We live in an age in which Anglicisms are increasingly used, especially in the media. In this article, we will show a clear example of this: the “invasion” of English terms in the spoken and written Italian language. Author, editor, and graduate in philosophy, Antonio Zoppetti, argues that “Behind the abuse of English terms, often used inappropriately or even imaginatively, there are several reasons: from ignorance to economic and cultural subjection, from the desire to obscure certain measures to the illusion of making certain qualifications more prestigious”.
Another Italian author who deals with this topic is Licia Corbolante, who works on management of terminology and research. In 2013 we had the pleasure of attending her workshop “Best practices in translation-oriented terminology management” in which she gave us the opportunity to learn more about translation-oriented terminology management . In this workshop, she mentioned that, sometimes, journalists don’t carry out the necessary research to find and use the appropriate terminology and this fact can give rise to confusion. Exactly the same thing happens in the Italian media, when Anglicisms are used instead of looking for the appropriate term in the corresponding language.
It can feel at times that some languages have an “inferiority complex” due to the dominance of the English language. This is accentuated by the fact that the use of English (or, rather, Anglo-American) terms is often preferred over the creation of new ones, which was commonly the case in the past. Take for example the following words in Italian: rivoltella from revolver, bistecca from beefsteak, grattacielo from skyscraper. Languages are alive, but they need to change and adapt to the times. Sometimes, English terms are used even when our own language already has a term corresponding to that concept and this is exactly how many words end up becoming obsolete.
Another recurring problem of the use of Anglicisms in the media is that it is assumed that the entire population knows what they mean, but that is not always the case. The meaning of Anglicisms is not always clearly explained to citizens. Sometimes, this happens out of sheer laziness, but more often than not, it is done on purpose in order to make unattractive concepts seem more appealing.
Looking for a solution to the problem, the Department of European Politics in Italy has come up with an interesting initiative: the creation of the EuroParole page. It will collect Anglicisms usually used in Italian politics and the media, alongside their Italian equivalents which are used instead in the normative acts and in the official documents of the European and Italian institutions.
Those who prefer Anglicisms do not realize that their use creates confusion, making it more complicated for citizens to find information on relevant legislation. This is where the website EuroParole steps in. It will make available for citizens a list of some of the most frequent terms or expressions in English that refer to normative acts or official documents, and that are also often used by the Italian media. For each term, it gives the Italian equivalent, a brief explanation of its meaning, sources and examples of its usage.
All the terms on the published EuroParole list can be found on the European Terminology Database database IATE. We invite you to look them up in IATE so you can also see the equivalent terms in your own language.
Written by Marta Guillén Martínez – Communication Trainee at the Terminology Coordination Unit of the European Parliament (Luxembourg). She holds a Degree in Advertising and Public Relations from the University of Alicante, Spain and she did her European Voluntary Service on communication and European youth mobility in Milan, Italy. She speaks Spanish, Catalan, English and Italian.