Latvian language

Latvian (latviešu valoda [ˈlatviɛʃu ˈvaluɔda]), also known as Lettish,[3] is an Eastern Baltic language belonging to the Balto-Slavic branch of the Indo-European language family, spoken in the Baltic region. It is the language of Latvians and the official language of Latvia as well as one of the official languages of the European Union. There are about 1.3 million native Latvian speakers in Latvia and 100,000 abroad. Altogether, 2 million, or 80% of the population of Latvia, speak Latvian.[4] Of those, around 1.16 million or 62% used it as their primary language at home.[5][6]

latviešu valoda
Pronunciation[ˈlatviɛʃu ˈvaluɔda]
Native toLatvia
Native speakers
1.75 million (2015)[2]
Latin (Latvian alphabet)
Latvian Braille
Official status
Official language in
 European Union
Language codes
ISO 639-1lv
ISO 639-2lav
ISO 639-3lav – inclusive code
Individual codes:
lvs  Standard Latvian language
ltg  Latgalian language
Use of Latvian as the primary language at home in 2011 by municipalities of Latvia
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As a Baltic language, Latvian is most closely related to neighboring Lithuanian; however Latvian has followed a more rapid development.[7] In addition, there is some disagreement whether Latgalian and Kursenieki, which are mutually intelligible with Latvian, should be considered varieties or separate languages.[8]

Latvian first appeared in Western print in the mid-16th century with the reproduction of the Lord's Prayer in Latvian in Sebastian Münster's Cosmographia universalis (1544), in Latin script.