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After recently banning ChatGPT and laboratory-produced food from the country, Italy could now be looking towards doing the same for foreign languages, specifically English.
Proposed by Fabio Rampelli, a politician and member of Italy’s far-right party, Brothers of Italy, this bill, if passed, would prohibit the use of English in all official documents. The draft bill stated that the growing spread of English only “demeans and mortifies” the Italian language, even referring to it as “Anglomania.” It also stated that ever since the United Kingdom left the European Union (EU), the problem has gotten even more “negative and paradoxical.” “It is not just a matter of fashion, as fashions pass, but Anglomania (has) repercussions for society as a whole,” stated text in the draft bill.
All public and private entities would be barred from using it, and they’re expected to only use Dante (modern-day standardized Italian language) for everything involving business. Moreover, all names and acronyms used by companies for job titles should also only be in the local language, except if it’s impossible to translate any foreign words directly. Any public employee or firm who is caught to have used foreign terms instead of Italian ones in public communication could be fined anywhere from 5000 to 100,000 euros ($5,500 to $110,000)
However, the bill is very controversial, with some members of the Brothers of Italy party trying to stay away from it as far as possible, along with Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani reassuring the public that this was only the opinion of one politician and not a government-wide push. Although, the current Italian Prime Minister and member of the Brothers of Italy, Giorgia Meloni, has voiced support for the draft.
This has some people worried as the current government is the most right-wing government the country has had since Benito Mussolini’s fascist dictatorship during World War II. Although many citizens applaud the Brothers of Italy for returning to more traditional Italian values, there is fear from those who fear that fascism might take hold once again.
When asked if the proposed draft had a “Mussolini flavor,” Tajani responded that it had nothing to do with Mussolini. Moreover, Meloni has insisted time and again that she is no fascist, but rather a proud conservative who emphasizes a motto she often says: “Dio, patria, e famiglia!” (God, Fatherland, and Family).
However, Italy isn’t the first country to propose a measure like this, as France beat them to the punch in 1994. The Toubon Law requires that all written contracts, including job, lease, and rental agreements, must be written in French. However, this law is a bit laxer, as it allows for some terms to be in a foreign language as long as they are explained clearly in French. Moreover, if a document needs to be translated for a foreign third party, an officially-approved translator can be hired.