Egils Levits
Egils Levits

Distinguished participants, linguists!

For a nation, its language is a treasure created and guarded by both past and present generations. The Latvian language reflects our Latvian identity, common character and history. Language unites us in a nation and a country.

Linguists know best that language research is a contribution to the development of the language and, more broadly, to the development of culture and nation. This was also known to the outstanding, internationally highly regarded Latvian linguist Jānis Endzelīns, whose 150th birthday we celebrate today.

I am glad that the Latvian Language Institute of the University of Latvia announced a year ago the search for local words - related to Endzelin's call for the public to get involved in collecting vernacular words - has received a great response from people. Thanks to language enthusiasts and local words experts from all over Latvia! To all who participated! Thanks to everyone who cares about the Latvian language!

This initiative should be continued so that the diversity of the Latvian language can be realised as fully as possible. In order not to break the connection with the deepest core of the language contained in the folklore. So that the peculiar, the rare and the special do not disappear, but are kept alive and preserved for the future.

Dear linguists!

The quality of the Latvian language, efforts to strengthen the national language and language policy are currently at the centre of Latvian society attention. I invite each of you to get involved in this social movement alongside your scientific work! Language policy and language practice, advocacy for the Latvian language were not alien to a personality of such magnitude as Jānis Endzelīns.

I wish today's conference to be a celebration of the Latvian language, those who laid its strong foundations, and you, who continue the work of linguistics today!