If you're an avid language learner, you'll have discovered that there's no Latvian on Duolingo. There are several reasons for this, including that there are only 1.3 million Latvian speakers, Russia dwarfs it, and currently, the Duolingo administration is focusing on an endangered language like the Hawaiian language.
But don't fear. We have a list of some alternatives for you and a list of reasons you should learn Latvian.
Reasons To learn Latvian (And Go To Latvia)
Latvia is a paradise for digital nomads. Latvian internet is not just fast; it's electric, ranking 6th in the world—an amazing accomplishment for such a small country. The average download speed is 120mbps which is currently ten times faster than the wifi connection I'm writing this on from in England.
Latvia is a centralized country. 1/3 of the population lives in the capital Riga. Again this is ideal if you're building a business. There is a big workforce in a small area. It goes without saying that if you speak Latvian, then it is much easier to build connections in the business community. More than anything, it shows a level of respect for the people you want to collaborate with
Latvia (outside the capital) is 54% forest. Perfect for you outdoors folk. Spend your morning in the capital and disappear into the forest for the afternoon. (If you like waterfalls, there's one called Venta Rapid in Kuldīga that is worth seeing.) In fact, there are four national parks and 42 nature parks. Why not do an in-demand activity like trekking!?
If you remember our blog 'no Estonian on Duolingo,' you'll recall my tongue-in-cheek- reference to supermodels. Well, Latvia is just behind Estonia on the percentage of supermodels per capita. (Estonian and Latvian aren't entirely mutually intelligible languages, but they aren't far off). Practice those lines in the bars of Riga!
This is one for all you vexillologists out there. The Latvian flag is 800 years old with a fascinating history. According to one story, an ancient king of Latvia was wounded in battle and wrapped a white sheet around him, stained partially red by his blood. Generally speaking, there is a lot to explore with Latvian history (particularly WW2 and the Soviet Union era). You can only really understand it if you speak a little bit of the language.
For all you 130 million Russian speakers out there, Latvian will be easier to learn as the two languages are similar.
General Reasons To Learn A Language
There are, of course, many various studies about the positive benefits of language learning and what it does for neuroplasticity in later life. I can only speak personally here and say that learning a language changes how you approach a culture. It is almost like discovering a new art form. Learning a language is as powerful as finding your new favorite book or piece of music.
What else is amazing is how people warm to you even when you try a little. It puts them at ease and shows you care enough about their culture to spend your time on it.
Alternatives To Duolingo
My first port of call is always Youtube. I feel I need to be part of an active, encouraging community. Languages are constantly changing. Just have a flick through one of your old french textbooks and see how much of the language is now out of date (particularly in the technology section). It's not only the vocabulary but also learning styles. They are constantly evolving, and good Youtubers are on top of the changes. The best I've been able to find is by a young woman called Germane. She has videos on everything from information about Latvian Halloween costumes and how to say hello.
I would usually, at this point, recommend one of Simya Solutions Simply Learn phrasebooks. They're perfect when you're lost for words in the back of a taxi or when checking into a hotel. Unfortunately, the company isn't doing a Latvian version. In that case, I'd recommend a blog called basic words and phrases in Latvian by one of our writers.
Ling has the market cornered when it comes to learning languages. Over many years our experts have developed a course that will take you from Latvian zero to hero because in this day and age it's not enough to only speak your native language
Nowadays, apps are very broad. We create courses for people who love to learn them. The point of Ling is to bring you an app that makes you want to keep coming back for more. That's why we spent so much time mastering our sleek user interface and gamification elements. You will find the app easy to negotiate, and when you see your points compared to others on our leaderboard, you'll become addicted to learning.
We have literally hundreds of bite-sized lessons. My advice is to do 15 minutes a day and build it into your daily schedule. You will find that as the day progresses, you will seek out more opportunities to learn the language. Perhaps you read an article in your chosen language, listen to a piece of music, or watch a Youtube influencer like the one mentioned earlier.
For related discussions, follow our blogs and then come to our website and sign up today. We all also have many forums on the internet(Reddit in particular) and a place for all your many voices to be heard.