VILNIUS - Lithuaniansshould protect their language by using Lithuanianletters in SMS texts in order not to become hostages of the convenience offeredby mobile telecommunications, said Culture Minister Jonas Jucas on Feb 20.
Jucas spoke in response to media reports suggesting that SMS messagescontaining Lithuanian letters 'sincluding characters with diacritical signs - could cost twice as much to send asmessages containing Latin characters only.
According to the Communications Regulatory Authority, standards of mobiletelephones determine that Lithuanianletters contain more information, therefore, SMS containing diacritical signsmay include fewer words. According to the individual price plan, the sender mayhave to pay for two SMS if the message is longer than 160 symbols.
At the same time, the authority said that in most cases SMS are writtenwithout Lithuanian diacriticalsigns due to the convenience and speed of avoiding Lithuanian characters.
The Culture Ministry said that Jucas planned to initiate a discussion amongexecutives and specialists of mobile telecommunications companies, the Lithuanian Language Commission and theministry in an effort to search for opportunities to promote the use of Lithuanian letters in SMS.
"Amid advancement of technologies, we should remain literate and fosterour language rather than become hostages of conveniences of mobiletelecommunications. If there are technical possibilities, it would be great tochange the current situation in a way that mobile connection clients were notforced to give up Lithuaniancharacters in SMS communication," said the culture minister.