Reference work rescues long-lost Latvian terms

At 32 lats, the recently released Tautlietu vārdene compiled by Janīna Kursīte should be considered an investment. Drawing on mythology, folklore, history and ethnography, the 560-page reference book provides explanations of terms that today are often lost from everyday speech.

Published by the Latvian State Agency of Intangible Cultural Heritage (Nemateriālā kultūras mantojuma valsts aģentūra), the book was unveiled during a Feb. 19 presentation in Rīga.

Among other gems, the book lets readers learn about terms such as klibā diena, suveksis, piektais ritenis, laidavas and atkodējs, agency spokeswoman Baiba Bože said in a press release. The work also introduces crafts and other Latvian traditions.

Kursīte is a professor at the University of Latvia.

The book follows Kursīte’s 2007 dictionary, Neakadēmiskā latviešu valodas vārdnīca jeb Novadu vārdene and 2009’s Baltu un slāvu kultūrkontakti.

Tautlietu vārdene

Janīna Kursīte’s Tautlietu vārdene allows readers to learn about long-lost Latvian words.

Andris Straumanis is a special correspondent for and a co-founder of Latvians Online. From 2000–2012 he was editor of the website.

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