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Indo-European > Baltic



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1.5 million

Other names

Official language


Interesting Fact

The three most common Latvian surnames are Bērziņš (by the birches), Kalniņš (from the hills) and Ozoliņš (by the oaks).


Latvian is a member of the Baltic branch of the Indo-European languages together with Lithuanian. It is sometimes grouped with Slavic languages under the Balto-Slavic branch. Latvian is most closely related to Lithuanian, the only other living Baltic language.

Only about 65% of Latvia’s 2 million inhabitants speak Latvian as their first language with the remaining 35% speaking minority languages.

Interestingly, Latvian spelling has almost perfect correspondence between the way things are written and the way they are pronounced, so you would probably be able to just pick up and read a Latvian text out loud pretty well without learning how to pronounce it.

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