Dilloinitaliano
Say it in Italian!

While millions of Italophiles like myself spend endless hours learning to communicate in la bella lingua, Italians are issuing a plea to their countrymen: “Per favore, parlate Italiano!”  

"Basta con gli inglesismi!" (Enough with the English-isms!)  declared Annamaria Testa, una pubblicitaria (advertising professional), who has posted a petition entreating il governo italiano, le amministrazioni pubbliche, i media, le imprese a parlare un po’ di più in italiano (the Italian government, public offices, the media, the businesses to speak a little more in Italian).

“Va bene usare parole straniere quando non hanno corrispondenti altrettanto semplici ed efficaci,” she concedes. (It’s okay to use foreign words when they have no simple and effective corresponding ones.) But, she asks, why say  "form" instead of  modulo, “market share" instead of  quota di mercato or “jobs act” instead of legge sul lavoro?  One of the most egregious examples of Italians' using English is this controversial recruitment ad for Italy's "cool" Navy–entirely in English:

Ital navy

With the Italian language now the fourth most studied in the world (la quarta più studiata al mondo), Testa notes, Italian words are carrying everywhere the cuisine, music, design, culture and the spirit (la cucina, la musica, il design, la cultura e lo spirito) of Italy. The petition summarizes a few reasons why l’italiano is what Testa calls la scelta virtuosa (the virtuous choice) for native Italians:

1. Adopting Italian words helps make them understood by everyone (adoperare parole italiane aiuta a farsi capire da tutti), which makes talks more clear and effective (rende i discorsi più chiari ed efficaci).

2. Good daily examples (buone pratiche quotidiane) are more effective than any other prescription (più efficaci di qualsiasi prescrizione) for good use of the language.

3. Studied and loved in the world (studiata e amata nel mondo), Italian is a powerful instrument (un potente strumento) for promoting Italy.

4. Being bilingual does not mean inserting English terms into an Italian speech (infarcire di termini inglesi un discorso italiano), or vice versa.

5. In “Itanglese” or “Italish,” it’s easy to use terms in a clumsy or incorrect way (modo goffo o scorretto) or to make a mistake in pronouncing them (sbagliare nel pronunciarli).

6. From Dante to Galileo, from Leopardi to Fellini, la lingua italiana has articulated our thinking and our creativity (il nostro pensiero e la nostra creatività) — part of every Italian’s patrimony (patrimonio).

7. If our linguistic fabric (il nostro tessuto linguistico) is strong, it will be enriched, not torn (arricchito, non lacerato) by the insertion of useful non-Italian words.

8. Italian is all of us (l’italiano siamo tutti noi)—strong in our identity (forti della nostra identità), aware of our roots (consapevoli delle nostre radici) and open to the world (aperti verso il mondo).

If you agree (se sei d’accordo), sign (firma) the petition, parlane (talk about it), condividi in rete (share online). And do it now (e fallo adesso)!

Words and Expressions

discorso politico — political discourse

parole straniere — foreign words

purezza della lingua — purity of the language

purismo linguistico –- linguistic purism

prestito linguistico — loan word

Dianne Hales is the author of MONA LISA: A Life Discovered and LA BELLA LINGUA: My Love Affair with Italian, the World's Most Enchanting Language.