Word of the day – paldies
Yesterday I learnt how to say thank you in Latvian – paldies /pal’dies/ – from the Latvian lads who delivered and installed my new garden shed. Although they didn’t speak much English, we managed to communicate. When I asked where they were from, they didn’t understand the question, then one of them said, “oh, what country?” and they told me Latvia.
In situations like this when I find myself speaking to people whose language I don’t know and who don’t speak much English, I tend to feel frustrated. Not by their limited English, but by the fact that I don’t know any of their language. It also helps to try saying things in various ways until you find one they understand, as the “Where are you from?” example demonstrates.
Looking at the Latvian phrases on Omniglot, it strikes me that hardly any words look familiar, apart from the lab part of labdien (good afternoon) and labvakar (good evening), which resembles the Lithuanian word labas, which is used for hello, and in such phrases as Laba diena (good afternoon) and labas vakaras (good evening), both of which are similar to the Latvian versions. The words dien (day) and vakar (evening) also resemble their equivalents in Slavic languages such as Czech – den and večer,and Russian – день (den’) and вечер (večer).
Are any of you learning Latvian or planning to learn it?