Lietuvių kalbos kaip valstybinės konstitucinis statusas: pagrindiniai aspektai.
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Article 14 Chapter I ‘The State of Lithuania’ of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania of 1992 reads as follows: ‘Lithuanian shall be the State language’. This principle is not new in the Lithuanian history of constitutionalization, as Lithuanian was the official language of the State in the interwar period but lost this status during the Soviet occupation. After 1988, when many political, economic and social changes crucial for further development of the State took place in Lithuania, linguistic issues re-emerged. It was recognized back then that language played a vital role in the life of the State and the society, and the Lithuanian language was given back its status of the official language by the Constitution. The principle that Lithuanian is the official language of the State, enshrined in Article 14 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania, was further elaborated by the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania in its rulings and judgments. According to its official constitutional doctrine, the Lithuanian language should be treated as a very specific constitutional value, as it forms the basis of the ethnic and cultural identity of the Lithuanian nation and is the guarantor of the national identity and survival. The status of Lithuanian as the official language means that the Lithuanian language must be used in all spheres of public life. The Court also holds that having this principle enshrined in Chapter I ‘The State of Lithuania’ of the Constitution implies that the Lithuanian language enjoys particular protection since the provisions of this Chapter may be amended only by a referendum. The necessary legislation has been adopted to enforce the constitutional status of Lithuanian as the official language (the most important of which is the Law on the State Language); yet, further legislative improvements are needed. Giving the language the status of the official language is not enough: legal norms of the use of the language — the whole legal system — need to be put in place. To implement the key task of the official language policy, i.e. to preserve the linguistic heritage and promote its development so that the functioning of the Lithuanian language is ensured in all spheres of public life, issues related to the status of the language, to the corpus or the structure of the language and to linguistic education should be addressed further. The current linguistic situation of the country suggests a conclusion that the long-term impact of the Russian language on the Lithuanian language is weakening and is being replaced by the impact of the English language as one of the side effects of the Europeanization and globalization processes. Therefore, not only the status of Lithuanian as the official language should be protected but also the linguistic culture of the public should be fostered and respect for the official language should be promoted.
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