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Standard Latvian Vocabulary - Idiomatic expressions

Hi Standard Latvian learners! 😊
In this lesson, we will learn about some interesting idiomatic expressions that are commonly used in Standard Latvian. These idioms are an integral part of the Latvian language, and once you learn them, you'll be able to express yourselves in a more nuanced and native-sounding way. 💪

Once you've mastered this lesson, take a look at these related pages: How to say Good Bye? & Family and relationships.

What are idiomatic expressions?[edit | edit source]

Idiomatic expressions are phrases or sentences in a language that convey a figurative or non-literal meaning. They are a great way to add some flair and creativity to language, but can be tricky to understand for non-native speakers since the meaning is not always clear from the individual words used.

In other words, idiomatic expressions are a group of words in a fixed order that have a figurative meaning that is different from the literal meaning of the words.

For example, if someone says "to kick the bucket," it does not actually mean to kick a bucket. Instead, it's an idiom that means to pass away. In Latvian, the equivalent idiom for "to kick the bucket" is "zionfāns nolaupīja kājas" which translates to "John the thief took the legs". Interesting, isn’t it? 😊

    1. Common idiomatic expressions in Latvian##
      1. 1. Adu ēst - To eat a fish###

This idiomatic expression is used when someone is very quiet, keeping things to themselves and not speaking much. It can be used in situations when someone is not sharing their ideas, opinions, or emotions.

  • Person 1: Kāpēc Jānis vakar visu dienu klusēja? (Why was John silent all day yesterday?)
  • Person 2: Viņš vadītāja priekšā jutos nedrošs, tāpēc ēda zivi. (He felt insecure in front of his boss, so he ate a fish.)
      1. 2. Nenosedzamās kabatas - Bottomless pockets###

This idiom is used to describe someone who has endless resources, usually referring to money. It can also be used to describe situations where the demand is greater than supply, and there is no end in sight.

  • Person 1: Vai tu vari iegādāties visu mūsu komandas aprīkojumu? (Can you buy all the equipment for our team?)
  • Person 2: Jā, man ir nenosedzamās kabatas. (Yes, I have bottomless pockets.)
      1. 3. Ar roku pie sirds - With hand on heart###

This idiom is used to convey a sincere promise or statement of truth. It also indicates trust and honesty.

  • Person 1: Vai tu mani apmelo? (Are you lying to me?)
  • Person 2: Nē, ar roku pie sirds, es tev sakot patiesību. (No, hand on my heart, I am telling you the truth.)
      1. 4. Atzīties pie vainas - To confess to fault###

This idiom is used to describe taking responsibility for your actions and admitting fault. It is a way of apologizing and can also be used as a way of asking for forgiveness.

  • Person 1: Kāpēc jūs neatbildējāt uz manu zvanu? (Why didn't you answer my call?)
  • Person 2: Es pie vainas atzinos, biju aizņemts un paredzējis tev zvanīt vēlāk. (I confess to my fault, I was busy and promised to call you later.)
      1. 5. Uzsisties pa kaklu - To hit oneself in the neck###

This idiomatic expression is used to describe getting oneself into a difficult situation or bringing trouble upon oneself. It implies that the situation is caused by one’s own actions, and they have no one else to blame.

  • Person 1: Kāpēc tavs dators neatgriežas garantijā? (Why is your computer not covered by the warranty?)
  • Person 2: Tāpēc, ka es vienreiz uzmetos un iegādājos datoru no bezvēsts tirgotāja. Pašs uzsisu sev pa kaklu. (That's because I once took a risk and bought a computer from an unknown seller. I hit myself in the neck.)
    1. Conclusion##

In conclusion, idiomatic expressions are a fun and unique way to express oneself in any language, and Standard Latvian has plenty of them! Learning these idioms can add some flavor and sophistication to your conversations with native speakers, but remember to use them appropriately and in the right context.

Don't hesitate to practice your Standard Latvian on Polyglot Club, where you can find native speakers and ask them any questions. And of course, feel free to check out our [Language/Standard-latvian/Vocabulary|vocabulary section] to learn even more new Latvian words and phrases.

➡ If you have any questions, please ask them in the comments section below.😊

➡ Feel free to edit this wiki page if you think it can be improved. 😎

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