- March 4, 2014
Commission of the Lithuanian Language: ‘It is not us who approve the spelling of surnames’
‘Our Commission will not solve political problems; we will analyze current issues only from the linguistics point of view. International practice in this field is very various,’ said vice president of Commission of the Lithuanian Language Daiva Vaišnienė in an interview for lrytas.lt about the declaration of the Constitutional Court concerning the original spelling of surnames.
Vaišnienė said clearly in the interview that in this case the decision is made only by the country, because international law provides it. ‘Court of Justice of the European Union had very clearly confirmed the assumption that the decision about spelling surnames in documents is within the responsibility of the country itself. Commission does not approve the spelling of surnames. These establishments are included in the declaration of Supreme Council from 1991, which is treated equally to the legal act,’ stated the president of the Commission.
‘There is one official language in Lithuania and it is stated in the Constitution.’
Asked if this time the Commission will agree that it is necessary to stick to the rules of spelling surnames accepted in 1991, Vaišnienė said that ‘If there will be a political will to change these rules with new legal acts, then we will analyze if it does not violate the status of the state language.’
Regarding bilingual signs, Vaišnienė reminded that the state language law establishes that in Lithuania there are official names used – those that were included in the state record. ‘Court declared that Polish city names can’t be included in the record. Commission will follow the decision of the Court,’ commented the president, adding that street names, which are a subject of dispute, are being translated into Lithuanian. ‘Such practice is used in those countries, where there are several official state languages or official regional languages. In Lithuania there is only one official language and it is stated in the Constitution,’ said Vaišnienė.
Tłumaczenie by Anna Leśkiewicz w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by Anna Leśkiewicz within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.