Latvian Language Advancement Group (LVAK)
The Latvian Language Advancement Group of the Rīga Latvian Society is a closely-knit, non-profit network of language enthusiasts, linguists and activists, who organise various events, presentations and broader projects to boost the skills, awareness, and refinement of the Latvian language – both socially and individually.
Jānis Endzelīns (b. 1873, d. 1961), the renowned 20th-century Baltic linguist who had a key expert role in consolidating the modern shape and harmonious standards of Latvian, had led a Language Chapter at the Rīga Latvian Society until freedom of association was suppressed – and even before certain jumpy “spelling rectifications” were imposed – by the invading Soviets in the 1940s. Today, the LVAK confidently resumes the Language Chapter’s line of work: appreciating and revitalising the best practices of Latvian.
Since its beginnings in 2001, the LVAK’s activities span book publishing and idea exchange, as well as conferences and monthly lectures. In addition to a select range of researchers (domestic and international), these discussions are chaired by artists, translators, authors, experienced terminologists, and representatives of the linguistic institutions of Latvia, as well as former and current Latvian expatriates.
By 2010, about 100 presentations at the LVAK had covered a variety of historical, technological, lexicographic and practical areas. Additional dialogue has explored new books on phonology, diachronic comparisons of dictionary-creation approaches, literary translation, spelling pros and cons, slang versus erudite usage, an overall sociolinguistic commentary – and there’s more to come!
The Latvian Word of the Year survey might be the nationally most popular development of the LVAK. First organised in 2003, it has since then singled out each year’s lexical novelties: the most useful word (often a neologism); the most annoying word (nevārds/antiword); and the most famous or notorious quote heard publicly (this is how winged words are born in the modern Latvia).
About the LVAK’s projects and resources, contact its coordination team here. You can write to us also in English, French, German and Lithuanian.