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I NEED HELP IN UNDERSTANDING LATVIANS

 
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 May, 2003 11:42 am
[Estonian is like Finnish a Finnic language.
There are some more Finnic languages to be found in the former USSR:
Livonian, Votian, Ingrian, Karelian, Olonetsian, Ludian and Vepsian.]
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 May, 2003 11:45 am
Walter Hinteler wrote:
[Estonian is like Finnish a Finnic language.
There are some more Finnic languages to be found in the former USSR:
Livonian, Votian, Ingrian, Karelian, Olonetsian, Ludian and Vepsian.]


You mean Hunnic, Walter . . . Finnish is a Hunnic language . . . you know, like Attila and Betty the Huns, that fun-loving couple in the 5th Century?
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 May, 2003 11:52 am
Not really, Setanta, I did indeed mean Finnic, as one group of the Finno-Ugrian languages languages.

Betty and Attila some kind of Ugrian, as far as I heard :wink:
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steissd
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 May, 2003 12:02 pm
In spite of having common roots with the famous conquerer Attilla, neither Finns nor Estonians are belligerent...
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Merry Andrew
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 May, 2003 02:01 pm
Walter, as usual, is quite right. Estonian -- along with Finnish and Hungarian -- is a Finno-Ugric language. Livonian is spoken in Latvia by a quite small but indigenous minority, Most anthropologists recognize the Livonians as probably being descendants of the earliest inhabitants of the region. The ancestors of the Latvians and Lithuanians, by comparison, are newcomers. The government of the first Latvian Republic (1918-1941) recognized this claim of primogeniture and authorized Livonians to run schools and other social activities in their own language. But I understand that there aren't too many people left whose first lamnguage is Livonian -- maybe a couple of hundred, that's all.

Ms. Olga -- what a perfect description of me! Smile
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cavfancier
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 May, 2003 02:34 pm
Was there a Veronica the Hun? Seems more appropriate...
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steissd
 
  1  
Reply Sat 24 May, 2003 10:58 am
A question to Merry Andrew: I heard that there is an ethnic subgroup in Latvia, the so-called Latgallians (I am not sure in spelling) that usually bear Russian surnames with addition of suffix "-s". For example, one of the high officials in the Soviet Latvia in mid-'80s was Anatolis Gorbunovs, and he was referred in the Soviet media as Anatoly Gorbunov (and this is a typical Russian name). Are these ethnic Russians assimilated by Latvians?
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Sat 24 May, 2003 12:29 pm
From History of Latvia
Quote:
In the 900's A.D., the ancient Balts started to form specific tribal realms. Gradually, four individual Baltic tribal cultures developed: Couronians, Latgallians, Selonians, Semgallians (in Latvian: kursi, latgali, seli and zemgali). The largest of them was the Latgallian tribe, which was the most advanced in its socio-political development. In the 1100s and 1200s, the Couronians maintained a lifestyle of intensive invasions that included looting and pillaging.


And from
Environmental Information Systems in Latvia - ASSESSMENT REPORT
Quote:
The territory of present-day Latvia has been inhabited since 9,000 BC. At about 3,000 BC, the ancestors of the Baltic Finns lived there, but during the first half of the 2nd millennium BC, the territory was entered by the first pre-Baltic tribes. The culture of the Baltic (Selonians, Semigallians, Couronians, Latgallians) and Finno-Ugric (Livian) tribes was formed; and the first governments were installed. Independent evolution was interrupted by the feudal German aggression into the Baltic in the 13th century. The conquered territory was named Livonia, and regular economic and cultural ties with more developed European regions were established. The social structure of the Baltic inhabitants was deformed, the native inhabitants were represented mainly by peasantry which, during the 15th and 16th century came under the yoke of serfdom. The process of consolidation of the Latvian nation took place during the 19th century. World War I (1914-18) was a difficult time for the Latvian people: Kurzeme was occupied by Germany, and was threatened with colonization. After an armed overthrow, the Iskolat Republic was formed in the unoccupied part of Latvia.


Hoping, steissd, this helps to answer your question (or have a look at the links).
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steissd
 
  1  
Reply Sat 24 May, 2003 12:45 pm
Thanks, Mr. Hinteler, the information was really interesting, but it did not give any explanation on why do the modern Latgallians bear slightly modified typical Russian surnames. I lived 27 years in the USSR, and I shall not confuse a Russian surname with any other (Ukrainian, Latvian, Armenian, Jewish, etc.). Some German and Jewish surnames may lead to confuse (for example, Hoffmann, Rosenberg, Hess or Strauss), but not Russian and Latvian.
If there will ever be a thread regarding understanding of Czechs, I surely will wonder whether the first Communist president of Czechoslovakia Mr. Clement Gottwald was an ethnic German or Austrian: his surname does not sound typical for the indigenous population of Czechoslovakia either...
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margo
 
  1  
Reply Sat 24 May, 2003 12:49 pm
CodeBorg
This has morphed into a really interesting and enlightening discussion. Well done!
(although it may have started as a spoof!) Razz
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Sat 24 May, 2003 12:51 pm
steissd

You certainly know that Czechoslovakia was one of the Hapsburg successor states. And quite a few names sound German today - as well as quite a German names sound Polish, less French, Danish etc.
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steissd
 
  1  
Reply Sat 24 May, 2003 12:53 pm
I know this; but then it is strange that Gottwald's administration transferred all the ethnic Germans from the Czech territory...
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Sat 24 May, 2003 01:02 pm
He wasn't a German, as far as I know.
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CodeBorg
 
  1  
Reply Sat 24 May, 2003 03:22 pm
husker wrote:
There was this LATVIAN girl in highschool!!! WOW now she could kiss!!!!! hubba hubba hubba

BOOYAH! Latvians are always falling for somebody or another! Life's too short, so we GO for it! :wink:


msolga wrote:
codeborg
So your father is Latvian! ...
let me tell you of my first ever true love ...

