The Concept of the Quality of Public Language in the Law on the State Language of the Republic of Lithuania

  • Rita Miliūnaitė
Keywords: language policy, public language, language correctness, language functionality, quality of language


The article addresses one aspect of the Law on the State Language of the Republic of Lithuania and its subsequent drafts, aiming to determine how this law, which made the list of constitutional laws in 2012, formulates the legal provisions with regard to the quality of public language, and how the concept of this term has changed over time. The aspect in question symptomatically reflects the long and sometimes chequered evolution of the Law on the State Language from 1995 to these days.

The article trains the spotlight on two elements of the quality of public language: the correctness and the functionality of language, revealing the correlation between the two and the various spheres of usage of public language. It shows how different drafts of the Law on the State Language provide different definitions of the boundaries of those spheres, and the clauses and reservations formulated therein. Furthermore, it covers the term ‘functional purpose’ embedded in a 2023 draft, its contents anchoring in some cases a caveat for the requirement of the correctness of public language. The article also identifies the four most characteristic cases when the norms of the standard language can be disregarded for the sake of the functional purpose, and puts the question of how this should be reflected in the provisions of the law up for debate.