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Words Don’t Come Easy: “Cerchiobottista”

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Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has long advocated a dramatic break from the country’s political past. Such straightforwardness, however, does not suit most politicians – especially the cerchiobottisti, who make much ado but do not do much.

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Artwork: Dominik Herrmann

For years, the members of Italy’s Accademia della Crusca – the high protectors of the Italian language – have been complaining about its barbarization, or l’imbarbarimento. If we overlook for a moment that the subjunctive is already on the endangered species list, it is the riot of anglicisms that really gets to the Cruscans. Politicians and members of the media toss them around willy-nilly. They speak, for example, of the welfare state and not the stato sociale, and the labor market reform passed mid-year was called the “Jobs Act” rather than the straightforward riforma del lavoro, while the head of government is now the Prime Minister, long since divorced from the tired title of Presidente del Consiglio. Whether elderly citizens can always understand what’s being discussed appears of secondary concern to Italy’s politicians. …

Read the complete article in the Berlin Policy Journal App – January/February 2016 issue.

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