- February 13, 2014
Non-Lithuanian surnames could become a part of the language
The Constitutional Court investigated a case in which it had to discuss the role of linguists in establishing the rules of spelling names and surnames on ID cards.
The Court was asked by the Minister of Justice Juozas Bernatonis if the National Language Commission could initiate amendments which would change existing rules, according to which, a name and a surname should be written in Lithuanian.
Before, the Court had stated that a name and a surname should be written in Lithuanian and non-Lithuanian letters could be used in other pages of an ID.
Usage of Polish letters in name and surname spelling is being fought for by Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania’s politicians. One of their arguments are misunderstandings and difficulties that appear when people of different nationalities want to marry each other.
Critics claim that allowing to use non-Lithuanian letters would lessen the status of Lithuanian as a national language and that there might appear difficulties with pronunciation of foreign surnames.
The Vice-minister of Justice Paulius Griciūnas stated during the Court’s session that Nattional Lithuanian Language Commission permits original spelling of surnames of foreigners in Lithuanian registers and migrational documents, although it cannot propose original spelling on ID cards.
“Due to the globalization and the European integration, the Language Commission should decide whether non-Lithuanian surnames could be accepted as a part of the language and if it could initiate amendments”, Griciūnas said.
The Court’s decision should be revealed soon.
Tłumaczenie by Szymon Wnuk w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by Szymon Wnuk within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.