Category Word is Like a Topic Title

When I do small group tutoring for beginner learners of Latvian, one of my suggestions is to learn category words. I’ll explain what I mean. For instance, the category to which the words “dandelion” and “daffodil” both belong to is “flowers”. Latvian for “dandelion” is “pienene” and “daffodil” for Latvian is “narcise“.

It is useful to learn category words because then you can sooner start using the language. How? Learn the question “Kas ir …?” (What is…?) and use it when communicating with Latvians. That’s how you’ll learn new words from native speakers. You need to start using your skills as soon as you have them. That ensures that you fix your knowledge in your memory.

The answer to “Kas ir pienene un narcise?” is “Puķes.” It is a category word. So, if you know the word “puķe” or “puķes” which is its plural form, then you are one step further in your journey of learning Latvian.

Thus, you might think a category word is like the title of the topic. Exactly! It is like the title, but it isn’t exactly that.

When I teach Latvian, I don’t focus on topics. I focus on explaining structures, namely, how words change depending on what their role in a sentence is. I teach it in my signature course “Latvian 4 English Speakers” (L4ES). Yet, in order to best explain all that to my students, it is easier for everyone if they start somewhat prepared.

The number 1 thing to learn is Latvian letters, and it helps a lot if you can write down when I dictate a word. (I do that regularly when I tutor students in my course.) Knowing category words would also help because then you have words to play with. In other words, I focus on teaching grammar.

I know that not everyone can appreciate that grammar can be something to play with. Yet, when you start noticing that Latvian words change, you’ll want to understand why that happens. Before you get to that stage, I’ll give you some words and then, you can request more content — sentences delivered in dialogues. No grammar at all, I promise. 🙂

Some Categories and Much More

Below, I’ll give you some videos where I actually taught words under certain categories. If you haven’t seen them yet, take advantage of these free resources. I also created additional study materials (downloadable PDF and audio files) if you want to learn more. Just click the link below, under these videos, and I’ll send you the files via e-mail.

As you see, the English category word here is “Meals”. The Latvian for meals is “ēdieni“. If you want to receive the 3 small dialogues that my son and I recorded for you. You’ll be able to download them to your phone and listen while you are on the go, for instance, working out or walking your dogs.


The category name, in this case, consists of 2 words in English and in Latvian. In Latvian it is “ķermeņa daļas“, and it’s good to learn them both together. There are many word combinations that are category names. There are also some names of body parts that consist of two words.

I made this video some time ago, and the page that I am showing at the end of this video is one of my earlier posts. That would only send you additional resources for the video on Body Parts. Yet, now you can receive the 4 resources (2 audio files and 2 PDF files) in one e-mail. I combined them so that you won’t need to request twice.

Click this link to get FREE resources (2 audio files and 2 printable files) delivered to your e-mail.

What Latvian words could you explain by their category word? Comment below. 🙂


Ilze Be is a Latvian born American coach, trainer, and public speaker. She works with leaders and managers to create change and grow. She has also created digital courses for English speaking community interested in Latvian language and affairs.

Leave a Reply