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Meloni“s party looks to shield Italian language from foreign contamination

2023-03-31T14:11:56Z

Italy’s Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni attends a question time at the lower house of parliament in Rome, Italy March 15, 2023. REUTERS/Remo Casilli/File Photo

Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s party has proposed imposing fines of up to 100,000 euros ($108,750) on public and private entities which use foreign terms, most notably English, instead of Italian in official communications.

“It is not just a matter of fashion, as fashions pass, but Anglomania (has) repercussions for society as a whole,” said the text of the draft bill, calling for the Italian language to be protected and nurtured.

The bill was presented by lawmakers from Meloni’s nationalist Brothers of Italy party and will have to be approved by both houses of parliament to become law. There was no indication of when this might happen.

It said the spread of English “demeans and mortifies” Italian and proposed that all public and private bodies had to use the language of Dante to promote their goods and services.

It also stipulates that all names and acronyms indicating jobs in companies operating in Italy should be spelt out in the local language, with foreign words only allowed if they prove to be impossible to translate.

The bill said the widespread use of English in Europe was “even more negative and paradoxical” given that Britain had quit the European Union.

If the draft becomes law, the government might have to get its own house quickly in order. When it took office last October, it added the English term “Made in Italy” to the name of the industry minister, while Meloni herself occasionally drops foreign words into her speeches.

In her inaugural address to parliament as prime minister in October, Meloni described herself as an “underdog”.

The draft bill comes just days after the government moved to defend what it sees as another important part of Italy’s culture, banning the use of laboratory-produced food to safeguard the country’s agri-food heritage.

($1 = 0.9195 euro)

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