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Language Killers: Use and Abuse of English in Italy

Posted by Maurizio Morselli on October 16, 2012 at 3:45 AM Comments comments (0)

Language Killers

:/by Maurizio Morselli


We’re destroying our environment; our basic constitutional and human rights are eroding away faster than our beachfronts and we’re seeing more wars and civil conflicts than ever. Now we’re even killing existing languages and infecting their robust linguistic DNA; I admit that language diversity and creative usage of amusing terminology can be cute or even quaintly elegant…but an overuse of foreign terms in any language when a corresponding one exists in that language, well, it’s just not nice. Sure we can dine “al fresco” in Manhattan and meet a person who is rather “simpatico” in Trafalgar Square and sometimes even refer to something as a “double entendre”; and there’s nothing wrong in shouting: “bravissimo!” to an opera “mezzo soprano”(even though it’s a woman…) but sometimes it’s just too pretentiously much; I am currently teaching business English and facilitating leadership development classes in Europe as I attempt to write a book or two on Human Resources (“molto multitasking…”): this new and happy chapter of my professional life has also taken me to the top of an admittedly biased personal balcony where I can observe the use and misuse of English terminology in Italy; “it’s linguistic fusion!” some say…I say: it’s linguistic “CONfusion” ; it seems to me that people(journalists/politicians/businesspeople/

teachers believe that their listener/reader/student will be impressed by their substitution of an Italian term with an English one. It seems to me that this exercise in linguistic betrayal achieves only amusing examples of unimpressive communication.

Well …are you ready? Below are some examples I have personally heard/read that should illustrate my point. Oh, what is my point? Yes, it is simply what I stated earlier: when tempted to use a foreign term/expression, my suggestion to all is to use your own language, not another one, when you know there’s a corresponding term and/or expression in your language. For instance, I know very well that there are equally descriptive terms/expression for the following

Italian gems of linguistic confusion:


Abbiamo fatto la spending review

• Considereremo nel prossimo budget(in Italy pronounced “Baggett”)

• La Powerpoint non era male ma lo speaker era soft e poi non ha centrato bene il target

• Maurizio, la tua cravatta e’ molto fashion

• Abbiamo erogato un corso sulla leadership per i top manager

• Il corso di teambuilding e’ svolto da un trainer del corporate office

• Non vedo la ROI nel report

• Useremo la balanced scorecard come foundation per il nostro Performance Review Process

• Forse l’approccio MBO (Management By Objectives) sarebbe un buon target

• Abbiamo fatto uno scan del mercato

• L’ufficio che si occupa della governance

• Gradirei tuo feedback

• Abbiamo incluso il key performance index

• Chi gestira’ il Marketing ?

• Credo che sia un VIP(Very Important or…Very Italian? I couldn’t resist)

• More to follow…

In essence, simple points to remember:


1. Communicate to express, not impress

2. Don’t use complex or foreign terminology when a simpler one in your own language will aptly render the same message or idea

3. But…Always eat your pasta “al dente”


BUSINESS ENGLISH: British or American(USA)?

Posted by Maurizio Morselli on February 26, 2011 at 4:39 AM Comments comments (1)

Hi, everybody! This is Mister Morris, your language and culture guide. How are you doing today? Are you enjoying the day? I hope so. I am having a great time teaching English to friends and colleagues.

Many people ask me: Mister Morris, what's the best way to speak English? Is it with an American accent or a British accent? I think this is a very interesting question, indeed. But my answer to this question is quite simple:

use the English that you feel the most comfortable with!

You don't have to sound like an American when you're speaking, you don't have to sound like a British person when you're speaking, as long as you feel comfortable with the way you use English, that's the most important thing of all.

The purpose of language should be to express, not impress.

Naturally, it's important the other person understands what you're saying, so don't worry too much about sounding like somebody else. Don't try to copy somebody else's way of speaking. Certainly you can learn from others, and then adapt it to your own style

What you have to do is develop your own way of using English. Don't forget, English is an emotional language, it's a personal language, it's a language that you use to express the way you feel, so, please don't worry about sounding like somebody else.

Use English as you´d use your own language, in your own way to express the way you feel. So, you don't have to sound like Mistermorris, you don't have to sound like some American, you don't have to sound like anybody.

What you have to sound like is: you!



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