• April 10, 2014
  • 182

Lingual commission again passes the buck in the case of surnames

Marian Paluszkiewicz

There is a chance that after more than 20 years of Lithuanian leadership’s opposition towards the spelling of non-Lithuanian surnames belonging mostly to the representatives of the abundant Polish minority in Lithuania, problem will be solved. Unfortunately, it will not be. The State Commission of the Lithuanian Language presented to the government an unfavourable to the Polish minority possibility of writing non-Lithuanian surnames in the original language based on the Latin alphabet.

According to the Commission, letters Q, X, W, which are missing in the Lithuanian alphabet, can appear in surnames of foregners if they appear in those surnames in a foreign source document.

“Towards the government query about the possibilities concerning writing non-Lithuanian surnames, answer is the same as Commission presented to the government already in 1999”, the chairwoman Daiva Vaišnienė said to the “Kurier” after yesterday’s, April 10th, Commission session.

It means that if e.g. foreigner gets Lithuanian citizenship, in Lithuanian ID he can have surname where appear original letters Q, X, W.

Yesterday’s opinion of the Commission actually does not change anything in the issue of the Polish minority postulates, and as the chairwoman Vaišnienė has noticed, the topic of the government query did not concern the regulation of surnames spelling of the particular ethnic minorities.

“We have answered only to those issues, which were included in the government query”, the chairwoman confirmed.

Recently, the bill concerning spelling of non-Lithuanian surnames reached the Sejm and the Commission’s opinion was suppose to resolve doubts related to the rightness of the project’s assumptions.

As European Foundation of Human Rights (EFHR) noticed, according to the bill, names and surnames are writiten on the grounds of the Lithuanian alphabet, there are provided exceptions though, concerning mainly foreigners and stateless people, as also e.g. foreigner’s spouse and their children. The project of the bill does not settle the problem of ethnic minorities.

According to EFHR, the foreign proper names do not belong to the Lithuanian language system and should not be made Lithuanian. The Foundation noticed that Lithuania signed and ratified Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, which provides “the right to free use, without any interference, of his/her minority language, privately and publicly, orally and in written form”.

Sympathetic to Polish minority leaderships initiative turned out not to be a way of going along with Polish citizens of Lithuania. In addition, premier Algirdas Butkevičius resolved any doubts concerning this case.

“There is no need to overemphasise this bill claiming that it is necessary only for Polish society. Lately, most of the applications we have received from Lithuanian women, who married foreigners and reported huge pretences that they cannot have husband surname”, said premier in Thursday during the interview for “Žinių radijas”. He decided that currently there is no need to take law regulation to use double nomenclature in streets and localities lived by ethnic minorities. The bill of ethnic minorities projects it. Polish minority appeals for its passage. Premier’s statement indicates a regress in governing coalition line, which confirmed lately that the bill of ethnic minorities would be accepted “already during the spring parliament’s session”.

Source: http://kurierwilenski.lt/2014/04/10/komisja-jezykowa-znowu-odbija-pileczke-ws-nazwisk/

Tłumaczenie by Beata Kanadys w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by Beata Kanadys within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.

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