Characteristics of the Latvian language in AX Semantics

Fundamentals

In Latvian, you need to know the gender and number of a noun to form the accompanying adjectives, determiners and pronouns correctly.

Latvian has two gender for nouns: masculine and feminine. There are two numbers: singular and plural. Additionally, Latvian has seven cases for nouns.

grammatical namevaluesexamples
numbersingularviena veca automašīna
(one old car)
pluralpiecas vecas automašīnas
(five old cars)
gendermasculinevecs ārsts
(old doctor)
feminineveca dāma
(old lady)
cases (noun)nominativesuns (dog)
genitivesuņa zvans
(dog's bell)
dativeEs dodu bumbu sunim.
(I give the ball to the dog.)
accusativeEs redzu suni.
(I see the dog.)
instrumentalNeredzīgais cilvēks staigā kopā ar suni.
(The blind man walks with a dog.)
locativeKauls bija sunī.
(The bone was in the dog.)
vocative (mainly for noun)Ei, suni!
(Hey, dog!)
adjectives (noun)before nounsarkanais ābols
(red apple)
verb tensespresentviņš pērk
(he buys)
pastviņš pirka
(he bought)

The standard order of a noun phrase in Latvian is the following: preposition + determiner + numeral + adjective + noun. See for example:

par    šīm    trim    populārajām grāmatām
about  these  three   popular     books[dat,pl]
PREP   DET    NUM     ADJ         NOUN
"about these three popular books"

Lexicon

Nouns

Latvian nouns are inflected for number and case. When the lexicon entry is missing, the NLG platform will try to find the most probable gender based on heuristics. However, nouns should be added to the lexicon with their grammatical gender if they do not inflect regularly.

Lexicon entries for nouns may also be necessary for inflecting determiners, adjectives and pronouns correctly. They are omitted, if a lexicon entry is required, but missing.

Examples

The basic lexicon entry for draugs (friend) contains:

  • inflection table for case and number:
SingularPlural
Nominativedraugsdraugi
Genitivedraugadraugu
Dativedraugamdraugiem
Accusativedraugudraugus
Instrumentaldraugudraugiem
Locativedraugādraugos
Vocativedraugsdraugi

note

If you need lexicon entries for countries, write to the support about that and you will get them for Latvian with automatic handling of prepositions.

Adjectives

In the lexicon, the inflection table encodes definiteness, case, number and gender. For adjective position, the default is "before noun".

Additionally, Latvian adjectives not only agree with the noun, but also express definiteness. Take the adjective vecs (old) for example:

Viņa nopirka [vecu] māju.
(She bought [an old] house.)
vs.
Viņa nopirka [veco] māju.
(She bought [the old] house.)

Besides, if adjectives stay after possessive and demonstrative determiners, the definite form will also be used. See for example:

Viņa nopirka šo [veco] māju.
(She bought this [old] house.)
Viņas [veco] māju.
(Her [old] house.)

Verbs

Latvian verbs inflect for person, number, and tense. The most common verbs are encoded in our software. If a verb inflects incorrectly, you should add it to the lexicon.

Container settings

Determiner

The AX NLG platform supports the following determiners for Latvian: demonstrative, distal, and possessive. Although there are no articles in Latvian, definiteness can be indicated by the endings of adjectives. Therefore, "definite" still can be chosen in the determiners setting.

Numerals

The noun will automatically agree with the numeral number when a numeral variable is used. Four types of numerals are possible on the AX NLG platform: cardinal, cardinal as digit, ordinal, and ordinal as digit.

cardinalordinal
textdeviņas dienas
(nine days)
devītā diena
(the ninth day)
digit9 dienas
(9 days)
9. diena
(the 9th day)

For Latvian, both cardinal and ordinal numerals up to 20 are written out on the platform. Additionally, cardinal numerals that are multiples of 10 up to 100 (e.g. 30, 40, etc.) are also written out. The outputs of other numerals are in digit form. Take cardinal numerals for example (written out vs. digit):

divdesmit automašīnas
(twenty cars)
astoņdesmit automašīnas
(eighty cars)
vs.
21 automašīna
(21 cars)

Note that when the cardinal is above 9, the noun (+ adjective) should be genitive case:

cardinal numeralsexample
1-9septiņi veci studenti[nom, m]
(seven old students)
piecas grāmatas[nom, f]
(five books)
above 9Divdesmit septiņi vecu studentu[gen, m]
(twenty-seven old students)
desmit grāmatu[gen, f]
(ten books)

Consonant shift

The AX NLG platform will automatically apply consonant shift for Latvian nouns. Consonant shift refers to the phenomenon that consonants in the beginning or middle of a word change depending on the grammatical context (e.g. singularplural or nominativedative).

For example, the plural nominative case for the noun brālis (brother) is formed with the suffix -i. With pluralization a consonant shift in the form of palatalization happens when the l in the middle of the noun changes to ļ, and thus brālis (brother) becomes brāļi(brothers). More examples can be seen below:

upe (river)  -> upju (gen.pl.) = iotation "p → pj"

lasis (salmon) -> lašu (gen.pl.) = palatalization "s → š"