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Language police on the watch

Feb 18, 2015

As International Mother Language Day approaches, the Language Police are presenting a study on the public speech habits of leaders of Latvian cities. 

In February, people celebrate International Mother Language Day, established by UNESCO, all around the world. In this context, our company has decided to take an active role in the plans to enhance the role of the mother tongue and is presenting a new study conducted under the Language Police project.

At the end of 2013, five Latvian language experts carried out a Language Police study, whereby they analysed the culture of speech of ten members of the 11th Saeima of Latvia. This time we wanted to find out about the culture of speech of Latvian local governments, so, at the end of 2014 and in the beginning of 2015, we analysed the public speech habits of the leaders of the 14 largest cities in Latvia. The study was based on publicly available videos, in which leaders expressed their opinions on issues related to working for the municipality and other, informal topics. The speech habits of local leaders were analysed based on four evaluation criteria: language culture, grammar, style and oratorical skills.

After the evaluation of the videos containing examples of public speech of leaders of fourteen cities, an equal highest rating was awarded to three politicians: Council Chairman of Kuldīga County Inga Bērziņa, Head of Ogre County Council Artūrs Mangulis and Liepāja Mayor Uldis Sesks. Slightly fewer overall points were awarded to Jānis Rozenbergs from Cēsis, Leonīds Salcevičs from Jēkabpils and Aivars Lembergs from Ventspils.

The goal of the Language Police project is not to keep score, or to praise or criticise anyone, but rather to encourage a discussion and create interest in Latvian language culture and demonstrate the possibilities for cultivating and improving the language. The project experts believe that the future of the Latvian language and its further development is only possible, if we all join in together in caring about and honouring our language. And that includes politicians, media workers, language specialists and society.

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