Lithuania does not need a special law on the spelling of names and surnames as amendments to existing legislation are only needed, says Jūratė Pavilionytė, deputy chairperson of the State Commission of the Lithuanian Language.
Lithuanian passport
© DELFI (J.Markevičiaus nuotr.)

"It would just be enough to include one clause into the Law and Identity Card Laws," she told the parliamentary Committee on Legal Affairs on Wednesday, adding that the introduction of broader dual citizenship would also make revisions of name spelling necessary.

According to Pavilionytė, the decision to allow the use of non-Lithuanian Latin-based characters would not make damage to the Lithuanian alphabet as it did not to the Estonian, Portuguese or Slovak alphabets. Moreover, she added, letters „w“, „q“ and „x“ are already used in Lithuanian registers.

There are currently two name spelling bills registered in the Seimas of Lithuania. The bill drafted by Social Democrats Šiaulienė and Gediminas Kirkilas will allow the original spelling of a name using non-Lithuanian Latin-based characters on the main passport page. Meanwhile under an alternative bill drafted by a group of lawmakers, the original name spelling would be allowed on a separate passport page.

In its conclusion the State Commission of the Lithuanian Language backs the idea of allowing the original spelling of non-Lithuanian names for foreigners who become naturalized Lithuanian citizens and for Lithuanian nationals who adopt the last name of their foreign spouse after marriage.
In other cases, the commission suggests keeping "the main principle of spelling in Lithuanian letters according to the pronunciation"

Polish politicians in Lithuania and their supporters in Poland have long been calling on Lithuania to allow the use of Polish letters for spelling names of Polish speakers.

Critics say that non-Lithuanian characters would undermine the status of the Lithuanian language as the official language and, furthermore, can cause trouble in reading non-Lithuanian last names.

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