Mama Mia! Italian Language Purists Call for a Ban on English or "Anglitaliano"
An Italian cultural institution Dante Alighieri Society with enormous clout in Italy has called for a ban on such Anglitaliano phrases that have crept into the language such as "il weekend" or "lo stress". It is simply not chic to the ears of the purists and is spoiling the dolce vita to hear blunt Anglo-Saxon derivations in their, admittedly, beautiful language.
Italians are quite used to feeling "lo stress", looking forward to "il weekend" or trying to look "cool".
But now an influential cultural institute has asked Italians to protect the language and reject "Anglitaliano".
The Dante Alighieri Society asked people for examples of over-used foreign words and "il weekend" emerged as the worst offender.
The society said the results showed that Italians want their language to receive more respect.
For four months, the society asked visitors to its website, 70% of whom were Italians, for inappropriate examples of foreign words being used in everyday Italian, either written or spoken.
People think it's chic to use English words, but I don't like it at all
Maria, travel agent
"Who would have thought it - Italians protesting against 'il weekend'," said the institute, the Italian version of the French language protection body the Academie Francaise
The least popular word was found to be "weekend", receiving 11% of the votes.
"Too short? No, just not Italian enough," the society adds.
They said it was pointless to use an English word, however elegant, when the Italian expression "fine settimana" means exactly the same thing.
The second least popular word was "OK", which respondents to the survey thought was too informal and unprofessional.
LEAST POPULAR ENGLISH WORDS weekend 11% OK 10% welfare 8% briefing 5% mission 4% location, bookshop, devolution 3% computer, know-how, privacy, shopping 2%
Several unpopular terms came from business and politics, with "briefing" gaining 5% of the vote, "mission" 4% and "devolution" 3%.
"It is clear that the Italians are asking for more respect and more protection for their language," says the society.