Latvian language

latvian flag

The Republic of Latvia is a country in Europe that belongs to the Baltic Region (together with Lithuania and Estonia), and whose capital is Riga. It has a population of 2 million inhabitants (148º) and an area of ​​64,589 km 2 (122º). Its human development index is very high (41st) and its official currency is the euro. And what language is spoken in Latvia?

What language do they speak in Latvia?

Latvia has one official language, Latvian.

All other languages ​​(with the exception of Livonian) are considered foreign languages ​​in legal terms, despite the fact that Russian is the mother tongue of a third of the population (in 2012 there was a referendum in which 75% of Latvians voted against Russian being an official language). Despite this, the government finances a bilingual program for 7 linguistic minorities: Russian, Polish, Ukrainian, Hebrew, Estonian, Lithuanian and Belarusian.

In education, most schools teach English, Russian and German. Both in business and in tourism, English and Russian are of great importance. 46% of the population speak English, and 14% speak German.

The Latvian language

Latvian (latviešu valoda) is the official language of the country and is spoken by 62.1% of the population natively, and up to 90% of the inhabitants use it on a daily basis in their day to day life. It is necessary to learn the language to obtain the citizenship of Latvia (with an official exam). The writing of proper names, toponymy and official documentation in Latvian is also mandatory.

map of latvian language as a first language in latvia

The Russian language

Russian (русский язык) is spoken by 37.2% of the population, and up to 67% have basic notions. In Latvia there are 109 schools that use Russian as the language of instruction for 40% of subjects (the remaining 60% in Latvian), although such instruction in Russian has recently started to be stopped in private colleges and universities, with the exception of subjects related to the culture and history of Russia, such as Russian language and literature classes.

map of russian language as a first language in latvia

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