The Brothers of Italy, the political party of Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, has introduced a draft bill to safeguard and promote the Italian language. The proposed legislation suggests imposing fines of up to €100,000 on both public and private entities using foreign languages, particularly English, in official communications.
The move comes amidst growing concerns that the increasing use of foreign languages in Italy poses a threat to the country’s cultural identity and economy.
The bill aims to protect and nurture the Italian language by highlighting that the spread of English demeans and mortifies it, thereby adversely affecting society. It emphasizes that Anglomania (the excessive use of English) is not a mere fashion trend as it can cause long-term societal damage.
The draft bill requires public and private bodies to use Italian to promote their goods and services. However, the proposal is yet to be approved by parliament.
In addition, the draft bill requires that companies operating in Italy spell out job titles in Italian, allowing foreign words only if they are untranslatable. The proposal argues that the widespread use of English in Europe is paradoxical, especially as Britain has exited the European Union.
However, critics have voiced concerns that the bill could damage Italy’s global image and competitiveness. They suggest that a complete ban on foreign words may lead to linguistic isolation and hinder Italy’s ability to engage with the international community.
Interestingly, the proposal has emerged just after Italy’s decision to temporarily block ChatGPT, a popular AI chatbot, due to data privacy concerns. This makes Italy the first Western country to take action against the chatbot.