Lettish language  

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The Lettish language along with Lithuanian makes up a group of Eastern Baltic languages. According to the official version of Lettish linguists, the Latgalian dialect, which some linguists single out as a separate language, is also referred to Lettish. Lettish is the official language of Latvia and it is included into the list of official languages of the European Union, which are 23 now.

About 1,4 million people call Lettish their native language, this amounts to more than a half of the Latvian population, and the total number of native speakers throughout the world is practically 2 millions.

Till the 8th century AD Lettish and Lithuanian languages were considered to be varieties of one language, and afterwards they began to develop separately. Lettish was much influenced by the German languages, as Latvian lands for a long time were in the possession of German barons. The influence of Eastern-Slavic languages is felt also in Lettish lexis.

The first monuments of written Lettish are dated 1525 – this is a religious work, published in Germany in three languages and fragments of the Bible, translated by Nikolaus Ramm. Practically one hundred years later, the first dictionary of the Lettish language was compiled.

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