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Italians Reject English Phrases
English Syntax Killing Off Italian?
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"Project aims to rid the language used in bureaucratic texts of confusing terms."
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Members of the Italian parliament have launched a campaign against English phrases that are flooding into their culture and language.

The problem, as the politicians see it, is not so much the words as the arrival of English syntax, which they say is killing off Italian by depriving it of its nuances. Examples can be seen in airports and banks where signs say «Grazie per non fumare». Smokers should instead be told «Grazie per non aver fumato» or, "Thank you for not having smoked".

Saverio Vertone, one of the signatories of a Manifesto in Difesa della Lingua Italiana presented to the Italian Parliament, said of the offending signs: "This is a linear translation of 'thank you for not smoking'. But in Italian you just can't say this." Mr. Vertone has insisted that the campaign was not like France's battle to keep out English words, and that the French insistence on calling a computer an "ordinateur" was excessive.

He explained that the real damage in Italy was through the "colonization of syntax".

The Italian language is not rich with words, but Mr. Vertone said: "It compensates for its relative poverty with a wealth of syntactic constructions, which lend it great subtlety."

Mr. Vertone, a member of the center-right political party Forza Italia, said Italian television and schools were to blame. They can expect protests in the future. His group will also target the "prophets of the future" who foresee the death of the Italian language in the interests of the world economy.

Should Italy Outlaw English Phrases?
Are English phrases another example of American cultural imperialism, or merely the natural evolution of the Italian language? Cast your vote! and post your comments on the Italian Language Bulletin Board.


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