• Linda Lauze Liepāja University, Latvia



Latvian, pronominal adress, communication, English, sociolinguistics


This paper represents the study of sociolinguistic variation. The Latvian language has two singular personal pronouns tu (T) and jūs (V) used for addressing one person but sociolinguistic processes in society reflects that the use of the T pronoun intensifies outside informal speech situations. The  aim of  the  research  is  to characterize the system of pronominal address as well as to test the steadiness of the V pronoun (jūs) in the Latvian language. The empiric part of the research is a qualitative study based on personal interviews, direct observation, and responses in two questionnaires distributed in 1999–2000 and in 2018.

The use of  Latvian address forms has been changed in comparison with the Soviet period. For instance, in education. It seems that the high prestige of English and changes of communication style in Latvia are one of the factors making a positive linguistic attitude to the wider use of the T pronoun. However, according to the results of the research, at present Latvians are not ready to reject the pronoun jūs. This was concluded in both questionnaires by answers of 85.5 % of respondents in 1999–2000 and  87 % – in 2018. The Latvian personal pronoun jūs as a significant part of the address system is no doubt the feature of Latvia’s culture.

Author Biography

Linda Lauze, Liepāja University, Latvia

Kurzeme Institute of Humanities, Liepāja University, Latvia


Barber, C. (2004). The English Language: A Historical Introduction. Fifth printing. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Blūmane, A. (2009). Sociolinguistic Analysis of Address Usage in General Educational Institutions in Latvia. Kalbos Kultūra. T. 82. Vilnius: Lietuvių kalbos institutas, pp. 202–213.

Brēde, M. (2016). Changeability within the Lexical Level of Latvian under the Impact of Global English. Scriptus Manet. Nr. 3. Liepāja: LiePA, pp. 62–77.

Brown, P. and Levinson, S. (1987). Politeness: Some Universals in Language Usage. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Brown, R. and Gilman, A. (1982). The Pronouns of Power and Solidarity. Language and Social Context. Ed. By Pier Paolo Giglioli. Penguin Books, pp. 252–282.

A Dictionary of Sociolinguistics. (2004). Ed. By Joan Swann, Ana Deumert, Theresa Lillis, and Rajend Mesthrie. Tuscaloosa: The University of Alabama Press.

Druviete, I. (2017). Latvian in the Context of Global Sociolinguistic Processes. The Language Situation in Latvia: 2010–2015. A Sociolinguistic Study. (Valodas situācija Latvijā: 2010–2015. Sociolingvistisks pētījums.) Scientific Editor L.Lauze, Editor-in-Chief G. Kļava. Rīga: LVA, pp. 11–33.

Ernstsone, V. (2006). Latviešu sarunvaloda Austrumu un Rietumu ietekmju krustpunktā. [The Conversational Latvian in the Point of Intersection of the Influences of East and West.] Lietuviešu un latviešu sastatāmās stilistikas jautājumi. Šiauliai: Všļ Šiaulių universiteto leidykla, pp. 192.–203. [In Latvian]

Kretzenbacher, H., Clyne, M., and Schüpbach, D. (2006). Pronominal Address in German: Rules, Anarchy and Embarrassment Potential. Australian Review of Applied Linguistics 29 (2): pp. 17.1–17.18. DOI: 10.2104/aral0617.

Lauze, L. (2001). Dzimuma atšķirības uzrunas lietojumā. [Gender Differences in the Usage of Address.] Vārds un tā pētīšanas aspekti. Rakstu krājums 5. Liepāja: LiePA, pp. 286–295. [In Latvian]

Lauze, L. (2002). Vecuma atšķirības uzrunas lietojumā. [Age Differences in the Usage of Address.] Vārds un tā pētīšanas aspekti. Rakstu krājums 6. Liepāja: LiePA, pp. 434–440. [In Latvian]

Lauze, L. (2019). Lingvistiskā attieksme pret svešinieku uzrunas lietojumā. [Linguistic Attitude Towards a Stranger in the Use of Address.] VALODA – 2019. Valoda dažādu kultūru kontekstā. XXIX Zinātnisko rakstu krājums. Atb. red. S. Polkovņikova. Daugavpils: Daugavpils Universitātes Akadēmiskais apgāds „Saule”, pp. 162.–167. [In Latvian]

Lyons, J. (1981). Language and Linguistics: an Introduction. Cambridge; New Yourk: Cambridge University Press.

Sīlis, J. (1988). Uzrunas “biedri/biedre(ne)” lietošanas problēmas. [Problems of the Usage of Address Forms “biedri/biedre(ne)” (‘Comrade’).] Valodas aktualitātes – 1987. Rīga: Zinātne, pp. 206–216. [In Latvian]

Sīlis, J. (2009). Tulkojumzinātnes jautājumi. Teorija un prakse. [Issues of Translation Studies. Theory and Practice.] Ventspils: Ventspils Augstskola. [In Latvian]

Spolsky, B. (2003). Sociolinguistics. Fourth impression. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Trudgill, P. (2000). Sociolinguistic: an Introduction to Language and Society. Fourth edition. London: Penguin Books.

Veisbergs, A. (2012). Semantic Change in Latvian under the Influence of English. Baltic Journal of English Language, Literature and Culture. Volume 2. Riga: University of Latvia, pp. 103–121.

Силис, Я. (1980). Семиотика форм английского и латышского обращения. [Semiotics of Forms of English and Latvian Address.] Candidate of Philological Sciences dissertation, Mikhail Lomonosov Moscow State University. [In Russian]




How to Cite

Lauze, L. . (2020). THE SYSTEM OF PRONOMINAL ADDRESS IN LATVIAN: A SOCIOLINGUISTIC ASPECT. Proceedings of CBU in Social Sciences, 1, 134-138.