On the topic of Italian language


As a writer I’m eternally in love with words, I’m continually hoarding them trying to put them together in elegant poetical phrases, only to cut them out when editing, because simplicity works better.

The Italian language is in a constant state of change, every year new words are added to the vocabulary, as is usual in any living, used language. In 2016 the Zingarelli Italian dictionary listed and defined 500 new words, which brought the total to more than 144,000.

Some of these have been introduced from English, either translated into Italian or adopted in their original form into the dictionary, only to be pronounced in an Italianised way. Others express developments in technology others new ways of describing the current economic climate.

Of those words introduced to the Zingarelli, the new ones include acquaponica (hydroponics), adultità (the state of being an adult or adulting), banking, coding, cheating, bartender, criptomoneta (cryptocurrency), dipsofobia (the fixation of hoarding objects), fotodepilazione (UV hair removal), open toe, cooking show, svapare (vaping).

The words added from other languages included: expat, macaron, netsuke (small Japanese statues in wood or ivory), pastrami and to run flat.

Purists complain about every batch of new words added to the Italian language the lexicon is being watered down, desecrated or cancelled. But this is a normal function of a vibrant, growing and thriving language.

As a language is spoken, it changes and adapts to the contemporary situation. How many old words have been lost to English since Shakespeare’s time and yet his works maintain their relevance today because the core of the language is universal and timeless.

4 thoughts on “On the topic of Italian language

    1. Thanks! It’s great to witness the changes in the Italian language. Many Italians complain there are too many english words being adapted but I think its a testament to the strength of the Italian lexicon that they are being accepted.


  1. How right you are, and this is true of all languages especially today with the rapid growth of technology. Not only are we adding new words almost daily, but the meanings of many words are being changed beyond all recognition, especially by the young people (think ‘wicked’ for good, for instance). And if you look at some of the words we use frequently today and compare their use just 100 years ago you will often find a great difference in the meaning. As you say, a vigorous language is bound to change and we have nothing to fear from adopting these words. How pale our English language would be without the input from India for instance.

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    1. Oh yes, language shifts and changes so rapidly and reflects the world we live in. English has so many influences, I think that’s what makes it so strong.


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