This is a review of this trilingual (Latvian, English, Russian) book about Latvian verbs:
- Latviešu valodas darbību vārdu tabulas (Latvian)
- Latvian verb tables (English)
- Таблицы глаголов лаТышского языка (Russian)
This book will not teach you Latvian, it is not a language course. It is a reference book.
If you want to see how to properly conjugate a verb in Latvian, you can use this book.
Traditionally, Latvian verbs are split into three conjugations: I, II and III and subgroups.
The authors of this book stick to this convention but also divide the verbs into 142 patterns or paradigms or tables. If there’s a vowel stem change, they’re going to use different tables for all possible vowels.
Here is the verb list.
There’s the table number, a representative verb as well as other verbs that follow this pattern.
The verbs that are included in this book (not all of verbs in Latvian are included in this book, there’s just too many) were taken from the previous edition of this book as well the most popular verbs that occurred more than 100 times in modern Latvian texts.
They also kept the prefixes. So iet and aiziet are listed as two different verbs.
The rest of the book is pages and pages with these tables:
Like I said, it’s a reference book.
Something you as a leaner might appreciate is that they use different letters for all the sounds that the letters e and o represent in Latvian:
What you may or may not like is that they use the 3rd person form for listing verb present and past stems. They argue that some verbs are never used in the first person (“I snow”) which is traditionally used for listing present and past stems so they decided to go for the 3rd person.
At the back of the book, you’ll find an index and translations of all verbs in English and Latvian.
Should you use this book?
Do you use a telegraph? Probably not.
Paper book is a very unfortunate format for this type of information. A searchable list or form on a website on the internet would be a much more suitable format for this.
You can use Letonika.lv or tezaurs.lv to conjugate verbs:
Note that the tables generated by Letonika.lv are computer generated but the tables in the book were compiled by people. So it is possible that the computer generated tables may contain errors. But that’s very unlikely to happen.
It’s free. You can get it here.
If you’d like to have a paper version, you can find them in bookstores in Riga for a few euros.