An important topic I haven't yet covered is how to count in Latvian. For now,
we'll start with the very basics - how to count up to nine and how Latvians
indicate ordinals (first, second, third, and so on).
## Numbers Zero Through Nine
For the most part, this is quite straightforward. These are critical to learn
early on as the digits are used in word-building quite frequently, in addition
to just being handy for phone numbers, addresses, etc.
_Zero_ is _nulle_. You can create _nulltais_ , an ordinal, from _nulle_ , the
same way we can create zeroth from zero. I believe nulltais is used as jargon
primarily and may not be considered a "real" word (neither is zeroth for that
matter).
**_Viens_ is singular without a plural form**. The remaining digits from **two
through nine are plural without singular forms**. Ten and up are handled a
little differently, so I'll do those in another post so this one isn't hugely
long.
**Every number from 1 to 9 has two endings, masculine and feminine.** Except
for trīs, one through nine decline like regular indefinite adjectives. (I'll
note the table for trīs at the end of the post.) Ordinals (including trīs)
decline like regular definitive adjectives.
Note the different stem used for pirmais/pirmā and otrais/otrā.
Cardinals (m/f) | # | Ordinals (m/f) | | Meaning
---|---|---|---|---
viens - viena | 1 | pirmais - pirmā | 1. | first
divi - divas | 2 | otrais - otrā | 2. | second
trīs | 3 | trešais - trešā | 3. | third
četri - četras | 4 | ceturtais - ceturtā | 4. | fourth
pieci - piecas | 5 | piektais - piektā | 5. | fifth
seši - sešas | 6 | sestais - sestā | 6. | sixth
septiņi - septiņas | 7 | septītais - septītā | 7. | seventh
astoņi - astoņas | 8 | astotais - astotā | 8. | eighth
deviņi - deviņas | 9 | devītais - devītā | 9. | ninth
## Difference between cardinal and ordinal numbers
First, a number is a _skaitļa vārds_. **A cardinal number** , or _pamata
skaitļa vārds_ is a number word that **indicates the quantity** of something
like one, two, or three. **An ordinal number** , or _kārtas skaitļa vārds_ ,
is a number word **signifies rank, order** , position, importance, or other
discriminating factor like first, second, or third.
**When we write ordinals using digits** in English, we'll write "2nd" or
"3rd", with an abbreviation of the last two letters of the ordinal's written
form. Latvians **simply place a period after the number** like so: "2nd" is
"2." and "3rd" is "3." If a roman numeral is used (VI or L, etc.), no dot is
needed but the number is still considered an ordinal. When you read roman
numerals aloud, you'd use the definitive adjectival form of the number.
Cardinal numbers are written without a dot. "One" is just "1″ that's all
An important thing to remember is that **Latvians use commas for decimal
notation** rather than periods. For example: A bottle of water's label would
read _1,5 l_ for the volume, while in America we'd see _1.5 L_ on our labels.
Prices are written similarly: the same bottle of water might cost _Ls 0,75_.
## Trīs Trouble
**Trīs can be either declined specially** , as shown below, **or not declined
at all** :
| Declension | vīriešu dzimte (masc.) | sieviešu dzimte (fem.)
---|---|---
Nom. - Kas? | trīs | trīs
Gen. - Kā? | triju, trīs | triju, trīs
Dat. - Kam? | trim, trijiem, trīs | trim, trijām, trīs
Acc. - Ko? | trīs | trīs
Intr. - Ar ko? | ar trim, trijiem, trīs | ar trim, trijām, trīs
Loc. - Kur? | trijos, trīs | trijās, trīs