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Italy's government seeks to curb use of English words

Bill takes aim at use of non-Italian terms.

Italy's public and private entities could face fines of up to €100,000 for using foreign terms in official communications, under a draft bill launched by a member of the right-wing Fratelli d'Italia party of premier Giorgia Meloni.

The bill takes aim in particular at the use of English words, or "Anglomania", which has "repercussions for society as a whole" as the spread of English "demeans and mortifies" the Italian language.

Under the proposed law, which is designed to safeguard the Italian language and national identity, all job titles and acronyms used by companies operating in Italy should be spelt in Italian unless it is impossible to translate them.

The draft legislation was presented by Fabio Rampelli, deputy president of the chamber of deputies, and will need to be approved by both houses of parliament before becoming law.

Pointing out that there are now "almost 9,000 anglicisms" in the Treccani dictionary, Rampelli claimed "it is no longer permissible to use foreign terms whose Italian equivalent exists".

Opposition parties were quick to attack the bill, pointing out that last October Meloni's government had added "Made in Italy" to the title of its industry ministry.

In an interview with Corriere della Sera newspaper on Sunday, Rampelli stressed that Italians will still be able to use words such as "croissant", "bar" or "cocktail" because "the bill to protect the Italian language only affects public and private bodies."

As for the "Made in Italy" ministry title, Rampelli specified to the Corriere that those representing Italy's economic interests abroad who are "forced to use foreign terms are excluded from the sanctions".

The use of English words by the Italian media, government agencies and in the workplace has become increasingly common in recent years, a phenomenon highlighted by former Italian premier Mario Draghi in 2021.

After unveiling a raft of government measures, including a "bonus baby sitter" and "smart working" plans, Draghi asked ironically: "Who knows why we have to use all these words in English."
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