Renewing the Italian Language

Nov 18, 2011

Blog new words pic

Nuove parole per una nuova Italia

New Words for a New Italy

It’s a new day in Italy, the end of an era (la fine di un’era) and the beginning of the “dopoSilvio” (after Silvio). On November 12, which some have dubbed La Festa della Liberazione (the feast of the Liberation), headlines declared “Addio” (goodbye). Crowds in the street, who had jeered Berlusconi as a buffone (clown) along with various unprintable epithets, began to chant “Futuro!” (Future!).

“Bisogna individuare un universo semantico nuovo” (It’s necessary to identify a new semantic universe), a top advertising expert commented. “Basta con il bunga bunga e riscopriamo l'orgoglio nazionale.” (Enough with the "bunga bunga" — a term associated with Berlusconi's serial sex scandals — and let’s rediscover the national pride.)

There is ”una straordinaria voglia di rinnovare il linguaggio” (an extraordinary wish to renew the language), observed La Repubblica, a major Italian newspaper.  In order to trovare un parola chiave per il nuovo tempo (find a key word for the new time), it has created a national poll (sondaggio) that offers readers the following possibilities:

*Rimontiamo –- an anagram of the Prime Minister Mario Monti’s name, it can translates as “Let’s move up,” “Let’s climb again” or “Let’s catch up.”

*Possiamo farcela –- We can do it

*Mai più — Never again

*Fiducia nel Paese, fiducia negli altri — trust in the country, trust in others

*Riscatto –- liberation, redemption

*Ricominciamo –- Let’s begin again, let’s start afresh

*Adesso si riparte –- Now we start again

*Rialziamo l'Italia — Let’s lift Italy up again

*Riprendiamoci l'ottimismo — Let’s take back optimism

*E adesso, Italia — And now, Italy

*Un Paese dove restare –- a country to stay in

*Il Paese dei talenti — a country of talents

*Il tempo della fiducia e della competenza — the time of trust and of competence

*Il tempo dell'essere dopo gli anni dell'apparire –- the time of being after the years of seeming

*Un Paese da cui non fuggire –- a country not to run away from

*Diventare un Paese vero –- becoming a true country

*Credibilità e verità –- credibility and truth

*Fiducia nel futuro –- trust in the future

*Dignità –- dignity

*Rigore e giustizia sociale –- rigor and social justice

*Più uguali –- more equal

*Equità sociale e crescita –- social equity and growth

*Siamo tutti europei –- We are all European

*L’Italia è una e indivisibile –- Italy is one and indivisible.

More than 55,000 people have responded to this poll. You can add your opinion here. The video below conveys the mix of skepticism and hope that many Italians feel for their povera patria (poor fatherland). “Non cambierà (it will not change),” goes the refrain,  “Forse cambierà” (Perhaps it will change.)


Dianne Hales is the author of LA BELLA LINGUA: My Love Affair with Italian, the World’s Most Enchanting Language.

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