English has crept into the Italian language for years, probably starting with film in the 1930s, then with television, then traveling, and today through technology and social media. Recently, a huge controversy broke out in Italy. Prin (research projects of national interest), the largest Italian public fund to sponsor research, announced this year that all applications for funding will have to be written in English. The president of the Accademia della Crusca, which defends the Italian language, asked the Ministry of Education to rethink it.
Now an Italian dictionary is also trying to preserve the Italian language. Devoto-Oli is one of the most popular dictionaries in Italian. It takes its name from its two authors, and the first edition dates back to 1971. The most recent edition includes a new section of 200 English words that Italians use but could replace with Italian words. Here are examples from the dictionary:
1. All inclusive: “Tutto compreso.” We often find this term when we are making choices about travel. It means that the price includes travel, meals, drinks, accommodation and other services. Sometimes, cruise ships have an all-inclusive price (with exceptions listed).
2. Jet lag: The English term jet lag indicates the state of mental and physical discomfort that can be felt after a long flight by plane due to the difference in time zones between the place of departure and arrival. To say it in Italian you can use “mal di fuso” or “sindrome da fuso orario.”
3. Low Cost: This expression came to Italy in the nineties and refers to airlines that offer flights at a lower price than those charged by traditional companies. The expression has then extended to other low-cost arrangements: from low-cost packages, which offer air travel and stay in a hotel at competitive prices, to low-cost restaurants, where you can eat spending little. Instead, in Italian you can say “a basso costo,” “a basso prezzo,” “a buon mercato,” or the adjective “economico.’
At the Movies…
1. Happy ending: In 1940 the term entered Italian to indicate the happy ending of a film, a comedy, a novel, a story. Instead use “lieto fine.”
2. Love story: The expression can easily be translated into Italian as “storia d’amore. The English term became popular since the seventies, after the great success of the novel “Love Story” by the American Erich Segal.
3. Red carpet: The English phrase red carpet spread throughout Italy in the 2000s to indicate “il tappetto rosso” on which famous people parade, especially in the world of entertainment, or on the occasion of awards, inaugurations, ceremonies, or other important events. The celebrities on the red carpet itself represents an event within an event.
1. E-mail: It is one of the most widespread anglicisms in Italian since 1991. To say it in Italian, you can use “posta elettronica” (for example, “indirizzo di posta elettronica”). You can also use “messaggio”, distinguishing it from “messaggino,” or the text message sent from the phone.
2. Home page: In the computer language, the home page indicates the “pagina iniziale” of a site from which you can access other pages, or the start page of a navigation program.
3. Selfie: The English noun selfie began to circulate at the beginning of the millennium and developed exponentially as mobile phones (smartphones) spread with the front camera. You can use “autoscatto”, even if in this case we are not dealing with a real synonym.