Monthly Archives: February 2011

Street signs controversy

Are multiple languages in public space an issue? Not in many countries. But in Lithuania there is an ongoing battle over some buses and street signs, which, in addition to Lithuanian, give translations in Polish. A law in Lithuania obliges all public signs (streets, institutions, etc.) to be in Lithuanian. The mainstream interpretation is that this implies they have to be in Lithuanian only.

I have already written (the editors sort of spiced up my text :)) about the controversy of names and public signs. As someone who has been to Novi Sad, where most institutions indicate their names in some six languages, I am surprised, to say the least, at how offended people feel about signs in Polish in the regions where the Polish minority is large or even dominant. Delfi, the most popular news portal, reports on an investigation which they started after a reader sent photos of signs in Polish. The municipality did not wish to explain why they have not been enforcing the law on one and the only language. Continue reading