Current issues

Latvian language for 10–11–year–old diaspora students. A2 language level. 1st academic year

09.11.2022.

Learning the Latvian language in the diaspora is fun and interesting, but not without a few challenges. To support the teachers in this difficult but important work, the LVA has created a Latvian language learning program (A2 level) for 10–14–year–old diaspora teenagers: a three–year program that takes into account the practicalities and difficulties of how Latvian is taught in Latvian schools in the diaspora. It contains a total of 180 lessons. Methodological recommendations for teachers are currently in development.

A 60–hour program supplemented with teaching materials for the first school year for 10–11–year–old teenagers are currently in development, and we invite you to look them up and begin using the first two chapters in your classes: “My family and I” and “With friends”. The teaching materials were created based on the functional and communicative approach, in which the language, its structure and nature are learned in context, that is, primarily in the context of Latvian culture, history and public life. The intended result is the acquisition of language skills in accordance with the  descriptions of Latvian language proficiency levels for children and teenagers as formulated and developed by the LVA. Read more

STOP linguicide

01.11.2022.

On March 21, 2022, at an extraordinary meeting of the General Assembly of the European Federation of National Language Institutions (EFNIL), the General Assembly accepted the State Language Protection Commissioner of Ukraine as a member of the federation.

Since Russia is imposing the Russian language on the population of Ukraine and trying to eradicate the use of the Ukrainian language in its occupied territories in Ukraine, the State Language Protection Commissioner of Ukraine has issued the informative page “STOP LINGUICIDE.”

STOP Linguicide 1st issue.

STOP Linguicide 2nd issue.

STOP Linguicide 3rd issue.

STOP Linguicide 4th issue.

STOP Linguicide 5th issue. 

STOP Linguicide 6th issue.

Russia’s strategy of linguicide in the occupied territories of Ukraine. Read more

A new set of teaching materials for the 2nd grade

09.10.2022.

It is more fun to start a school year with a new and interesting set of learning materials. This is why the Latvian Language Agency has published a fun set of teaching materials: a textbook and a workbook so children can continue learning the Latvian language in the 2nd grade alongside the book’s characters: Marta, Paula, Roberts, and Oto. The set of teaching materials helps acquire basic and transversal Latvian language skills, provides an opportunity to work with children individually with the help of various texts and different tasks. The topics are related to natural sciences, social sciences, as well as mathematics, computing, and the visual arts.

Please order the textbooks and workbooks by writing to us via e-mail agentura@valoda.lv. For more information: call 67201680, mobile phone: 28803418. Read more

A new book is published – “Latvian surnames in archive materials: Vidzeme”

09.10.2022.

The Latvian Language Agency has published the third and last volume of its surname dictionaries. This book examines the surnames found in the historical territory of Vidzeme whose history goes back at least several centuries. To write this book its authors examined approximately 16 000 surnames (and even more spelling variants of these surnames). The book contains approximately 9 500 separate entries and a list of almost 6 000 surnames that are less common. The book contains detailed information about the surnames, engaging introductory articles (authors of the introductions: Ilmārs Mežs, Muntis Auns, Otīlija Kovalevska, Irēna Ilga Jansone), informative maps, and pictures.

In 2017, the LVA published a book on the common surnames in Latgale, in 2019 it published its second volume (in two parts) that covers Kurzeme, Zemgale and Sēlija (or the historical Duchy of Kurzeme). The last volume on Vidzeme was published in 2022. The author of the idea, demographer Ilmārs Mežs, said: “About ten years have passed since I began collecting and compiling surnames. During this time, I have held in my hands the census records of approximately one and a half million inhabitants of Latvia. If I were to stack all these folders in one room up to the ceiling, there still would not be enough space for all the materials we have studied. And now, this work is finished, and we can present the readers with the last volume in this series which covers the surnames in Vidzeme.” Read more

Regular studies and dialogue – the key words for successful language learning

09.10.2022.

From January 2021 to September 2022, the Latvian Language Agency (LVA) implemented the project “Acquisition of the Latvian language in order to facilitate the integration of third-country nationals into the labor market 3”, thereby continuing and improving the work it began in the previous years in the fields of Latvian language learning and social integration. As a result, the LVA has provided targeted, systematic, and ongoing support for third-country nationals.

During the project, the LVA organized and offered Latvian language learning courses, developed its learning tools for adults, and provided methodological support to teachers.

Latvian language learning courses were available throughout Latvia, and the programs and learning materials were adapted to the needs of each group. In total, more than three hundred newly arrived foreigners acquired Latvian with the help of this project.

Currently, a wide range of materials are available on LVA’s “Teach and Learn Latvian” website, which people can use in a variety of ways as they learn Latvian under the guidance of a teacher or by themselves. Since there is a lack of homework and exercise materials that could be used to improve and strengthen one’s knowledge and skills, the project adapted and technically arranged A1, A2, B1, B2 language proficiency materials (based on examples of national language proficiency tests). These homework sets are available at https://maciunmacies.valoda.lv/maci/reemigrantiem-un-imigrantiem), and each language proficiency level (A1, A2, B1, B2) features 40 tasks and exercises. The materials are available in the Word format (utilizing closed text blocks) so the user can complete the tasks and send them back to the teacher for evaluation. This helps both the teacher and the language learner plan their further learning process more productively. Furthermore, the sets contain self-tests of varying levels of difficulty (for levels A, B, and C) – six reading tasks, six vocabulary building tasks, and six grammar learning tasks. The sets also include the correct answers to these exercises. Read more

The latest book in our series of translations – “Language – The Cultural Tool” is published

30.09.2022.

