Italy seeks to penalize use of English in official documents
The new legislation introduced by PM Giorgia Meloni’s Brothers of Italy party could result in fines up to $108,705.
A new law proposed by Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni's Brothers of Italy party might result in fines of up to €100,000 ($108,705) for public and private bodies in the country if they use English and other foreign terms in official communication and documents.
The measure was proposed by lower chamber deputies member, Fabio Rampelli, and it has the support of the prime minister.
Although all foreign languages are included in the legislation, it specifically targets "Anglomania," or the usage of English words, which the draft claims "demeans and mortifies" the Italian language, adding that due to the UK's withdrawal from the EU, the situation is even worse.
Anybody holding a position in public administration is required by the measure, which has not yet been brought up for parliamentary debate, to have "written and oral knowledge and mastery of the Italian language." Also, companies operating in Italy are prohibited, under the legislation, from using the English language in "acronyms and names" of job titles.
According to a draft of the legislation CNN viewed, foreign firms would need Italian-language versions of all internal policies and employment contracts.
The bill states that it is not "just a matter of fashion, as fashions pass, but Anglomania has repercussions for society as a whole."
Even in offices that deal with non-Italian-speaking foreigners, the first article of the bill states, Italian must be the first language used.
The second article, says that Italian is “mandatory for the promotion and use of public goods and services in the national territory.” Not abiding by the bill could result in fines between €5,000 ($5,435) and €100,000 ($108,705).
“Bru-sketta”, not “bru-shetta”
The Culture Ministry should, under the proposed law, form a committee in charge of making sure that schools, media, commerce, and advertising all have “correct use of the Italian language and its pronunciation”.
For example, saying “bru-shetta” instead of “bru-sketta” could be punishable.
Safeguarding the Italian language follows another bid by the government to protect the country’s cuisine.
The government introduced a law that prohibits cell-based cuisine and “to safeguard our nation’s heritage and our agriculture based on the Mediterranean diet,” Meloni’s Health Minister Orazio Schillaci said in a press conference.
It is worth noting that Italy’s ministers of Culture and Agriculture officially entered Italian cuisine last week into candidacy for UNESCO World Heritage Site status, which will be decided in December 2025.