"In order to draw the public's attention to the currently relevant influence of the English language on the Latvian language and to encourage the search for and introduction of words of the Latvian literary language corresponding to the means of expression of the English language in speech, the Latvian Language Agency invites you to help create a joint 'Modern Urban Dictionary'," the LVA said.
All languages are subject to change via neologisms and loan words, with social media and interntional inter-personal contact accelerating the process, the agency notes.
"Today, as never before, we have the opportunity to obtain information on almost any topic in a short time in many languages. Undeniably, the English language currently plays a particularly large role in the circulation of information," the agency said, adding that knowledge of such processes could help to "preserve the uniqueness of [one's] native language."
"While creating the 'Modern Urban Dictionary', we will observe the interaction between the Latvian and English languages , we will become aware of the words and phrases that we have borrowed from the English language in the Latvian language in recent years, and we will also offer them appropriate means of expression in the Latvian literary language," the LVA explained, giving a few prime exaples of English loanwords in common Latvian usage today such as čilot (to chill out or relax), laikot (to 'like' something on social media) and tripiņš (a trip of either the physical or mental variety).
"Perhaps knowing the anglicizations used in our everyday language will also encourage us to think about why we have borrowed so many words and phrases, what are the consequences (both positive and negative) and, most importantly, what means the Latvian language should use to express the same content," speculates the LVA.
In order to participate in the creation of the Modern Urban Dictionary, users need to open the website vards.valoda.lv and fill out a form (in Latvian) explaining the word, its typical usage and other relevant information.
At a later date it will be possible to vote on the proposed inclusions, and participants whose submissions receive the highest number of votes, will receive what is described as "a surprise prize" from the Latvian Language Agency.
The lexicographic initiative will take place from January 15 until October 15, 2024 – National Language Day.