By Rosario Mariani, http://www.europebychoice.com
Preserving the Italian language
In the 1930’s and 1940’s, Benito Mussolini tried to eliminate foreign words from the Italian language. A friend of mine, born to Italian and French parents, was named Josette; but when they went to the Municipio (the city) to register her birth, the government changed her name to Giuseppina.
In soccer, which was imported from England and became very popular in Italy in 1920’s, “goal” became “meta”. Similarly, Donald Duck became “Paperino” , Mickey Mouse became “Topolino” and Goofy became “Pippo.”
Not allowing popular foreign words to be used was certainly nonsensical and stalled cultural advancement. After all, where would Italian be today if had not borrowed and accepted Greek and Arabic words into its repertoire?
The French also kept foreign words out of the their language and installed “l’Academie francaise” as a watch-dog – a French council created in 1635 to assist in the regulation of the French language. This council made sure that words such as “weekend” were never used in French media and renamed it instead “fin de semaine.” However, with the arrival of the computer age, l’Academie had lost its control. Thereafter, l’ordinateur became the “computer”and the logiciel became “software.” It felt like the 100 Year War was finally coming to an end!
But back to the Italians. By the 1990’s it was fashionable to say things in English, and so the Italianglo frenzy started. Somehow, English words that were related to technology were acceptable and fashionable, since English-speaking countries such as the United States became the pioneer in the field of computers. All those words were created in English first, and thus commonly used throughout the world.
Here are a few “Italianglo” phrases…
Download or scaricare un file
Username e il password
il news desk
lo spread fiscale
It is surprising that the Italian government, which is supposed to protect the Italian language, permits English words to infiltrate the political vernacular as well.
ITALIANGLO! Is it a fad? I can only hope it fades away so we can preserve Dante’s lingua volgare as much as possible.
Rosario Mariani is the owner/CEO of Europe By Choice, which promotes travel to Italy and other select European countries. He has more than 40 years of experience in the travel industry, previously serving as Director of Italy Product for Italiatour and Club ABC Tours, and also in other positions with EuroFly, Alitalia and Air France.