The Latvian language agency continues its series of translations and publishes the book Language – The Cultural Tool (2012) by the linguist Daniel Everett.

Publications on language and linguistics are seldom viewed as emotionally engaging or heartwarming. But that is exactly what this book is – it seeks to offer a new perspective on the origins of language by examining whether any language and its elements appear suddenly or develop gradually. The author looks at the development of language, viewing it as an indispensable and unique cognitive tool. The book is grounded in the author’s personal experience. It is also a show of respect towards the Pirahã language and culture, and to all endangered indigenous languages in the world.

For several decades, the academic circles have recognized heredity and instinct as the basis of language development, although the role of social factors have also been emphasized. Daniel Everett offers a distinct perspective on the origins of language and views it as a product of culture. The function of a language determines its form, and it is subject to the practical need to communicate with one another to survive. The author says that all human languages are practical tools, and that humans use these tools to tackle problems that arise in communication and in the struggle to maintain social cohesion. The author of the book defends the idea that humans created language, and that it undergoes evolution as it adapts to the changes and needs within a society. Read more

An invitation to participate in the European Day of Languages events

22.09.2022.

The annual language festival – the European Day of Languages – is approaching. Since 2001, EU member states celebrate the European Day of Languages – a celebration of linguistic diversity – on September 26 by urging everyone to keep learning new languages throughout their lives. These events are organized and coordinated in Latvia by the Latvian Language Agency and its partners for the 18th year.

The 9th international Baltic student conference “Bridges in the Baltics” will be held on September 23–24 at the University of Warsaw.

The event “Play Scrabble at the House of Languages!” will take place on Saturday, September 24, at 15.00. The games will be held in Latvian, English, German, Norwegian, and Estonian. Host: Valodu māja (Riga, Avotu street 3).

On Sunday, September 25, at 18.00, the House of Languages is hosting a Scandinavian book club event. We’ll discuss the book “Bird” by the Sámi writer Sigbjørn Skåden. The event will be held in Scandinavian languages, and it is hosted by the House of Languages (Riga, Avotu street 33).

On Monday, September 26: 

  • From 10.00–18.00 – European language marathon. Learn popular phrases in different EU languages! Students and young children will be able to assume the roles of teachers. Dozens of students will become talented teachers and help attendees learn phrases in English, German, Polish, Spanish, Italian, French, Dutch, and other EU languages. The event is organized by the House of the European Union (Riga, Aspazijas bulvāris 28). Info: esmaja.lv.

Read more

University lecturer in Baltic Languages

06.09.2022.

The University of Helsinki is the oldest and largest institution of academic education in Finland, an international scientific community of 40,000 students and researchers. In international university rankings, the University of Helsinki typically ranks among the top 100. The University of Helsinki seeks solutions for global challenges and creates new ways of thinking for the best of humanity.

The Faculty of Arts of the University of Helsinki (http://www.helsinki.fi/hum/) is Finland’s oldest and largest department of education and research in the field of science in terms of structure and subject selection. It is also an important international research, educational and cultural community. The Faculty of Arts studies and teaches languages and literature spoken in Europe and other parts of the world, with almost 40 languages. In addition, we are developing the general theory of linguistics, translation science and literary research.

Faculty of Arts is looking for UNIVERSITY LECTURER IN BALTIC LANGUAGES for an open-ended employment relationship as of 1 January 2023 or by agreement. The position is filled on a six-month probationary period. The assignment is located in the Department of Languages.   Read more

A new puzzle game for young language learners – Find the words!

09.08.2022.

Joy, enthusiasm, the desire to listen, read and search for words – these are some of the feelings you’ll enjoy if you play the Latvian Language Agency’s new game “Find the words!”. At the start of the game, the players must choose a suitable level of difficulty (easy or hard). The game is easier when the word you are looking for is visible on the screen and more difficult when the word is spoken, and the player is only given its first letter.

The words are divided into 30 topics, and the game seeks to improve the skills one may have acquired after playing the LVA’s Pictorial Dictionary. The player’s task is to find seven words that correspond to each topic. It is estimated that there are more than 100 000 words in the Latvian language. We invite you to learn your first 400 words by playing the game “Find the words!”. Best of luck! Read more

We invite diaspora teachers to join the methodology school “Pupa”!

09.07.2022.

The purpose of the LVA’s methodical school “PUPA” is to provide methodological support to diaspora teachers of the Latvian language. The topic of the August 25 seminar is “An effective approach to Latvian language lessons: key aspects”.

Zoom link here.

In the 2022/2023 academic year, the methodology school “Pupa” invites diaspora teachers to use this opportunity to improve their knowledge, gain and actively share their experience in monthly webinars. Attendees will be able to meet methodologists from the LVA, various experts, and their fellow colleagues – other diaspora teachers. The seminars will also highlight the latest LVA news.

There will be a total of ten 2–hour Zoom webinars, and they will be held from 18.00 to 20.00 Latvian time. In the 1st semester of the academic year, the seminars will be held on Thursday evenings:

on August 25,
on September 22,
on October 27,
on November 24,
and on December 15.

Read more