Italy’s Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni is not a fan of gender-sensitive language. And also generally not a fan of big changes in the Italian language. She allows herself to be called “il presidente”, meaning “the president”, even if she is the first woman to hold the most important post in the Palazzo Chigi.
The right-wing Fratelli d’Italia party, to which Meloni belongs, is also concerned about the influence of foreign languages on Italian. A bill by Meloni’s party colleague Fabio Rampelli is now causing debate in Italy: According to the draft, the use of anglicisms should be severely punished under certain conditions in the future – with fines that could reach up to 100,000 euros.
“We have proposed a law for the protection of the Italian language to reduce the use of anglicisms in the business world. Companies that violate the law can be fined up to 100,000 euros,” said Rampelli, who is the vice president of the Italian parliament. The law would mainly affect public administration and state institutions and the language used there.
Rampelli points out that according to recent estimates, since 2000 the number of English words used in written Italian has increased by 773 percent. There are about 9,000 English loanwords in Treccani’s vocabulary, compared to about 800,000 Italian words.
Rampelli considers it unacceptable to use foreign words when there are completely equivalent Italian terms. The use of foreign words should be limited to those for which there are no equivalent terms in Italian. According to the draft law, there would be fines from 5,000 to 100,000 euros for non-fulfillment of the foreseen obligations.
The draft, which consists of eight articles, contains provisions for the protection and promotion of the Italian language. It was presented on December 23, but it became known only in the last few days. Now he is making headlines in Italian newspapers. The bill provides for various specific obligations designed from a “national defense and identity protection perspective.” It also provides for the creation of a commission for the protection, promotion and evaluation of the Italian language.
The opposition laughed at the bill
The opposition referred to the right-wing government’s newly created “Made in Italy” ministry, which is responsible for industrial policy, trade and communications. “We thought we had seen a lot of senseless and ridiculous proposals from this government majority, but the vice president of Kamera Rampelli did it all with his draft law.
It is strange that “his government has set up the Ministry for ‘Made in Italy’.” Will Rampelli condemn his party colleague Urso, who leads this ministry and even uses English words in his name?”, said representatives of the 5-star movement in the chamber and senate culture committee.
Even the Accademia della Crusca has criticized the motion
Even the Accademia della Crusca, a renowned Italian institution dedicated to the cultivation and protection of the Italian language for centuries, criticized the bill. “The proposal to penalize by law the use of foreign words with fines, as if it had run a red light,” disrupts the work of the institute, said Professor Claudio Marazzini, President of the Accademia della Crusca, adding: “The excessive punishment provided for in the proposed law could ridicule the entire front of lovers of the Italian language.”