 85%=3.2; 84%=3.1; 83%=3.0; 82%=2.9; 81%=2.9; 81%=2.8; 80%=2.7; 79%=2.6; 78%=2.5; 77%=2.4; 76%=2.3; 75%=2.2; 74%=2.1; 73%=2.0; 72%=1.9; 71%=1.8; 70%=1.7; 0-60%=0.0

N.B. The full syllabus in PDF format is uploaded in the section "Modules" of the course Canvas page.  



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Catalog Description:
Fundamentals of oral and written Latvian, including introductory study of literature, film, and other authentic texts. First in a sequence of three. Offered: A.
Last updated:
February 24, 2024 - 2:51 pm