Documenting and Mapping Livonian Place Names and Creating an Official Place Name Register (2020–2022)

Fundamental and Applied Research Project
“Documenting and Mapping Livonian Place Names and Creating an Official Place Name Register”
No. LZP-2019/1-0240

The goal of this project is to use archives in Latvia and abroad to create a Livonian place name database, perform place name mapping, and create a register of standardised Livonian place names for official use.

The open-access mapped place name register will form the foundation for a future database cluster, which will use geospatial information to include data from other areas (vocabulary, texts, ethnographic objects, folklore, oral history, and other collections), which will provide new information for researchers and will open new opportunities, in general, for research into minority communities. The project results will expand the linguistic landscape of Latvia with Livonian heritage, offering development opportunities to local governments, entrepreneurs, and society. The project has special meaning as it fulfils the legally defined obligations of the Latvian state to ensure the development, use, and popularisation of Livonian.

Results achieved:

Scientific articles, research, monographs

Ernštreits, Valts. Latvian Place Names Based on Calques from Livonian. Onomastikas pētījumi II = Onomastic Investigations II. (Riga, May 10–12, 2018). Eds.: Laimute Balode, Christian Zschieschang. Rīga: UL Latvian Language Institute, 2020, 70.–80. lpp. ISBN 9789934580031.

Ernštreits, Valts. Livonian place names: Documentation, research, problems, and opportunities. Eesti ja Soome-Ugri Keeleteaduse Ajakiri = The Journal of Estonian and Finno-Ugric Linguistics (ESUKA – JEFUL) Vol. 11, N 1, 2020, p. 213-233. URL:

Organised scientific conferences, seminars and workshops

Livonian Summer University (LSU 2021). 30 July–8 August, 2021. Organised by UL Livonian Institute and University of Tartu (ASTRA Project PER ASPERA). Supported by Ministry of Education and Science, Latvian Language Agency. Programme, teaching staff and other information is available here. Press release in
Seminar “Livonian place names”, Valts Ernštreits.

XXXVI International Finno-Ugric Students’ Conference (IFUSCO Online). Riga, Online. 11.05.2021.–12.05.2021. Organised by UL Livonian Institute (Elvīra Kalniņa, Annija Lazdiņa). Webpage: Programme can be seen here. Book of Abstracts is available here. Facebook page. VKontakte page.


Participation in scientific conferences, seminars, workshops and discussions

Ernštreits Valts, Kļava, Gunta. “A world without informants – overcoming challenges in creating a Livonian place name archive” at the international scientific conference “Congressus XIII Internationalis Fenno-Ugristarum” (CIFU XIII) Vienna, Austria. 21.-26.08.2022

Ernštreits, Valts. “Livonian as a source for better understanding Baltic languages: opportunities and challenges”. XIII Starptautiskajā baltistu kongress = XIII Tarptautinis baltistų kongresas. Riga, Latvia (Zoom). The programme of the congress is here and the book of abstracts is here. The video recording of the first day of the congress can be viewed here (no 2:15:49). 13.–15.10.2021.

Ernštreits, Valts. Livonian databases – experiences of the extraction, integration and standardisation of the linguistic data for endangered languages. Electronic writing of the peoples of the Russian Federation 2021 & IWCLUL 2021. The programme is available here. 23.–24.09.2021.

Norvik, Miina; Balodis, Uldis; Ernštreits, Valts; Kļava, Gunta; Metslang, Helle; Pajusalu, Karl; Saar, Eva. Typological convergence in the Central Baltic areaSLE 2021: 54th Annual Meeting of the Societas Linguistica Europaea. The programme is available here. Book of Abstracts is available here. 30.08.–03.09.2021.

Ernštreits, Valts. United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names. Governments on the situation in their countries and on the progress made in the standardization of geographical names. Report of Latvia. 04.05.2021. Facebook.

Lazdiņa, Annija. The collection of Livonian place names by Pētõr Damberg (1909–1987). International Finno-Ugric Students’ Conference XXXVI. Tiešsaistē: Zoom. 11.05.2021.

Ernštreits, Valts; Dailidėnaitė, Milda; Rošāne, Annija; Kalniņa, Elvīra participates in the presentation “Integration of data from different fields as an opportunity for interdisciplinary research: Livonian model” at University of Liepaja 27th International Scientific Conference “Current issues in research of literature and culture” in the digital humanities panel “Digital Resources of the Humanities: Experience and Cooperation”. The full conference programme is available here. 10.–11.03.2021.

