• May 13, 2014
  • 186

The future of law on spelling of the surnames in linguists’ hands


Before a draft law on spelling of non-Lithuanian surnames is discussed during a parliamentary sitting, the State Commission of the Lithuanian Language has to state its opinion on this issue. That is a decision made by the lawyers from the Department of Law of the Office of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania.

The Seimas’ lawyers justify their standpoint with the Constitutional Court’s ruling handed down in February, 2014, according to which “the linguists have to take a clear stand on the issue of adopting a law on spelling of the surnames in original form and put explicit propositions which cannot be ignored by a legislator”. The Constitutional Court explained that the principles other than those specified in the Resolution of the Supreme Council of 1991 could be adopted on request of the linguists. Under the Resolution of 1991 the first names and the surnames of people of non-Lithuanian nationality had to be spelled in Lithuanian according to the pronunciation.

The Lithuanian Seimas was supposed to discuss the draft law on spelling of non-Lithuanian surnames on April, 15th. Two drafts were submitted to be considered during the parliamentary sitting: one of them was drawn up by the representatives of one of the ruling social democratic parties and the other one was prepared by the conservatives. Nevertheless, both drafts were removed from the agenda of the sitting at the last minute. At the same time it was assured that the draft law would be put on the agenda again in the very near future after accurate discussing of the submitted propositions.

According to the first submitted draft which was drawn up by the social democrats Gediminas Kirkilas and Irena Šiaulienė, it is possible to spell non-Lithuanian surnames using the Latin symbols. The conservatives propose that non-Lithuanian surnames should be spelled in original form and put on the pages of the passport other than the first one.

Source: http://www.wilnoteka.lt/pl/artykul/los-projektu-ustawy-o-pisowni-nazwisk-w-rekach-jezykoznawcow

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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