Wednesday, October 12, 2016


I am more often than not ashamed of my own country these days and am particularly so today regarding a gaffe involving my beloved Italy:

Online enrolment forms for certain schools in England and - I am sorry to say - Wales, ask parents to indicate their child's nationality. For Italians, however, there is not one code but four and they read as follows:

ITA     Italian
ITAA   Italian [Any Other]
ITAN   Italian [Napoletan]
ITAS   Italian [Sicilian]

Is this stigmatising the South or is it just ignorance?

The Italian Ambassador to the UK, Pasquale Terracciano, protested yesterday, pointing out that Italy has been unified since 1861 and today the Foreign Office has formally apologised to Italy, promising that the forms will be amended.

Whoever compiled the form seems not to know the English word denoting a person from Naples, either.

I would be interested to know what kind of schools were involved and if I find out, I will update this post.

Update: 13.10.16

It seems that these were state schools and that the forms were compiled by the British government. A government spokesperson has said that there was "an historic administrative error" in the language codes used. Are we to believe, then, that in the 21st century, the UK government is using pre-1861 language codes for an online form?

The first complaint is reported to have come from the city of Bradford.

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