Apparently, more and more Italians are making use of Itanglese, a linguistic phenomenon which sees English words being used as a part of the Italian language. This anomaly has increased by more than 773% in the last 8 years and has been adopted mostly by professionals. All this was revealed by the association Federlingue, who analysed a group of people aged between 25 and 50, and in 84% of cases Itanglese was used both in the spoken and written Italian language.

 Thing is, we’re not talking about accepted words like apartheid, bookmaker, jeep, hobby, taxi, sport, film, bar, cocktail, poker and tennis which have been in use for years and are widely accepted as there just isn’t a corresponding Italian word.

 Some words actually have a perfectly acceptable Italian equivalent but most people prefer to borrow the English word e.g. weekend, directory, e-mail, enter, floppy disk, hard disk, online, network, password, software, meeting, manager, display, cast, coupon, gay.

Certain English verbs have simply been adapted to suit Italian grammar: to click has become cliccare, to format you say formattare and there is even digitare for to type. The one that really gets me is chattare, to chat!

All this sounds amazing, Italians finally moving out of their comfort zones, using all these English words in their everyday vocabulary and actually speaking more English. The concept is great. Just a couple of problems though. If I pronounce the English words the way I usually would, no one understands me (but not because of my SA accent, it would apply to a British or American one as well) so I am forced to speak English with an Italian accent making me sound like a moll from a corny Mafia movie.  So I have resigned myself to the fact that although I speak fluent English, fluent Italian as well as this new-fangled language called Itanglese, I am still not understood.

 And for the most part I don’t understand the Italian pronunciation of English words and so have to ask how they’re spelt in order to fathom what they are trying to say to me. The whole thing seems a little pointless, doesn’t it?


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Born and raised in South Africa, Manuela worked in public relations & marketing before moving into the publishing industry where she made her career. At the infamous Radium Beer Hall in Orange Grove, she met, and later married, an Italo-Natalian electronic engineer. They moved to the Netherlands and produced two perfect little people Katia & Max before moving to the scenic region of Friuli in the north-eastern corner of Italy, the place of origin of their respective parents. She does freelance work to keep the grey matter active and is currently working on her approach to the upcoming half-century milestone whilst raising her two pre-pubescent children, her biggest challenge to date.