Itenglish or Italian? The portrait of a constantly changing language

The words that make up the Italian language are evocative and resound with Italian history. This was how Annamaria Testa described her thoughts on how Italian is changing at a TEDxtalk held some time ago: she ironically talks about Englishian or Itenglish, a version of Italian increasingly contaminated by English words.

The Devoto-Oli dictionary takes a snapshot every year of the status quo, this year’s marking its 50th anniversary.

The emerging picture shows Italian is a rapidly changing language, absorbing hundreds of terms from different foreign languages that lead to numerous neologisms: 1500 were introduced in 2017 alone, many of which are associated with politics, the economy and internet. Some examples? Brexit, fake news, selfone, foreign fighter, stepchild adoption, dashboard.

But there are still some passionate advocates of the Italian language around who hope to prevent the “paralysis of the language”. In an article published in the Corriere della Sera newspaper, italianist Antonio Zoppetti underlined that the “the abuse of Anglicisms, unparalleled compared to other European languages, means we fail to create new words in our own language… we are not helping it to grow… we use English terms even when the Italian word not only exists, it may well be more synthetic. What astonishes me about the phenomenon is the amount of Anglicisms and the lack of reasoning in the use of some of them…”.

What do you think about it? If you want to find out more, try reading the two interesting articles on our Facebook page and leave your opinion.

The snapshot of Italian according to Devoto-Oli:

The article by Antonio Zoppetti:


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