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Waging War Against Anglomania

The Right-wing Nationalist Government of Italy, led by Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, recently introduced a Bill in the Parliament, seeking to ban State-run institutions and corporations from using English in official communications. The Bill has also proposed that violators would have to pay a fine of up to EUR 100,000 (USD 150,000).

According to sources close to the Meloni Administration, although the Bill wants to prohibit the use of all foreign terms in official communications, it is aimed mainly at quelling the rise of Anglomania, apart from protecting the Italian language. The draft version of the Bill, introduced by Prime Minister Meloni’s Brothers of Italy Party, reads: “It is not just a matter of fashion, as fashions pass, but Anglomania (has) repercussions for society as a whole.” As per the Bill, the spread of English “demeans and mortifies” the Italian language. The Brothers of Italy has argued that the popularity of English in Europe is “even more paradoxical and negative” especially after the exit of Britain from the European Union (EU).

The Government of Italy has made it clear that all use of English and English terms should be avoided during official communications, and promotion of goods and services by private companies. English should also be avoided at university classrooms, unless the course is specifically teaching a foreign language. The problem is that the Bill suggests Government offices and private entities, which mostly deal with tourists and non-Italian speakers, to use Italian as the primary language.

The Government has further mentioned in the Bill that a new committee would be established under the Ministry of Culture in order to promote the “correct use of the Italian language and its pronunciation” in schools, media, commerce and advertising. CNN, which received a copy of the draft version of the Bill, reported in the first week of April 2023 that mispronouncing bru-sketta (garlic bread) as bru-shetta could be a punishable offense in Italy in the coming days.

Meanwhile, the Parliament is yet to hold a debate on this Bill, which needs approval from both the Houses of the Parliament to become a Law. However, the legislation enjoys the backing of Prime Minister Meloni. If the Bill becomes a Law, then the Government would have to get its own house quickly in order. It may be noted that Prime Minister Meloni occasionally drops foreign words into her speeches.

The Government of Italy introduced the Bill days after banning the use of laboratory-produced food in order to safeguard the country’s agri-food heritage. The Meloni Administration considers agri-food heritage as another important part of National Culture.

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