Italian government wants to forbid the usage of foreign terms, which in Italy are mostly English:

Italians who use English and other foreign words in official communications could face fines of up to €100,000 ($108,705) under new legislation introduced by Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni's Brothers of Italy party.


Is there a term for this reverse process of the natural development of a language?

  • 4
    Foolishness is what it's usually called. Note that it was passed on April 1. There have been many such legislatural or legal challenges to people's ordinary speech. None have been successful in any way. They can change the written word, if they spend enough time and money, but not the spoken. Commented Apr 7, 2023 at 15:35
  • @JohnLawler - I agree with you, but unluckily it is not an April fool’s joke. They are serious about it.
    – Gio
    Commented Apr 7, 2023 at 17:56
  • 2
    It's one way to anger people and make them more nationalistic. Of course Italian is only "our" language in a few areas (mostly in Meloni's territory, no doubt). It's also a way to distract voters from noticing what the gov is actually doing. Old, old, strategy - hate foreigners! Who's a foreigner? Anybody that talks funny! Commented Apr 7, 2023 at 18:27
  • So how do write Italy in Italian now? Do you put the "V" back in it? (Italy is a Greek exonym that lacks the V because ancient Greek didn't have a V.)
    – Phil Sweet
    Commented Apr 7, 2023 at 19:31

1 Answer 1


It might be Linguistic purism:

Linguistic purism or linguistic protectionism is the prescriptive practice of defining or recognizing one variety of a language as being purer or of intrinsically higher quality than other varieties... The perceived or actual decline identified by the purists may take the form of a change of vocabulary, syncretism of grammatical elements, or loanwords. (Wikipedia)

As Wikipedia explains, Linguistic purism has been often part of government politics:

It is often presented as a conservative measure, as a protection of a language from the encroachment of other languages. It is sometimes part of governmental language policy which is enforced in various ways.

Thoughtco has an interesting post called Definition and Examples of Linguistic Purism.

The actual name of the process is, as I have been prompted to state in a comment, is Language purification, which I found defined rather vaguely as:

maintaining linguistic consistency and standards of a language, usually through the development of prescriptive grammars and dictionaries. Science.direct

This article explains it better:

Purifying a language would mean removing all the foreign words or those derived from foreign languages, which would not only take a very long time, but would also leave the language with a far smaller vocabulary, perhaps compensated for with the invention of new words or the joining together of several words to describe a noun. (Agestrad)

  • the specific term is 'language purification'
    – thelawnet
    Commented Apr 7, 2023 at 9:35
  • @thelawnet If you have another answer that can be voted on and might be accepted, then write an answer.
    – Andrew Leach
    Commented Apr 7, 2023 at 9:36
  • @thelawnet Yes, right, should have stated that. I should not assume it is the obvious deduction from the information I've provided.
    – fev
    Commented Apr 7, 2023 at 9:37
  • 2
    As the quoted definition implies, language purification can stand for eliminating from the language anything that is thought to be undesirable, not specifically imports from other languages (unless that is indicated by the context).
    – jsw29
    Commented Apr 7, 2023 at 17:18

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