Sunday, November 08, 2009


This is another of my articles previously published published in Italy Magazine. I think it will interest my readers here.

The 2010 edition of lo Zingarelli , Vocabolario della lingua italiana [ Zanichelli ] Italy’s bestselling Italian dictionary, has been published amid a chorus of controversy over the inclusion of 1,200 recent coinages, 700 of which are new entries. Some of these are Italian coinages whilst others are borrowings from other languages - mainly English - and still others are Italianisations of English words.

The Sicilian exclamation, “mizzica!” [“my goodness!”] is included for the first time and the word “ominicchio” [meaning a mediocre man – “uomo mediocre”] which was coined by the writer Sciascia also makes an appearance. We also have “da acchiappo” to mean a seductive person, “infoetica” to refer to problems created by information technology and the communications revolution and “tvfonino” to refer to a cellphone which can receive TV programmes. An “ottista” is a student who constantly receives 8 marks out of ten in upper school tests. “Ciberbullismo” is listed for the first time, too. From Brazilian comes “Capoeira” and in the political sphere words such as “neocon” and “baathista” now appear. We can also find “antietà” [anti-ageing] “bionaturale” and other words which represent new concepts and ideas.

Among the English words and expressions now accepted into Italian are: chick lit, embedded, social card, pro life, pro choice, chill out, finger food, wine bar, nerd and “not in my back yard”.

The 2010 edition of the dictionary earmarks 2,800 Italian words which the compilers feel should be saved. These words are not particularly archaic but are simply falling out of use as they are replaced by snappier coinages. Among them are “ vaghezza” [vagueness] the elegant form of address “Esimio” [replaced by “Egregio” in correspondence] and “protervia” [arrogance]. Some commenters on various sites which discuss the new dictionary are saying that attempting to save words is a waste of time.

What do you think? Is it worth trying to save the words which are becoming obsolete?


Sean Jeating said...

Great post. Thanks for that, Lady Limoncello!

What I do think? Well, you know my opinion, anyway, hm? :)

Instead, may I commend my favourite English teacher, Stan Carey?
I am quite sure having read this post, you will (at least innerly) shout Mizzica! and start to rummage in his archive.

I am quite sure once reading on or two

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Thank you, Sean. I will go over to Stan Carey's blog now.


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