Latvian/Alphabet and pronunciation
Latvian almost always is pronounced as it is written. Small letters in this section are used to identify English letters, capital letters to identify Latvian letters.
- A as u in mug
- Ā as a in car
- B similar to English
- C as ts in tsunami
- Č as ch in church
- D similar to English, except that it's pronounced with the tongue pressed to the teeth rather than to the gum.
- E as a in apple (wide E) or as e in memory (narrow E)
- Ē long variation of E, as e in where (narrow Ē)
- G as g in gun, never as in gem
- Ģ like D and J together
- H as h in house
- I as i in gin
- Ī as ea in mean
- J as y in you
- K as k in skate
- Ķ as T and J together
- L as l in line
- Ļ as L and J together
- M as in man
- N similar to english
- Ņ as N and J together
- O as o in morning or short variation of this sound or diphthong UO (UA)
- P as p in spine
- R pronounced similarly to the Spanish r( ¿ere o erre?)
- S as s in sun
- Š as sh in shine
- T as t in state
- U as oo in foot
- Ū as oo in moon
- V as v in vacation
- Z as z in zebra
- Ž as z in seizure
Finally there are three sounds that are not included in alphabet and are not considered diphthongs either:
- DZ as D and Z together
- DŽ as j in join
- N before G or K as ng in sing folowed by G or K respectively.
If two vowels appear next to each other they are almost always a diphthong.
Although Latvian is normally considered to be written as it's spoken there are some positional sound changes that are not reflected in writing, however in pronunciation such variations usually are not perceived as incorrect by native speakers.
Voiceless consonants between two short vowels are lenghtened.
Voiced sounds b, d, g, z, ž, dz, dž are pronounced voiceless p, t, k, s, š, c, č (respectively) before other voiceless sounds. Similarly, voiceless sounds are pronounced voiced before voiced ones.
In the final syllable of a word ds and ts merge to form c, while šs and žs merge into š
Consonants v and j after a short vowel become simmilar to vowels u and i, respectively.