The Latvian language (Latviešu valoda) is spoken by two million people. It is the official language of Latvia and one of the languages of the European Union.

Discovering the language

Latvian is an inflected language: declensions have five basic cases; the verbal system is rich with a diversity of tenses, aspectual values, the use of phrasal verbs, reflexive verbs and impersonal constructions.
Latvian is a semi-tone language: certain syllables carry tones (two or three). This feature, along with the fixed accent (first syllable of each word) and long syllables (long vowels, diphthongs) give Latvian a very particular prosody.

Latvian is traditionally classified in the Balto-Slavic branch of the Indo-European languages. It shares morphological, lexical, syntactic and phonetic features with other languages in this group (Lithuanian, Russian, etc.), as well as with Finno-Ugric languages (Estonian, Finnish, etc.) and Germanic languages (German, Swedish, etc.) spoken in the Baltic region.

Latvian uses the Latin alphabet (33 letters, 11 of which have diacritical marks). It has been written since the 16th century. Latvian literature is illustrated both by a popular tradition (songs in seven-eight foot quatrains) and by authors from the late nineteenth century (Aspasija, Blaumanis...) or contemporary (Ābele, Bels, Čaks, Ezera...). To date, there are very few translations into French.

Studying Latvian at Inalco

The teaching of Latvian at Inalco dates back to the 1930s. Inalco is the only French higher education establishment - and one of the very few in Europe - to offer a full degree course in Latvian.

Brochure Licence LLCER Letton 2023-2024 (796.4 KB, .pdf)

LETTON - Master LLCER 2023-2024 (1.09 MB, .pdf)