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Help with Latvian synonyms? - UniLang

Help with Latvian synonyms?

Moderator: Sol Invictus

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Katleen
Posts: 152
Joined: 2005-07-04, 20:33
Gender: female
Location: BE
Country: BE Belgium (België / Belgique)

Help with Latvian synonyms?

Postby Katleen » 2013-02-17, 17:13

Hi,

I'm asking this on behalf of my 13-year-old son, who is very interested in Latvian, and has been studying it on his own for almost a year now. He is using an English-language textbook and grammar. A problem is that in his grammar, verbs are often translated by just one English word without (much) context, so it's often difficult for him to know the difference between apparent synonyms.

I'm giving a list of verbs whose meaning seem to be related; could someone explain the difference in use between them (through a description or some sample sentences that can make it clear)?

Thank you very much! (Please note that I don't speak any Latvian myself, so please answer in English, apart from the sample sentences :) )

1. skatīt-verot (to look)
2. lūzt-lauzt-plīst (to break)
3. ļaut-laist (to allow)
4. dzīvs-dzīve-dzīvība (a live)
5. prast-macēt (to know how to do something)
6. varēt-spēt (can)
7. skriet-tecēt-skraidīt (to run)
8. prasīt-jautāt-vaicāt (to ask)
9. kļūt-tapt (to become)
10. vākt/savākt-krāt (to collect)
11. graut-kult (to destroy)
12. mest-sviest (to throw)
Native:  (nl) Fluent:  (fr)  (en)Intermediate:  (it)  (id)
Beginner:  (de)  (ja)


Corrections are welcome.

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mak
Posts: 386
Joined: 2006-05-04, 19:30
Real Name: Pēteris
Gender: male
Location: Rīga
Country: LV Latvia (Latvija)

Re: Help with Latvian synonyms?

Postby mak » 2013-02-17, 20:54

Hey, here's my interpretation:

1.
skatīt - to look/watch/see
vērot - to look for a longer period of time e.g. bird watching (vērot putnus); surveillance (novērošana) is derived from this word
2.
lauzt - people break sth on purpose
lūzt - objects stop working, get broken
plīst - objects break in pieces, shatter
3.
atļaut - to allow
ļaut - to let/to give permission/ability to do sth
laist is used mainly in idioms
4.
dzīvs - alive
dzīve - life
dzīvība - life in a video game
dzīvība - alive organisms in general e.g. they found life on mars (uz marsa atrasta dzīvība)
5.
interchangeable
prast - (you have the knowledge of) to know how to do something
mācēt - (you learned) to know how to do something
6.
varēt/spēt - interchangeable
7.
skriet - to run
tecēt - to run, small steps
skraidīt - to run around
8.
interchangeable
prasīt - to ask
jautāt - to ask (jautājums - question)
vaicāt - to query/to inquire (vaicājums - query/inquiry)
9.
kļūt/tapt - interchangeable?
10.
vākt - to gather e.g. to rake leaves (vākt lapas), to raise money (vākt naudu)
krāt - to collect e.g. to collect stamps
11.
graut - to destroy
kult - to whisk
if kult means to destroy then it's probably old-fashioned because I've never heard it
12.
mest - to throw e.g. throw paper in the trash
sviest - to throw farther e.g. throw a spear

If your son already has a good vocabulary, he can try to use this or this Latvian synonym dictionary.

User avatar
Katleen
Posts: 152
Joined: 2005-07-04, 20:33
Gender: female
Location: BE
Country: BE Belgium (België / Belgique)

Re: Help with Latvian synonyms?

Postby Katleen » 2013-02-18, 11:10

Hi Mak,

Thanks very much for having taken the time to reply to his rather long question :)

He has read your reply attentively. He understands English pretty well, but writing is still difficult, that's why I offered to ask it for him. He's only in his first year of English at high school, he picks up a lot of English vocabulary from TV, but that doesn't make him know how to spell it, of course.

I added the sites you mentioned to our favourites; they're still a little difficult now but I've no doubt they will come in handy as his Latvian improves.