Ernštreits, Valts; Rošāne, Annija. Pētõr Damberg Livonian Place Name Collection. Baltic onyms: from past to present to commemorate the 148th anniversary of the academician Jānis Endzelīns. The Book of AbstractsConference’s Programme. 22.02.20211.

Ernštreits, Valts. Digital resources developed by the University of Latvia Livonian Institute. Meeting DH institutions in Latvia. Rīga: RTU. 16.11.2020.

Ernštreits, Valts; Kļava, Gunta. The Livonian language in the historically Livonian-inhabited territories: Problems and opportunitiesInternational Scientific Conference “Language in Society” to commemorate the 147th anniversary of the academician Jānis EndzelīnsAbstracts. Febuary 20–21, 2020. Eds.: Dite Liepa (Latvian); Dace Strelēvica-Ošiņa (English); Regīna Kvašīte (Lithuanian); Nadežda Kopoloveca (Russian). Rīga: LU Latvian Language Institute, 2020, 24–25 p.

Ernštreits, Valts. Electronic resources for the Livonian language. The UL Section of 78th International Scientific Conference “Digital Latvian Language Resources and Tools in Common Research Infrastructure. 05.03.2020.

Ernštreits, Valts. Digital resources developed by the University of Latvia Livonian Institute. Autumn seminar „Soome-ugri keelekogud, korpused ja andmebaasid meie asutuses“. Tallinn: Eesti Keele Instituut. 12.11.2020.

Ernštreits, Valts, Kļava, GuntaCan Christmas gifts ensure language acquisition? Experiences with teaching LivonianFoundation for Endangered Languages Annual Conference: FEL24. Online, 23–25 September, 2020 : Abstracts booklet. London: Foundation for Endangered Languages, University College London, 2020. 18–19 pp.

Ernštreits, Valts; Kļava, Gunta. The Livonian language in the historically Livonian-inhabited territories: Problems and opportunities. 21.02.2020.

Ernštreits, Valts. Baltijas jūras somi Latvijā. 3. virtuālais Zemgales Krieviņu saiets (Lietuva–Latvija). Online: Zoom. 30.11.2020.

UL Livonian Institute participated in the thematic working group on the development of the Kurzeme Planning Region Development Program 2021–2027 in a seminar for the Kurzeme Planning Region Municipal Territorial Development Planners and cultural specialists. 01.07.2020.


Science promoting activities

Kalniņa, Elvīra, Lazdiņa, Annija. UL Livonian Institute Scientific Assistants – Participation in Scientist night 2021. 30.04.2021.

Participation in the Digital Week organised by LIKTA/VARAM. During the Digital Week, a demonstration seminar on the use of digital resources in the humanities “Digital resources for the discovery of the uniqueness of counties, education and culture” took place. Seminar was moderated by Valts Ernštreits. UL Livonian Institute tells about the Digital resources for the Livonian language and culture. FB event. English press release. 24.03.2021.

UL Livonian Institute and Ministry of Education and Science (IZM) distance learning project “” – introduction to the Livonian language, 7 Livonian language lessons. (April–June 2020)

Full versions of the 7 Livonian language lessons have been developed and published on the YouTube channel of the UL Livonian Institute. The teaser for the 7 Livonian language lessons is available here. (August 2020)
UL Livonian Institute used the language video lessons at the Livonian children’s and youth summer school “Mierlinkizt 2020”, during which the first four lessons were viewed and their content was reviewed and practiced. (August 2020)

Within the framework of the Livonian Language Week, a series of stories on LR 1 were created “The sound of Livonian”. 17–21.02.2020.

Balodis, Uldis, Blumberga, Renāte, Dailidenaite, Milda, Ernštreits, Valts, Kalniņa, Elvīra, Kļava, Gunta, Rošāne, Annija. UL Livonian Institute stories. Livonian Culture Days in Ventspils. Ventspils, 10.10.2020.



Ernštreits Valts. Izdzīvotāji. Lībieši. Saruna ar līvu valodnieku un dzejnieku Valtu Ernštreitu., 12.06.2020.

Ernštreits, Valts. Gatavo pieteikumu lībiešu iekļaušanai UNESCO mantojuma sarakstā. 900 sekundes, 12.03.2020.



Blumberga, Gundega. Piektdienās lībieši un lībiešu valoda., 28.04.2020.


Miscellaneous activities

Meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Estonia Urmas Reinsalu. 30.09.2020.