MsOlga, thank you SO much for sharing such nice words! :-D
Hearing about such beautiful love does much to restore my faith in humanity!

My parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents were all born in Latvia, so naturally that was my first language, even though I was born and raised in the U.S. I'm always curious about how it goes there, and where my genes came from.


steissd wrote:
A question to Merry Andrew: I heard that there is an ethnic subgroup in Latvia, the so-called Latgallians (I am not sure in spelling) that usually bear Russian surnames with addition of suffix "-s". For example, one of the high officials in the Soviet Latvia in mid-'80s was Anatolis Gorbunovs, and he was referred in the Soviet media as Anatoly Gorbunov (and this is a typical Russian name). Are these ethnic Russians assimilated by Latvians?


Latvian words have many conjugation endings, to indicate tense and gender. They are applied to names also, so most female names end with 'a' and most male names end with 's'. Sample a few of them here.

Many non-Latvian words are assimilated into the language just by adding the appropriate Latvian ending to it, so Jacob Robert becomes Jekabs Roberts, and Boston becomes Bostona. This may explain how Russian names are quickly e"S"sified, along with everyone else.

It was not a written language until 400 years ago, so they did the alphabet right. Everything is spelled phonetically, one letter for each sound, and one sound for each letter. To spell any word you simply say the word, very slowly, one letter at a time. I always thought this made the Latvian language pretty easy to learn ... but I'm biased.

History of the Latvian Language.

The four Latvian provinces: Vidzeme, Kurzeme, Zemgale, and Latgale each have unique histories, and figure prominently throughout the Latvian anthems and songs. But as far as I've seen (among Latvian Americans anyways) there seems a pretty strong separation between natives and Russians.



margo wrote:
CodeBorg
This has morphed into a really interesting and enlightening discussion. Well done! (although it may have started as a spoof!) Razz

:-D I've never met so many people who have even heard of Latvia!! :-D
I confess this thread started just after I read the Understanding Frenchmen and German thread, to point out how we often may spread stereotypes as "knowledge". And of course, now there's Paddies and Understanding Folks Who Need To Understand also. I've been stunned and gratified at the response, though, and learning quite a bit. Wow!
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CodeBorg
 
  1  
Reply Sat 24 May, 2003 03:27 pm
Views of the central part of Riga...

http://www.turi.lv/PIC/riga/centr_b.jpg

http://www.turi.lv/PIC/riga/roofs_b.jpg

A few more photos of Riga here...
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Sat 24 May, 2003 03:39 pm
It wont interest a lot here, but in this very moment, there is the end of the "European Song Contest": some 100 millions are watching this show live, produced by Lativian TV in Riga.

http://www.eirovizija.lv/public/index_en.html
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ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Sat 24 May, 2003 03:49 pm
beautiful city. thanks, CodeBorg. One of the few places in Europe I'd like to visit. I always thought a Scandinavian cruise would be fun. Then hamburger and mrs. hamburger went on one - the pix look like it was a great time!
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Merry Andrew
 
  1  
Reply Sat 24 May, 2003 05:57 pm
Steissd -- sorry to take so long in putting in my two kopeks in answer to your question. First, A2K was down and then my 'puter started to throw a hissy-fit and wouldn't let me in. I got it fixed via the absolutely brilliant expedient of rebooting. (Told you I'm not mechanically inclined.)

Anyway, there are two main reasons for the preponderance of Russian-sounding names in Latgale. First, it must be understood that Latgale is in the southeastern corner of Latvia. Thus it is the geographically closest region to Russia. Over the centuries, I'm sure, there has been much intermarriage between the two peoples. As our host, Mr. Borg, points out, Latvian names get conjugated along with common nouns and, thus, noun endings change. I suspect that some of those names were originally Russian but got Latvianized over time. The Russian men themselves, and their progeny, got thoroughly assimilated into Latvian society and do not think of themselves as having a Russian heritage any more.

Secondly, the matter of family names in Latvia is a complex problem for any student of anthropology and ethnology. We must remember that the institution of serfdom was not abolished in Tsarist Russia until the 1860s. Prior to that, peasants seldom had official family names. They were known by the name of the landowner or the property on which they farmed. In the late 1860s, early 1870s (I'm sure Waletr coiuld come up with the exact date in a jiffy) a new census was ordered to register all the newly freed freemen in the Romanov Empire. That's why a lot of Latvians have Germanic-sounding family names, others Russian-sounding names. It is analogous to African-Americans often having names like MacGregor or Denehy or Williams or Jones. These names come from the forner owners or overseers of the slaves from whom these people are decsnded. So with the Latvians. In Latgale, the Latgallians (you had the word right, Steiss) might have been tenants on land owned by Russian nobles, whereas in the western part of the country the ownership was generally German.

The Latgallian dialect, incidentally, is fascinating. It is a far cry from 'standard' Latvian as spoken in Riga and even native-born Latvians sometimes have difficulty in understanding it. But the most recent linguistic scholarship would seem to indicate that this dialect is a lot closer to old Latvian, as it was spoken prior to the Germanic invasion of 800 years ago, than modern standard Latvian. The modern language has been greatly altered by Western influences, particularly German, Scandinavian and -- in the last dozen years -- English. The Latgallian sounds more Slavic, although Latvian is usually not classified as a Slavic language.

Does any of this help?
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littlek
 
  1  
Reply Sat 24 May, 2003 06:41 pm
Those photos are stunning!
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dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Sat 24 May, 2003 08:02 pm
Wow! I wanna go to latvia - always wanted to visit Czechoslovakia - but now I wanna go a Latvia as well!
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