Help:IPA for Latvian
See Latvian phonology for a more thorough look at the sounds of Latvian.
At the time of its inception, a conscious decision was made that Latvian orthography does not need to show gemination/lengthening of consonants because there would be no practical benefit of doing so. Nevertheless single obstruent consonants (as opposed to consonant clusters) between two short vowels are always long, e.g., Atis would be ⟨attis⟩ and aka would be ⟨akka⟩ or [ˈatːis] and [ˈakːa]. Transcribing Latvian in IPA, however, consonant length is usually not indicated. Sonorants are an exception and are indicated in orthography: mamma, panna, allaž, ķerra, the long sonorants as in these words should probably be indicated both in phonetic as well as phonemic (i.e., less precise) transcriptions: [mamːa], [panːa], [alːaʒ], [cærːa].
Standard Latvian has three tones, by convention called, the level (stiepts), broken (lauzts) and falling (krītošs,) indicated by a tilde (~), circumflex (^) or grave (`) accents respectively. Different tones are distinguished if the stressed syllable (the first syllable, in most all cases) has either a long vowel or a diphthong, short vowels do not take on different tones, neither do unstressed syllables. In some cases the tone can be predicted, monosyllabic words with long consonant clusters, e.g., saukts, sīksts, etc., will have a broken tone: [sâukts], [sîːksts]. In other cases it's used to distinguish between (among) near-homographs or near-homophones (minimal pairs), e.g., auksts having a level tone [ãuksts] but augsts a broken tone [âuksts], the falling tone is sometimes used to distinguish a third meaning of a homograph, see, for example, tā.
In Rīga Latvian the falling tone has been syncretized with the broken (meaning, its users differentiate between the level and broken tones and perceive the falling tone as broken.) In Eastern Latvian (Latgalian) dialects all tones may be realized as broken, in other words, an absence of tone.
Tone is usually omitted transcribing Latvian in IPA, English Wiktionary for its Latvian entries, however, uses a notation of macron, circumflex or grave accent where necessary (note: tilde is already reserved for indicating nasal vowels in IPA, hence replacing it with a macron.)
- An unvoiced consonant in a compound followed by a voiced consonant will become voiced, e.g., atdarīt → [ˈadːariːt] or [ˈadˌdariːt].
- The sounds [f] and [x] do not occur in native words.
- Before the masculine ending -s, voiced consonants are devoiced, e.g. smags → [smaks]. The -s is assimilated after a devoiced fricative, producing a long consonant, e.g., mazs → [masː] and mežs → [meʃː]. Devoicing also occurs in compounds, labprātīgs → [ˈlapːraːtiːks] or alternatively [ˈlapˌpraːtiːks].
- Allophone of nasals before velars.
- The letter ⟨o⟩ in Latvian orthography usually represents the diphthong [uɔ], cf. Lithuanian nuoma and Latvian noma. [ɔ] and its long counterpart, [ɔː], are only encountered in loanwords.
- "DIVSKAŅI". Retrieved 21 July 2014.
- In closed syllables, [ai], [ɛi], [oi], and [ui] may be transcribed as vowel-glide sequences, e.g. tais [tajs], veikt [vɛjkt], boikots [bɔjkɔts], and muita [mujta].
- Only occurs in loanwords or onomatopoeiatic words.
- Only occurs in loanwords and onomatopoeiatic words or as the result of vocalization in open syllables of [v].
- Kortmann, Bernd (2011). The Languages and Linguistics of Europe. Walter de Gruyter. p. 5. ISBN 3110220253. Retrieved 21 July 2014. "Consonant quantity is well-developed in Latvian as a result of Fennic substratum influence. Sonorants show distinctive quantity mainly in loanwords, cf. manna [manːa] 'manna' vs. mana [mana] (nom.sg.fem. of 1st ps. sg possesive pronoun). Non-distinctive quantitative variation in obstruents occurs in native words: immidiately post-tonic voicless obstruents are automatically lengthened between short vowels, cf. lapa [lapːa] 'leaf' vs. lāpa [laːpa] 'torch,' lapā [lapaː] 'leaf (loc.sg.)'. In Lithuanian there is no consonantal quantity and on the morphemic boundary geminates are shortened."
- Masļanska, Olga; Rubīna, Aina (1992). Valsts valoda - Курс лекций латышского языка. Rīga. p. 11. "В латышском языке имеется слоговая интонация, которая может быть протяжной (~), прерывистой (^) и нисходящей (\). В некоторых случаях интонация имеет смыслоразличительное значение, например: за~ле ("зал"), за^ле ("трава"), za\les ("лекарство")"
- Kortmann, Bernd (2011). The Languages and Linguistics of Europe. Walter de Gruyter. p. 6. ISBN 3110220253. Retrieved 21 July 2014. "Both Latvian and Lithuanian are pitch languages. In Lithuanian, stressed long vocalic segments (long vowels, diphthongs, and sequences of vowel plus sonorant) show a distinctive opposition of rising and falling pitch, cf. kar̃tų 'time:gen.pl' vs. kártų 'hang:irr.3'. In standard Latvian (and some of the dialects), long vocalic sequences (of the same type as in Lithuanian) distinguish three varieties of pitch: 'even', 'falling', and 'broken' ('broken pitch' being a falling pitch with superadded glottalisation). They are fully differentiated in stressed syllables only: unstressed syllables have an opposition of glottalised and non-glottalised long vocalic segments. Segments with 'even' pitch are ultra long. Neither Lithuanian nor Latvian mark pitch in their standard orthography."