Italy‘s ruling party has introduced a law that seeks to ban governments and corporations from using English in official communications under threat of fines up to 100,000 euros, or $150,000.
Though the bill would prohibit the use of all foreign terms in official communications, the proposed law is particularly interested in quelling the rise of “Anglomania,” and calls for the protection and conservation of the Italian language.
“It is not just a matter of fashion, as fashions pass, but Anglomania (has) repercussions for society as a whole,” reads a draft version of the bill, introduced by the right-wing, nationalist Brothers of Italy party.
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It adds that the spread of English “demeans and mortifies” the Italian language and its popularity in Europe is “even more paradoxical and negative” now that the U.K. has left the European Union.
The bill would see all use of English and even English terms that have naturally made their way into the Italian lexicon banned from government communications, private companies promoting their goods and services, and even university classrooms, unless the course is specifically teaching a foreign language.
Even government offices and private entities that mostly deal with tourists and non-Italian speakers would be compelled to use Italian as the primary language if the bill is passed.
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The proposed bill would also establish a new committee under the Ministry of Culture, aimed at promoting the “correct use of the Italian language and its pronunciation,” in schools, media, commerce and advertising.
CNN, which saw a draft version of the law, speculated that the addition could mean mispronouncing “bru-sketta” as “bru-shetta” could be a punishable offense.
The bill has yet to go to debate, where it will need approval from both of Italy’s house of parliament to become law, but the legislation has the backing of Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni.
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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.
— With files from Reuters
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