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Saturday, June 10, 2023

Say ‘Ciao’ to English Words: Italy Proposes Fines for ‘Anglomania’ – But What About ‘Pizza’ and ‘Ferrari’?

Italy’s Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, who leads the right-wing party, has proposed a new law that would impose fines ranging from €5,000 to €100,000 for the use of foreign words, including English, in official communications. The party claims that the legislation aims to protect and promote the Italian language and safeguard the country’s national identity.

However, the proposal has faced widespread criticism, even from prominent Italian linguistics and philology experts like the Accademia della Crusca. Fabio Rampelli, a member of Italy’s lower chamber of deputies, introduced the proposal, which Meloni supports.

Rampelli cited examples of so-called “Anglomania” that could lead to fines under the proposed law, such as using the English word “dispenser” for an automatic hand sanitizer dispenser. Meloni’s government would prefer officials to use the more cumbersome Italian expression, “dispensatore di liquido igienizzante per le mani.”

While English words have become increasingly prevalent in the Italian language, particularly for new concepts like computers, social media, and smart working, critics argue that the proposed law is unnecessary and overly restrictive.

The adoption of English words in the Italian language is causing quite the stir. While some argue that it adds a touch of authority and internationalism, others fear it demeans and mortifies the Italian language. Italy’s Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni is pushing for a conservative approach, proposing new legislation that virtually bans English words from public administration, schools, and universities.

If passed, classes not specifically aimed at teaching a foreign language must be in Italian, and anyone in public administration must have written and oral mastery of the Italian language. The proposed legislation is still up for parliamentary debate.

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