English is not welcomed in Lithuania

Lithuanian language watchdogs have called on politicians to adapt existing laws to protect the country’s language from encroaching English influence, and learn to live side-by-side with it.

“We can be happy about [the existing] law but it was created at a time when there was no internet, […] ads,” Donatas Smalinskas, deputy head of the State Language Inspectorate, told reporters on Friday. “Can we demand for information in Lithuanian language to be included next to the brand’s [name] if it’s not regulated by the law?” Smalinskas, together with Audrys Antanaitis from the State Lithuanian Language Commission (VLKK), called on politicians to regulate the use of English-language and pass laws on contentious non-Lithuanian name-spelling issue.  Read more:  Brussels urges Lithuania to solve name-spelling issue

Smalinskas also said that ride-hailing services, such as Bolt and Uber, that see a large shrere of non-Lithuanian drivers should demand their employees to speak Lithuanian. On January 31, 1995, the existing law on language was adopted and has been in force ever since. It states that the Lithuanian is the only state language and must be used in officials documents, instutions, foreign-language films should be translated into Lithuanian or have subtitles, and other provisions. “This law protects something that other countries don’t,” said Smalinskas. “Lithuanian language was declared the national language on November 18, 1988, when […] there was a need to leave the occupation’s [Russian] language zone of influence.” “The ideology of the [1995] law is simple: the state language is the only thing that connects all of us Lithuanians,” said Antanaitis.

Politicians have so far failed to consider the new version of the Law on State Language, produced by a working group back in 2006, said Smalinskas.

Meanwhile, Audrys Antanaitis, chairman of VLKK, believes Lithuania needs to learn to live side-by-side with the English language, but avoid expanding its official use in the country.

“We need to learn live with the English language as it’s pushing its way to every area it shouldn’t be,” he said, adding that “the discussions on some second state, auxiliary language, about regional state languages should be ended [as] Neither the Constitution, nor any law envisages it”.

Lithuania should also adopt a low on the spelling of personal names, he said. The spelling of non-Lithuanian names, especially among the Polish minority in Lithuania, remains a point of contention between Vilnius and Warsaw.  Read more:  Divisive Polish-minority issue escapes Nausėda’s promises in Warsaw meeting

State Language Inspectorate is a watchdog supervising the correct use of the Lithuanian language, where as the State Lithuanian Language Commission (VLKK), establishes rules and regulations.



  1. Rolandas Lipkevičius Rolandas Lipkevičius Monday, February 3, 2020

    I am Lithuanian, and english is more than welcomed in our Country. This article is written by a total idiot.

  2. Ugnele Silenas Ugnele Silenas Monday, February 3, 2020

    Disgusted by the title of this article. The title does not reflect the article, it is offensive and should be corrected!
    Yes, English IS welcomed in Lithuania, changing words, using make shift words from other languages is a common phenomena. That’s an entirely different title to an article.

  3. Stephanie Stephanie Tuesday, February 4, 2020

    I agree that the title could have been different but the content is important.
    I was neither born nor grew up in Lithuania but am a Lithuanian. My parents’ were DP’s and we only spoke Lithuanian at home. We were told, “Vaikai, nekalbesit lietuviskai, uzmirsit ir kalbesit kaip senieji Amerikos lieuviai. Jie jau uzmirso zodzius bet zino kad turi buti galunes, tai sako ” kookina cikina kicine”!(Kids, if you don’t speak Lithuanian, you will be like the previous immigrants to the US who have forgotten the words but know there should be endings. So they say.”cooking a chicken in the kitchen” using English words with LT endings).These people were primarily uneducated whereas the DP’s were generally highly educated. We learned and spoke both languages well. In Lithuania these days, I feel that I am in a Pennsylvania coal town listening to coal-miners speaking “Lithuanian” and also reading their press.
    BTW-there is a difference between English and American, what the world generally speaks is American (having lived in GB, I know!).
    We, Lithuanians, are a small nation who took pride that we speak the oldest language in the world, derived from Sanskrit. American is probably the newest and simplest. I do agree that as new technologies and inventions are introduced, we have to sometimes compromise and use the current words. But I have found (and it makes my hair stand on end!!) that common LT words are now no longer used but some sort of distorted American word is used instead, eg, “lyderis” (leader?)and “mytingas” (meeting?). I say, “when we had “vadus” and ” susirinkimus”, the country was one to be proud of, today”???I have never, in all my years of LT activities in the US, heard “lyderis” or “mytingas”! I haven’t heard “vadas” or susirinkimas” in LT , I don’t think ever!!!(Ironic???)
    When I first started hearing these ” anglicizmai” in Lithuania 20 some years ago, I used to ask, “why not use the perfectly good Lithuanian word instead of this distorted, with an ending, American one”? Inevitably, the answer would be, “that’s not an American word, that is an international one”. Having travelled around the world, I can confidently say, that not all the words were international.
    It makes me sad that we have a small-nation complex sometime and have to show how advanced we are.
    But what is the craziest, is the writing/distortion of people’s names and also of places. I once wrote down, “John Kennedy” and “Philadelphia” on a piece of paper and on another, “Filadelfija” and “Dzonas Kenedis”. I asked some locals in Vilnius, if you were given the second piece of paper and told that when you land in America, a driver will be waiting with a sign, would you be able to find him if he wrote his name as it truly is, and not the Lithuanian distortion? You would be wandering around for a long time looking for Dzonas and Filadelfija !
    How absurd, right?
    Know both languages but treasure and be proud that you can speak Lithuanian!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *