I have decided to say it in Italian

Or, as it happens, dillo in Italiano.

The petition, called “Dillo in Italiano” or “Say it in Italian”, was launched by Annamaria Testa, an advertising consultant and communications expert.

It has the backing of the Accademia della Crusca, an Italian language research institute that is based in Florence and was founded in 1583.

“We don’t want to declare war on English but we do want to remind Italian speakers that in many cases there are convenient words in Italian that can be used,” said Claudio Marazzini, the academy’s president.

“It’s not a question of imposing choices but of finding a wide consensus and the active participation of Italians and all those who love our language.”

Well, yes, not that I speak much Italian. Nor do I actually know many people who do (the one exception being a Czech bird whose husband is Italian and we both know more Italian that she does English or me Czech, so the language of Dante gets a run out once every few weeks at the pub if they’re there)/

However, there is this:

Italians sometimes mangle English words and expressions, producing a clumsy hybrid language that is mystifying to the native English speaker.

For example, they use the phrase “baby gang” to describe a band of teenage delinquents, “sexy shop” when they mean sex shop, “footing” for jogging and “baby parking” for a crèche or day care centre.

“Baby parking” is just perfect and I shall be using it with immediate effect. And that is indeed “vero Italiano” isn’t it?

17 thoughts on “I have decided to say it in Italian”

  1. “. . . there are convenient words in Italian that can be used. . .”

    If those Italian words were that convenient then they’d be the ones used.

    “It’s not a question of imposing choices . . .”

    *Yet*.

  2. Of course, the Italians used to have a reputation for baby making – vanno i bambini vanno – naturalmente!

    Two lasses arguing in Italian, there’s nothing better – keep English out of it.

  3. bloke (not) in spain

    I’d need convincing “baby parking” is English. As bebe & variations on parc seem to urn up in Latin root languages, I’d presume it’s English borrowing from Italian

  4. Ah, language protectionism. How’s that working out in France? How many times have I heard the word “courriel” used instead of “email”? That would be none. And how many French say “fin de la semaine” instead of “weekend”? That would be none again.

  5. Interesting – isn’t weekend more of an expression?

    In that it does not really mean “end of the week” (ie sunday evening) or fin de la semaine. It is broadly “that period between Friday evening and Monday morning when we are not working”, and often starts down the pub at 5pm on a Friday…

    There are lots of expressions (in French and English) that don’t have literal translations back to the other. Fin de siecle – End of an era (rather than the literal century) in English?

  6. bloke (not) in spain

    Ah Tim. But le pont is entirely french. And a good one can join one le weekend to the next le weekend.

  7. Interesting – isn’t weekend more of an expression?

    Yes – an English one, which the French are not supposed to use.

    Ah Tim. But le pont is entirely french.

    Indeed.

  8. Pseudo-Anglicisms like this are particularly popular with the Germans, for some reason. They usually think that these are normal English expressions that they are using, and that your command of English is poor when you do not know what they are talking about.

  9. ““Baby parking” is just perfect and I shall be using it with immediate effect”: as it happens we’ve used the expression for years, even though our younger friends don’t like their domestic arrangements being so described. They care for “baby dumping” even less.

  10. I thought Italian, at its fabulous best, was mostly arm movements, stylish body language and general noise.

    Do the actual words matter that much?

  11. Bloke in Costa Rica

    Latin American Spanish is also fairly sluttish when it comes to importing English words wholesale. Shops, especially chain restaurants are in the vanguard here. If you’re at the “mall” (not centro comercial) and you fancy some “fast food” (not comida rápida) then you head to the “food court” (not the patio de comidas). The fact that Spanish is an entirely phonetically pronounced language can be amusing as well. Thanks to hipsters, “kale” (which presumably has some official name with repollo in it) can be found in the supermarket, but if you want it you will have to ask where they keep the KAH-ley.

  12. Bloke in Costa Rica

    Well, that’s the thing, isn’t it? English has always been open to importing foreign words and phrases, sometimes wholesale and sometimes calqued, without anyone outside the Outraged of Tunbridge Wells types really giving much of a toss. The British names for latte and lasagne are latte and lasagne. It’s part of the strength of the language, a sort of linguistic hybrid vigour.

  13. Mmm, not so sure. My own view is that foreign words should be resisted at all times.

    Those that use them are dilettantes, mountebanks and shysters in my experience.

  14. Well, one of my companions this evening in a restaurant on the Via Sistini tried for about 3 minutes to explain he wanted milky coffee. He asked me to help him out. I felt I had to reply that telling a hot 23 year – old Roman waitress that we wanted coffee THE ENGLISH WAY in the Italian capital would be just about the most fuck-witted thing I could imagine doing.
    The English for latte? Just ask for tea and then go home to Liverpool.

  15. Bloke in Costa Rica
    March 12, 2015 at 6:21 pm

    The fact that Spanish is an entirely phonetically pronounced language can be amusing as well. Thanks to hipsters, “kale” (which presumably has some official name with repollo in it) can be found in the supermarket, but if you want it you will have to ask where they keep the KAH-ley.

    I live right near the US/Mexico border and see this a lot.

    For example – I drive a Jeep Cherokee, pronounced (in English) Cher-ro-kee.

    My Mexican friends call it a Chey-ro-kee

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