Column / Harry's

Harry’s Latvian Language Tip #1

When speaking Latvian I always find that I mix up the words for ‘mouse’ and ‘duck’, which are ‘pele’ and ‘pīle’. I am sure these sound completely different to native speakers but to me they are tricky, so I came up with a mnemonic to help with telling the two apart.


First we have ‘pele’; a mouse. Pelé was a very famous football (soccer) player. So just imagine a Brazilian mouse that is really good at football. Maybe in your head he’s scoring a goal right now. Easy.



Now, how to remember duck? An aquatic bird known in Latvian as ‘pīle’, which is pronounced ‘peel-eh’. This reminded me of a very beautiful duck called a mandarin, which is also the name of a small orange. And what do we have to do before we can eat a mandarin? Peel it. So it goes like this: duck, mandarin, peel and finally ‘pīle’.


This works even better if you want to remember the diminutive, cutesy form of duck which is ‘pīlīte’ [peel-ee-teh]. So once again, what do we need to do before we eat a mandarin? We have to peel it, eh?


Don’t worry, I’m cringing just as much as you are. I do hope this may come in handy for you though.


3 thoughts on “Harry’s Latvian Language Tip #1

  1. Don’t know why you’re cringing. Excellent way to learn anything. There’s a host of books written on similar techniques. Keep it up. Good artwork too. Well done

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s