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Despite Chicness, Italy Might Say Arrivederci to English Words

Before it was the national language, Italian was just the regional dialect of Tuscany. But, since it went on to become the official language in the 1800s, Italy is ready to protect it from an English invasion. The influential Dante Alighieri Society, similar to France's Académie française, wants to erase words like "le weekend, "cool" and "OK" from conversational and written Italian.

Some Italians consider English words chic (er, wait what's the English word for chic?); but, the cultural institute is making a push for pure Italian, instead of "Anglitaliano." In a globalizing word, such protection may be crucial to maintaining the integrity of a language. Then again, languages are first of all a mode of communication and maybe the meaning behind "cool" just can't be translated.

Italians should know that Americans use Italian words, too! . . . at least at Starbucks. But Americans beware — if you order a "latte" in Italy, you'll get a glass of milk!


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Mädchen Mädchen 9 years
I completely agree with you, pixelhaze.
pixelhaze pixelhaze 9 years
They're not trying to get rid of "just" American words - who in the states says LE weekend?? In pretty much every language there is some "anglo-izing" going on because of technology. Now anyone in every language will understand what you mean when you say "e-mail," for example. Since those words didn't exist before and originated in English it makes sense. I don't mind OK or cool either because that kind of slang goes in and out by the minute. What I find annoying is when english words are used just because when there was already a perfectly good word in it's place - I'm pretty sure that a word for "weekend" already existed and I can understand why they would want to stop the language from getting butchered. Anyone who has ever heard kids speak spanglish understands what I mean.
ilanac13 ilanac13 9 years
i can understand why so many countries want to take 'American' words out of the daily language but i think that it's something that's going to take a lot to change. with how popular a lot of American things are (i.e. TV, magazines, movies etc) there's just a lot of cross over to other languages and cultures. i know that i would be upset if i were from another country that had pride and a strong sense of nationalism - and seeing American things and English things creep in, that would irritate me. i hope that there's a happy median some where along the lines.
bleached bleached 9 years
"that my provincial"... delete the "it"
bleached bleached 9 years
Man... this purity of language is such crap. I have to deal with it every day in Quebec... Drives me insane that it my provincial government actually spends money checking store signs to make sure they're in French
rabidmoon rabidmoon 9 years
I find it interesting how much hostility this thread generated. Anyway, most Europeans I know speak English very well, primarily due to 3 things, as I see it: 1)The growth of the globalised business culture 2)Exposure to English via movies/net/television 3)MMORPG gaming, which is massive here, and in which most of the EU roll on English servers except the French and German (and sometimes Spanish), who usually have dedicated-language servers. They don't mind English, and most of them feel either indifferent (because it came so naturally) or a bit smug that they can speak more than one language. English offers no threat to their own culture. What most EU people I know resist is the "fast-food-n-Rambo" mentality that they see as uniquely American. The English. There is a difference, and "English" here means just that - the UK. England-English. I think what is happening is that English is rapidly becoming the international "business" language. It is used globally as the "shared" tounge when the individuals speak different languages and could otherwise not communicate. For that reason, it will be difficult, I think, to try to "erase" English from a nation's vocabluary. On the other hand - I don't particularly blame the Italians for wanting to preserve what they see as their current native language. While I agree there is something to be said for understanding that all languages evolve from others, I also think trying to avoid unnecessary and sloppy colloquialisms is somewhat admirable but difficult. Italy is a far more conservative country than the Scandinavian ones are (in some ways), so their perspective in this situation mirrors that, to some extent.
karenpanna karenpanna 9 years
I am curious to see how this will impact English speaking travelers to Italy. When I lived there, I only survived on a combination of Anglitalian. It's important to preserve a language, but that's the most difficult things as languages are constantly evolving.
bluesarahlou bluesarahlou 9 years
janneth janneth 9 years
I do think the US is totally languilicious with the way we accept any and all new words. I love it, that is OUR style. It's a fait accompli and considered a la mode to do that. C'est la vie!
janneth janneth 9 years
Pop, it is totally the pervasiveness of our culture that other countries resent. France is so unique with the preservation of their language, and I respect that.
popgoestheworld popgoestheworld 9 years
I think some people resent the pervasiveness of American culture and they're trying to fight against the byproducts of it (new words) because they can't really root out the cause itself. I don't see it working. I think that languages grow all the time from incorporating foreign words, not just inventing their own words.
chocolatine chocolatine 9 years
The French language has done brilliantly with only very few anglicisms, and it's in absolutely no danger of dying out. I work for an international website that has the same content in English, German and French, among other languages, and it's striking how much German just indiscriminately accepts English words, whereas French comes up with its own. For example software is "Software" in German, but "logiciels" in French. A mousepad is "Mousepad" in German, but "tapis de souris" in French. A laptop is "Laptop" in German, but "ordinateur portable" in French. There are many more examples like this. I think it's much more interesting to find existing words for new concepts than indiscriminately borrowing from a "dominant" language.
Mädchen Mädchen 9 years
Now you're just being ridiculous. :OY: Did you actually read anything I wrote about how I see the situation? Also, noone wants to ban anything. The Dante Alighieri Society, which proudly draws its name from the most illustrious Italian poet, has had enough of words like "OK," "briefing" and "mission" popping up in Italian sentences and has been asking visitors to its Web site to point the finger at foreign words polluting everyday Italian. "Our survey shows that, although the hard core of foreign words included in our language doesn't bother anybody, there are a few excess that many Italians dislike," Alessandro Masi, chairman of the Dante Alighieri Society, told ABC News.
organicsugr organicsugr 9 years
Madchen, the argument that Jude is making is that it should stop evolving from other languages by borrowing words.
organicsugr organicsugr 9 years
These will, of course, have to be removed as well, in the purification of the Italian language.
Mädchen Mädchen 9 years
I don't think anyone is arguing that Italian didn't evolve from other languages.
organicsugr organicsugr 9 years
How about the Italian word "sofà" Madchen?
Mädchen Mädchen 9 years
Sorry, I posted that before I read your correction (hadn't updated in between). Still, how is one Romance language "borrowing" (if you can even call it that. The history of modern Italian does seem quite a bit more complicated than that.) from another very closely related one the same thing as using words from a language belonging to a different group entirely? Again, I really don't think most Italians are bothered my a few English words here and there, it's just that English is used so excessively now (especially in advertizing, etc.) that it actually is somewhat annoying.
organicsugr organicsugr 9 years
Madchen, where did the Italian word "papà" come from?
Michelann Michelann 9 years
Madchen, Organic corrected the statement already.
Mädchen Mädchen 9 years
"Just like the Italian people are attempting to do now, in borrowing from English, another Romantic language." When did English become a Romantic language??
organicsugr organicsugr 9 years
"in borrowing from English, another Romantic language." Meant another language borrowing from Romantic languages.
organicsugr organicsugr 9 years
I hope they also intend to remove cavaliere, accetta, dardo, freccia. All borrowed from French. ;)
organicsugr organicsugr 9 years
How silly. They were not part of modern "Italy" when their dialects were borrowed to create modern Italian. It's so silly to assume that because they are now in modern day Italy that they weren't borrowing words from other Romantic dialects. Just like the Italian people are attempting to do now, in borrowing from English, another Romantic language.
psterling psterling 9 years
Languages are MEANT to grow and change and be influenced. This is just a natural progression of things.
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