Krāslavā pazudusī māte ar meitu atrastas Baltkrievijā



Valodniece: Jaunais dzelzceļa stacijas nosaukums nav pareizs

Controversy over word order at Rīga railway station

Workers began installing the first letters on the roof of Rīga's main train terminus building on Wednesday, but as they began to spell out the three words "Centrālā stacija Rīga" (Central station Rīga), another linguistic controversy could be heard steaming into view at high speed.

Previously the station has been known as 'Rīgas Centrālā stacija' (Rīga Central station) or more commonly in everyday usage simply as 'Centrālā stacija'. While in English the change of word order has little or no importance, in Latvian the change is more linguistically controversial.   

The new name and visual image have been widely discussed on social networks, but the question has also been asked – is the new name even written in the correct Latvian language form? 

According to linguist Ilze Lokmane, 'Rīgas Centrālā stacija' is the only correct form and the new name should be handed a one way ticket out of town.

Commuters canvassed by LTV offered various opinions, including several who were not particularly bothered.

"In the Latvian language, 'Rīgas Centrālā stacija' and nothing else would be correct. And in fact, I understand that sometimes there may be deviations from the language norms in signage. But I think that in this case it could have been solved in another way... one possibility would be put the word 'Rīga' in quotation marks," explained Ilze Lokmane, Associate Professor of the Faculty of Humanities of the University of Latvia.

Such a rendering would be 'Centrālā stacija "Rīga"'. In Latvian the use of quotation marks to denote proper names is very common – though it often looks strange or in some cases even sarcastic to those used to English grammatical conventions.

Alternatively, the word 'Rīga' could be rendered in italics or highlighted in some other way, for example in a larger size or with letters of a different color.

"The second option would be to not write 'Rīga' at all on the side facing the city, but only Central Station, as it has been before and as it is in several cities around the world. If a person is in a city, he knows which city he is in. And the inscription 'Rīga' should be on the side where the trains arrive," Lokmane reasoned.

It could even be argued that the word 'Rīga' could simply be dropped altogether, said the associate professor.

"We understand that there have been heated discussions on Twitter, but at the same time we believe that the representation of this name is linguistically and visually correct. We have not received any objections from the institutions regarding this form of the sign. And we believe that it is positive that one of the central places of Rīga, so to speak, carries Rīga's name again. And from now on, the station will be easily recognisable," said Ieva Vidruska, head of external communications at Latvian Railways (or to give it its full Latvian name VAS "Latvijas dzelzceļš"). 

The placement of the name is coordinated with the City Development Department of Rīga City Council.

Seen a mistake?

Select text and press Ctrl+Enter to send a suggested correction to the editor

Select text and press Report a mistake to send a suggested correction to the editor

Related articles


Most important