Oddly Enough

Lithuania considers name change in makeover plan

VILNIUS (Reuters) - Lithuania is thinking about changing its name in English to something easier to pronounce in plans to boost its image, officials said on Friday.

The small southern Baltic state, in the shadow of neighbours Russia, Germany and Poland, wants to raise its profile to attract more investments and tourists.

A commission led by the prime minister approved a marketing concept which says the country of 3.4 million people should promote itself as daring. A name change is also being mulled.

“Lithuania’s transcription in English is difficult to pronounce and remember for non-native English speakers, but the name change is only an idea under consideration,” said government spokesman Laurynas Bucalis, who led the group behind the recommendations.

No ideas have been presented yet as to what the name should be in English. In Lithuanian, the country is called Lietuva.

Many people outside the Baltic region often get mixed up between Lithuania and Latvia or even have difficulty saying where the Baltic states, which include Estonia, are located.

All three regained independence from the former Soviet Union in 1991 and joined the European Union and NATO in 2004.

“Bravery marks our history -- from being the last pagan nation in Europe to a nation which sparked the Soviet Union’s downfall, and today’s resolute steps,” Bucalis said.

Reporting by Nerijus Adomaitis; editing by Keith Weir