An Indo-European language and a member of the East Baltic branch, spoken by over 2 million people in the Republic of Latvia, where it is the official language, as well as in neighbouring Lithuania, Ukraine, Estonia and Belorussia, and an estimated further 1 million in the USA, Australia and western Europe.

The earliest written documents date form the 16th century. Modern Latvian is spoken in the two main dialects - West (Central) and East (High) Latvian. The two dialects are not very different, but each has a separate literary tradition. Central Latvian is the basis of the modern literary language which was standardized by the 1980s.

The language was spelt in Gothic until early 20th century. The Roman alphabet was adopted (with the addition of diacritics representing palatal consonants) in 1909.

CLASSIFICATION = Indo-European family, SCRIPT = roman
Colloquial Latvian : the complete course for beginners LAV CBEG 1 (PACK)
Complete Latvian (Teach Yourself) LAV CBEG 2(PACK)
Latviesu valodas : praktiska grammatika LAV GRAM 1
Teach yourself Latvian - 3rd ed.