The Times of India on Monday applauded a bill from right-wing Brothers of Italy (FdI) party that would ban English in all official Italian documents. They would seek to impose fines of up to €100,000 on officials who opt for Anglo equivalents.
English is one of India’s official languages but its use is often described, and not just by Hindu nationalists, as “baggage from colonial domination, to be abolished”. The Times of India is the biggest selling English language daily in India.
Many of the daily’s millions of readers echoed those sentiments.
Meloni’s FdI has filed the bill aimed at banning the use of foreign words and terms in Italian. This is an increasingly common occurrence which was recently stigmatised by former premier and ex-European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi. Therefore, the bill is not just for a ban on English.
The bill was presented by FdI’s House Deputy Speaker Fabio Rampelli and would institute fines ranging from €5,000 to €100,000 for public employees using foreign instead of Italian words in any public communication. It also includes firms that employ foreign terms for job titles, and for schools and universities using non-Italian expressions, unless this is justified by the presence of foreign students.
“The use of Italian will be obligatory for using all goods and services, and in all other walks of life, where non-Italian terms have become rife leaving many people baffled,” Rampelli was quoted as saying.
“Anglo-mania has negative repercussions”
The Times quoted the FdI bill as saying “Anglo-mania has negative repercussions on the whole of society…and the spread of English undermines and mortifies Italian.” It adds “the inconsiderate use of English words and acronyms defining roles in companies is paradoxical, in light of the UK’s choice to leave Europe”.
Draghi last year chided people for using foreign terms to try to sound more important, saying Italian was a beautiful and expressive tongue that needed no substitute. He also observed many people who do not know English, the main culprit, are left in the dark.
Hypocrisy on the right?
The left-leaning opposition 5-Star Movement (M5S) accused the FdI of inconsistency since the industry ministry has been renamed ‘Made in Italy Ministry‘. The party said, “does Rampelli want to disown his colleague Adolfo Urso, the business and Made in Italy minister?”
The centre-left opposition Democratic Party (PD) has accused the government of wanting to turn the clock back to the days of Fascist ‘autarky’. Then, cocktails were renamed ‘Harlequins’ due to their bright colours and jazz legend Louis Armstrong became Luigi Braccioforte.
It also noted Meloni herself used an English term to call herself an underdog when describing her rise to the premiership last September.