• September 5, 2014
  • 274

The names of the foreigners in the original form – yes, of the Lithuanian citizens of Polish nationality – no

The State Lithuanian Language Commission issued an opinion on the spelling of non-Lithuanian names in Lithuanian documents. Foreigners who obtain Lithuanian citizenship and citizens of Lithuania, who adopted the name of a spouse – the foreigner, will be able to have their name written in its original form. Poles, the citizens of Lithuania, were not granted such a right by linguists .

The State Language Commission considered that at the request of the foreigner who has obtained Lithuanian citizenship, his name in the Lithuanian passport can be written using the Latin symbols on the basis of an identity document issued by another country. Linguists decided that there are no obstacles that citizens of Lithuania have the names of their foreign-spouses written in the original form. In its original form they can write also the names of their children.

Lithuanian citizens, however, – regardless of nationality – must have the name in Lithuanian documents in the Lithuanian version . The President of the State Lithuanian Language Commission Daiva Vaišnienė said that, according to the explanation of the Constitutional Court, in the original form the names in a form other than Lithuanian, and therefore also in Polish, could be written on one of the subsequent pages of a document of identity.

The explanations of the State Language Commission pave the way for the adoption of the Law on the spelling of surnames. During the spring session of parliament on the agenda there were on two drafts of Laws on the spelling of surnames: one prepared by the representatives of the co-governing Social Democratic Party, the second – by conservatives. The draft by the Social Democrats of Gediminas Kirkilas and Irena Šiaulienė provides for the possibility of non-Lithuanian spelling of names using the Latin symbols. On the other hand, the Conservatives propose to save the non-Lithuanian names in the original form on the subsequent pages of the passport. The adoption of the Law on the spelling of surnames was postponed until the clarification announcement by the State Lithuanian Language Commission .

The vice-President of the parliament, the member of the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania Jarosław Narkiewicz commented on today’s decision of linguists that: “What remains for those who want to write the names in the original form? To give up Lithuanian citizenship. Is that it? Maybe it really is that they want as many people who care for the original spelling, to emigrate from Lithuania?”

Jarosław Narkiewicz said that it does not alter the position of the LLRA: the party will continue to fight for the original spelling of names.

The member of parliament, Gediminas Kirkilas, one of the authors of the draft law on the spelling of names, announced that the parliament will return once again to the State Lithuanian Language Commission for clarification. “The Commission explained that we did not formulate our question, as it should have been. We will have to address to the committee an accompanying proposal, asking about our citizens, with archival documents, such as religious, confirming the original spelling,” said G. Kirkilas.

Based on: BNS, lrt.lt, 15min.lt

Translated by Paulina Baca within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.

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