Last night I went to see my local football team Celtic play Inter Milan of Italy. A slightly disappointing 3-3 draw, but one of the things I was most looking forward before the game was meeting up with some friends and chaperoning a group of Italians who are friends of my cousin Paolo in Italy and who came over for the game.
As I made arrangements to meet up with the Italians, one thing struck me - the level of fluency in English of the current generation of Italians, specifically up to the age of 40. Having lived in Italy for several years when I was younger, fluency in English was never widespread..in fact I would say it was minimal. My sense however is that with English becoming the main global language, Italy has not been immune to its linguistic colonisation. In fact putting aside the heavy accent, which is still a feature of most Italian’s attempts at speaking English, the standards from a grammatical, linguistic and vocabulary point of view are up there with the Dutch/Danish/Germans…the nationalities which most would say were most fluent in English.
So on one hand I am delighted by this development as it feels like Italians can participate in the English speaking world far more fully and seriously than in the past – on the other hand a bit of me feels sad..the globalising effects of the English language can also manifest themselves in a global culture which feels increasingly homogenous from one country to the next..and for a country so rich in culture as Italy is this seems an unnecessary but inevitable part of the Anglicisation of the world!
Post by Andy Piacentini