Culture Minute 1: The Influence of Culture on Local Languages
What could better reflect a country’s culture than its language? Each language suggests a perception of the world through its vocabulary, as the well-known example of the 50 words Inuit have to define snow. Estonian and Latvian come from 2 families of distinct languages. Estonian is related to the Ouralo-Altaic family, so it has a structure similar to languages like Finnish but also Hungarian, Turkish or Korean. Latvian is part of Indo-European languages such as Lithuanian, French or German. Attention here we are talking about large groups of languages ; the languages are then divided into more precise subgroups.
It should be mentioned that in both Estonia and Latvia, Russian remains a language spoken by at least 30% of the population. The Latvians even had a referendum in 2012 to decide to recognize Russian as the second official language. Obviously, English continues to rise in the percentages of interlocutors.