ABOUT LATGALE IN LITHUANIAN: RENDERING PLACE-NAMES

Regīna Kvašīte

Abstract


Rendering of foreign proper nouns as spelling of proper nouns of any language in a different language according to grammatical system and spelling rules of that language is an issue, which one has to deal with, when referring to foreign geographic objects in various publications. Theoretical approaches and their practical implementation differs in each country. In Lithuania there is a rule that foreign proper nouns in fiction, popular publications and publications addressed to children have to be spelled according to the pronunciation, but in other texts, such as scientific literature, advertising, information and special text in the language of origin. It must be said though, that these requirements are not always precisely met in practice, so there is a large variety of foreign proper names. This often leads to frustration and occasionally in the community rather sharp debate is breaking out on these issues. While the view on rendering of the Latvian language proper names in Lithuania is different: they are written in Lithuanian according to pronunciation resp. Lithuanized. However, difficulties arise in practice, when theoretical approaches have to be implemented. In addition, it should be stated that original spelling of proper names is increasingly encountered.

Article addresses Lithuanian use of place-names for one of the Latvian regions – Latgale. Purpose of the study – to find out what are trends in use of the Latgale place-names. Analysis is performed, what place names of Balvi, Daugavpils, Krāslava, Ludza, Preiļi and Rēzekne are included in editions of bilingual dictionaries: Latvian-Lithuanian, 1977 and 2003, and Lithuanian-Latvian, 1964 and 1995, and how these have to be used in travel guides and newsletters about the region, as well as in the Lithuanian press. Mainly newspapers in Siauliai district and city, some republican newspapers and magazines, as well as tourist guides are analyzed. From these editions attempts have been made to get as much as different information as possible resp. not taking into account the frequency of use of the place-names. The research was carried out by the descriptive and item methods, but data from dictionaries are not computed.

Latvian place-names usually are reproduced in Lithuanian in two ways: 1) those Lithuanian forms are given, which are used by local Lithuanians and 2) transcribed Latvian forms – when there are no Lithuanian forms or if they are not sufficiently tested, are infrequent. One part of the Lithuanized names are those known and used by the majority of Lithuanians, for example, Daugpilis (in Latvian Daugavpils). Unlike other Latvian place names, there are more names in Latgale that have to be used in Lithuanized forms because of its historical development path, which has been different from the rest of Latvia. This can be explained by the historically developed community with Lithuania, therefore also in their rendering traditional forms are common, an opportunity exists to select from several parallel forms.

Analysis of materials of the Latvian-Lithuanian and the Lithuanian-Latvian dictionaries are indicative of names from various semantic groups of Latgale place-names – towns and settlements, rivers and lakes and mountains - included in all four dictionaries. But apparently the size of section of the names of geographical objects has been of considerable significance. In Latvian-Lithuanian dictionaries these parts are larger, therefore there are more Latvian place- names in them: respectively, 562 Latvian place-names and 98 are from Latgale (LLKŽ 1977) and 231, of which 41 are from Latgale (LLKŽ 2003). A factor of no less importance, which could affect the number of place-names – language for translation wherefrom the dictionary is intended resp. there are more Latvian place-names is dictionary to translate from Latvian. While in the Lithuanian-Latvian dictionary in total there are 39 Latvian place-names, and only 4 from Latgale (LLV 1964), but in the latest edition 98 Latvian and 24 of them are place-names from Latgale (LLV 1995). It is also noted that this dictionary is not always exactly pointing to the object designated by the specific place-name - sometimes restricted to a single indication.

Name of the region in Lithuanian may be reproduced in two ways, but more popular is the traditional form of Latgala. Only in certain press publications form Latgalė is found, but in the symbolic names Latvian form Latgale is used.

Names of Latgale towns and settlements are recorded in dictionaries both in traditional and reproduced forms (often referred to more than one), but their practical use still tends to be inaccurate, since obviously theoretical approaches are insufficiently taken into consideration, as well as dictionaries are used. In the press we have to come into contact with declension problem of incorrectly reproduced (or even non-Lithuanized) place-names, as well as incorrect rendering of individual letters. There are comparatively many distortions of place-names in travel guides.

There are very few semantic groups of the river and lake names in the place-name dictionaries (only in the 1977 Latvian-Lithuanian dictionary there were 35 of them). While in the press and travel guides their numbers are much higher, especially wide spectrum is for the names of lakes (apparently attempts are made to show that Latgale is really the land of lakes).

Mountain names, although there are not many of them, are reproduced in a particularly creative way: both translation and original form reproduced side by side. Various forms of the same name are found, but not all of them meet the theoretical rendering rules. It could also be affected by the existence of versions in Latvian.


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17770/latg2010.3.1677

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