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Friday 23.03.2018 | Name days: Mirdza, Žanete, Žanna

Russian media interpret invitation to speak Latvian as prohibition of Russian

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUThe offer extended by Latvian State Language Centre to speak Latvian when at work has been interpreted by Russian media as a prohibition to speak Russian in Latvia.

A number of Kremlin-controlled Russian media channels have interpreted the aforementioned offer as «a prohibition to speak Russian», «prohibition to speak Russian in shops», «prohibition to speak Russian in the presence of others», «prohibition to speak Russian a work» or even «prohibition to speak Russian in Latvia».

Latvian State Language Centre invited all residents to speak Latvian when at work, because complaints have been received from different companies, saying that employees often use foreign languages to communicate with one another.

According to SLC Language Control’s manager Sarmīte Pāvulēna, the centre has received questions as to how to interpret situations when officials give interviews in foreign languages to different media.

Although the Law on State Language does not apply to the use of the country’s official language in informal communication between residents, communication using a foreign language carried out among colleagues can be interpreted by customers or visitors as official. With that, it is unacceptable for employees to communicate in foreign language at work, believes the State Language Centre.

The centre urges all officials to use only Latvian language when giving interviews to mass media, especially if they are registered in Latvia. This will express respect and pride to the state of Latvia and its language.

This year is especially important for our country, because Latvia is the presiding country over the EU Council. Latvian language is not merely a language used in the Republic of Latvia, it is also one of the official languages in the European Union. This is why residents are urged to respect their country by simply following this simple request, as mentioned in the announcement by Latvian State Language Centre.


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  1. Miks Walsh says:

    Well, this shouldn’t cause ANY problems…none at all…

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  2. Linda says:

    The host nation’s language is the state language and the other languages of the largest minority groups become community languages as can be seen in the United Kingdom where there are large Asian minorities. English is the official state language and the other languages become community languages which languages are not forced on the English natives and other smaller language groups that use English as means of communication. What can be irritating is when some jobs are advertised as “community language” as an essential requirement but doesn’t seem to cause the trauma that the Russians create when they can’t force through the preference of their language on to other states.

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    • ABC says:

      Community languages of UK:
      Polish (1%), Punjabi (0.5%), Hindustani (0.5%), Bengali (0.4%), Gujarati (0.4%), Arabic (0.3%)

      Community languages of Latvia:
      Russian (34%), Ukrainian (2%), Polish (2%), Lithuanian (1%)

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      • Linda says:

        you forgot the other community languages of the previous influxes of immigrants; displaced persons and asylum seekers of the 1950s, 60s etc.

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  3. Ilmars says:

    Anything interpreted by the “kremlin controlled russian media” is usually a load of rubbish which is the case now. There is no prohibition on speaking russian.
    If there are genuine concerns with russian language speakers, as there may well be in places like latgale, then the government has an obligation to provide interpreters to assist people in all their dealings with government.

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  4. T. says:

    All children in Latvia learn Latvian. They have to because of school – which is good.

    Now the trick is to have everyone WANT to continue speaking Latvian. My guess is that force and marginalization is not the way to go.

    Please Latvians, promote Latvian as the beautiful language it really is.

    Ar cienu,
    Expat learning both Latvian and Russian

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