I may post some other questions for him in future, till his English is good enough for him to do it himself.

Thanks again! :wink:
Native:  (nl) Fluent:  (fr)  (en)Intermediate:  (it)  (id)
Beginner:  (de)  (ja)


Corrections are welcome.

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Sol Invictus
Language Forum Moderator
Posts: 2743
Joined: 2007-01-04, 13:59
Gender: female
Location: Rīga
Country: LV Latvia (Latvija)

Re: Help with Latvian synonyms?

Postby Sol Invictus » 2013-02-20, 16:08

mak wrote:1.
skatīt - to look/watch/see

IMO this only would be used in limited number of cases like in books (look in page X),it should be reflexive skatīties
2.
lauzt - people break sth on purpose
lūzt - objects stop working, get broken

You could use lauzt when there is no purpose or people involved (e.g. you break your arm, wind breaks trees etc.), I think it rather depends on whether action comes from within the object or from outside force i.e. x breaks y is lauzt, but y breaks is lūzt
plīst - objects break in pieces, shatter

This is also used for things like paper or fabrics getting thorn

laist is used mainly in idioms

No, it just means "to let" in more physical sense, you could perhaps use it to tell somebody to stop posing some barrier, which technically would be allowing something to happen

dzīve - life
dzīvība - life in a video game
dzīvība - alive organisms in general e.g. they found life on mars (uz marsa atrasta dzīvība)

These both would be usually translated as life in English, but dzīve explictly means lifetime, dzīvība is life in almost every other way,could be defined sort of like state of being alive
6.
varēt/spēt - interchangeable

Yes, but varēt also can mean that one is allowed to do something, spēt is more like one has ability to do something

tecēt - to run, small steps

I think this meaning is kind of archaic, these days the word would normally apply to fluid (like water or blood) running

8.
prasīt - to ask

this one can also mean "to request"
11.
graut - to destroy
kult - to whisk
if kult means to destroy then it's probably old-fashioned because I've never heard it

Destroy would be iznīcināt. Graut is specifically about destroying something in particular, a proper translation would be something like "to bring to ruins". Kult refers to actions that require beating something repeatedly
12.
mest - to throw e.g. throw paper in the trash
sviest - to throw farther e.g. throw a spear

I don't see any difference between the two
I speak:  (lv) (en) I understand some:  (de) (ru) Toying with:  (es)

User avatar
Katleen
Posts: 152
Joined: 2005-07-04, 20:33
Gender: female
Location: BE
Country: BE Belgium (België / Belgique)

Re: Help with Latvian synonyms?

Postby Katleen » 2013-03-02, 13:21

Thanks for your additions, Sol Invictus.

I showed my son your post shortly after you wrote it, but as I was rather busy at the time I forgot to reply, sorry about that...

I see you disagree with Mak on many points, but I can understand that. When Dutch speakers need to explain near-synonyms to foreigners they also often find that words have different nuances for different native speakers. Once I staid in a French speaking family and they said to me: 'We never had trouble with French until you came along' :lol:
Native:  (nl) Fluent:  (fr)  (en)Intermediate:  (it)  (id)
Beginner:  (de)  (ja)


Corrections are welcome.

User avatar
Sol Invictus
Language Forum Moderator
Posts: 2743
Joined: 2007-01-04, 13:59
Gender: female
Location: Rīga
Country: LV Latvia (Latvija)

Re: Help with Latvian synonyms?

Postby Sol Invictus » 2013-03-02, 20:05

I don't really disagree (except about "laist" being idiomatic) I was mostly just trying to expand on it :roll: words often have several nuances and one person mostly would end up remembering just some of them and at the end of the day it isn't really that easy to define something e.g. now I am looking at what I said about "dzīve" and thinking that maybe it is wrong, because lifetime most explicitly is "mūžs" :hmm: oh, well, but anyways it is more lifetime related than the other one
I speak:  (lv) (en) I understand some:  (de) (ru) Toying with:  (es)


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