Anglicisms in Italian, which English words are used the most in Italy?

anglicismi in italiano

Anglicisms in Italian, which English words are used the most in Italy?

In the last few decades, the Italian language has evolved and been enriched by many English words. In linguistics, foreign terms used in another language are called loanwords and anglicisms refer specifically to words or expressions borrowed from English and integrated into another language. In Italy, anglicisms have taken on an important role in today’s society, especially in the workplace as well as by younger generations.

Advantages and disadvantages of using English words in Italian

There is a large number of English origin words that have been adopted by the Italian language and this trend seems to be on the rise. However, some Italian language scholars criticise this phenomenon, defining it as irrational behaviour which glorifies the anglophone world.

But, is it really a popular practice which could irreversibly compromise the Italian language? Or is it simply a natural process of language evolution?

My opinion leans more towards the second option. The global diffusion of English as the common language of technology, politics and economics, together with the power of the media and the Internet, have noticeably increased the impact of this phenomenon, bringing about the inevitable mass usage of English words.

On the other hand, it is also true that we could avoid the use of anglicisms when there are viable alternatives in Italian to identify concepts that are often referred to with the unnecessary use of English words, like “riunione” instead of “briefing”, “incontro” instead of “meeting”, “direzione” instead of “management”, “risorse umane” instead of “HR” and many more, especially in the workplace.

Rules for using English words in Italian

When you want to (or if you have to) use anglicisms in Italian, there are two simple rules to follow.

The first states that when you use English words in Italian, they lose their final -s for plurals: so, “dividetevi in due squadre” becomes “dividetevi in due team” not due teams.

The second rule refers to English words which enter the Italian language directly in their plural form (e.g. jeans), these words keep the -s even in the singular form. So, “un paio di pantaloni” becomes “un paio di jeans” not “un paio di jean”.

Which are the most frequently used anglicisms in Italian?

As you will be aware, one of the environments where most anglicisms are used in Italian is the workplace. 

Let’s have a look at a few examples:

  • Audience = Pubblico;
  • Background = esperienza passata;
  • Benefit = Vantaggio;
  • Best Practice = Buona prassi;
  • Brand = Marchio;
  • Check = Controllo;
  • Competitor = Concorrente;
  • Concept = Idea;
  • Deadline = Scadenza;
  • Feedback=Riscontro;
  • Full-time = Tempo pieno;
  • HR = Risorse Umane;
  • Network = Rete di contatti;
  • Partnership = Collaborazione;
  • Report = Resoconto;
  • Staff = Personale;
  • Team = Squadra;
  • Workshop = Laboratorio.

Which English words are used most by Italian youngsters?

The group who are most likely to use anglicisms in Italian are without a doubt, young people. Thanks to globalisation, to the power of social media, films and TV series, this group of individuals are able to use many English words in a natural way. Let’s look at some of the most popular:

  • Band = Gruppo musicale;
  • Cash = Soldi;
  • Comfort = Comodità;
  • Display = Schermo;
  • Fake = Falso;
  • Gossip = Pettegolezzo;
  • Lifestyle = Stile di vita;
  • Location = Luogo;
  • Mood = Umore;
  • Random = Casuale,
  • Selfie = Autoscatto;
  • Show = Spettacolo;
  • Sneaker = Scarpe da ginnastica;
  • Weekend = Fine settimana.

What’s your opinion on the use of anglicisms in Italian? Do you use them or do you think that it’s wrong because they devalue the Italian language? Get in touch if you would like more information on this subject or if you need any other tips relating to language learning!