• April 29, 2014
  • 277

Lithuanian linguists do not want non-Lithuanian surnames in original form


There are no linguistic arguments in favor of introducing changes to the principles of spelling of the surnames – Lithuanian linguists came to such conclusions during a discussion in the Institute of the Lithuanian Language.

Lithuanian linguists do not want to approve the validation of spelling of non-Lithuanian surnames in original form. According to the participants in the discussion which took place in the Institute of the Lithuanian Language it would create confusion since “even one letter of a surname being spelled incorrectly may have negative consequences”.

A linguist Onutė Aleknavičienė (PhD), who took part in the discussion, quoted as an example the case of a Russian officer Michaił Gołowatow, a commander of a task force “Alfa” which took part in the assault on the Vilnius TV Tower in January, 1991. He was arrested in Austria and was quickly released as his name was written in the European Arrest Warrant in a form that was different from the one written in his passport and his visa issued by Finland.

Onutė Aleknavičienė also provided another example: a patient wants to make an appointment over the telephone to see the doctor. They give their surname – Żelaźnik, which is “really popular in Poland” according to O. Aleknavičienė. The receptionist in a health clinic needs to feed the patient’s surname into the computer. How many times will she need to ask the patient how to write a “ž” letter which appears twice in this surname but is spelled differently – as “ż” and “ź”? If she fails to write it correctly, the system will not identify the patient” – O. Aleknavičienė said. “Are the Polish language lessons at school going to be compulsory or will we need to enroll in a course in the Polish language in order to be able to work in the service industry?” – the linguist cited by “Lietuvos žinios” daily added rhetorically.

Most participants in the discussion opted for a solution proposed by the conservatives who submitted an alternative draft law on spelling of the surnames to the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania. According to them, the problem can be solved by writing the surname in a  Lithuanian version on the first, the most significant page in the passport and in original version in another page. The Lithuanian version of the surname would be considered an official one.

The participants in the discussion in the Institute of the Lithuanian Language intend to submit a formal letter including their demands to the Lithuanian Seimas and the State Commission of the Lithuanian Language.

On the basis of: lzinios.lt, BNS

Source: http://www.wilnoteka.lt/pl/artykul/jezykoznawcy-na-litwie-nie-chca-nazwisk-nielitewskich-w-oryginale

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

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