After ChatGPT, Italy plans to ban English language. Know why

  • If the bill is approved by both houses of parliament, it would require all public and private bodies to use the language of Dante to promote their goods and services.

Livemint
Updated3 Apr 2023
Italy's Prime Minister, Giorgia Meloni, has herself used foreign words in her speeches, although she has also emphasized the importance of promoting the Italian language and culture.
Italy’s Prime Minister, Giorgia Meloni, has herself used foreign words in her speeches, although she has also emphasized the importance of promoting the Italian language and culture.(REUTERS)

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni's party have proposed a draft bill in the parliament that would impose fines of up to €100,000 on public and private entities that use foreign terms, particularly English, instead of Italian in official communications. This comes a day after Italy said it was temporarily blocking ChatGPT over data privacy concerns, the first western country to take such action against the popular artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot.

Why does Italy want to ban English language?

The bill calls for the protection and promotion of the Italian language, stating that the spread of English "demeans and mortifies" Italian and has repercussions for society as a whole. "It is not just a matter of fashion, as fashions pass, but Anglomania (has) repercussions for society as a whole," said the text of the draft bill, calling for the Italian language to be protected and nurtured.

If the bill is approved by both houses of parliament, it would require all public and private bodies to use the language of Dante to promote their goods and services. However, there is no indication of when this might happen.

The draft also stipulates that all job titles in companies operating in Italy should be spelt out in Italian, with foreign words only allowed if they cannot be translated.

The bill argues that the widespread use of English in Europe is "even more negative and paradoxical" given that Britain has left the European Union. 

The proposed bill has received criticism from some quarters, with opponents arguing that it would be a setback for the country's international image and harm its competitiveness. Italy's Prime Minister, Giorgia Meloni, has herself used foreign words in her speeches, although she has also emphasized the importance of promoting the Italian language and culture.

 

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