Riga - Post Report Question and Answers
How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?
In Riga, English is widely spoken, especially among younger people. You can get by in Riga with only English, though efforts to speak Latvian are appreciated. Language politics in Latvia are very complicated, and it is important to be aware of the history and current state of affairs between Latvian and Russian langauges. Latvian is the official language, but Russian is the first language of almost half of Riga residents. Our friends that speak Russian report that they've been able to use Russian with many people, but have trouble reading signs and packages as those are only in Latvian. Language classes are certainly available and affordable. - Mar 2022
You can get by fine with English in Riga. Everyone under 30 speaks it fine, especially in Old Riga. Outside the capital it would be advised to have some Latvian or Russian. - Jul 2017
Many Latvians, especially in Riga, speak excellent English. Latvian is the official national language, although many people also speak Russian (especially older generations). Local language classes are definitely available. - Sep 2016
Almost none. English is widely spoken. - Jul 2010
Younger generation speak English well. In Riga you can get by in English, but I run into situations every day where I need to know either Latvian or Russian. You need either Latvian or Russian outside of Riga. - Aug 2008