Thursday, March 15, 2012

Poland and Lithuania Suffer Diplomatic Relations Problems Over the Letter ‘W’

No, We Are Not Making That Up – ‘W’ Spells Trouble in Polish

Throughout history nations have gone to war for reasons that seem noble at the time, and sometimes are noble. World War II is frequently referred to as a good war, a war to rid the world of evil, and while it did not completely rid the world of evil it did knock out two of evil’s main players, Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan.

Wars have also been fought for no reason at all, for example the U. S. war in Southeast Asia.  Even during the war nobody could intelligently articulate why the war was being fought, and after its ending in 1975 everyone in the United States, except for those wounded and killed and their families, nobody even wanted to remember the war.  The nation of Vietnam, now controlled by the people the U. S. was fighting at the time wants to be an ally of the U. S. and a major trade partner.

Except for the last 70 years, war has been a constant in Europe.  But it may be that the continent has run out of reasons to have wars.  This certainly seems to be the situation involving Poland and Lithuania, who are in a so far non-lethal dispute over the presence of the letter ‘W’ in their respective alphabets.

One is about spelling: Lithuanian law says official documents, such as passports and birth certificates, may be written only in the Lithuanian alphabet, which lacks the letter W and most of the diacritical marks of Polish. That is a nuisance for those with non-Lithuanian names. Poland’s president, Bronislaw Komorowski, who visited Lithuania last month, would spell his name Komorovski if he chose to live there. A law to change the alphabet restriction foundered in 2010: another sign of bad faith, says Warsaw.

Fortunately cooler heads are expected to prevail, and armed conflict between the two nations over whether or not the letter ‘W’ belongs in the alphabet are expected to be settled by peaceful means.  A commission may be appointed, which will commission a research project which will be funded from funds from the United States which will employ researchers to research the issue and issue an opinion.

While a solution has not been formally proposed it is expected that the compromise will be enacted that will drop the letter ‘L’ from both languages.  The letter ‘L’ does not have its own lobby group, like much of the rest of the alphabet and both sides are unhappy that the lower case ‘L’, which looks like this ‘l,  is to close to the numeral 1 to deserve its own separate letterness. 

The only concern is that China and Russia will veto the solution in the United Nations Security Council.

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