Italy's language watchdog says 'no' to gender-neutral symbols


FILE PHOTO: A view of the Italy's top appeals court on the day judges are expected to rule on Italian anarchist Alfredo Cospito appeal against his "41 bis" isolation regime in Rome, Italy, February 24, 2023. REUTERS/Yara Nardi

ROME (Reuters) - Italy's courts should stick to tradition and avoid the novelty of gender-neutral symbols in official documents, according to the institution that acts as the guardian of the Italian language.

The Accademia della Crusca was asked to weigh in on the matter by the equal opportunities committee of the Corte di Cassazione, Italy's top appeals body, illustrating the national debate over gender issues and political correctness.

In Italian, as in other Latin-based tongues, nouns can take a feminine or masculine form, but the plural masculine form tends to take precedence. For example, the masculine form "tutti" is routinely used for "everyone", rather than the feminine "tutte".

Some see this as an expression of male dominance and support the introduction of gender-neutral noun endings, such as asterisks or the so-called "schwa", a symbol that looks like an inverted "e".

For example, an email or a letter to a man or a woman would no longer start with "caro" or "cara" (dear), but with the gender neutral "car*", which would also replace the plural "cari".

But the Accademia della Crusca, in its response to the Cassazione, rejected these changes for legal documents, saying they would be artificial and supported only by minority groups, "however well-intentioned."

"Legal language is not the right place for minoritarian innovative experimentations," the Accademia said in a six-page opinion that Reuters reviewed on Monday, after the Corriere della Sera newspaper first reported on it.

The Accademia said the Italian masculine plural form remains "the best instrument" to collectively represent "all genders and orientations", but also backed the wider use of the feminine form of professional titles.

In October, Italy's first woman prime minister, right-wing leader Giorgia Meloni, sparked controversy after saying the preferred her title of "Presidente del Consiglio" to be preceded by the masculine article "il", rather than the feminine "la".

(Reporting by Alvise Armellini; Editing by Keith Weir)

Subscribe now to our Premium Plan for an ad-free and unlimited reading experience!
   

Next In World

Ukraine says Russian missiles kill two children in Kyiv
UK bank says Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk among most used images to scam
EU, US to ready voluntary AI code of conduct
North Korea promises another attempt at spy satellite launch
Brazil's Lula cuts losses after setbacks on environment and Indigenous front
U.S. stocks close lower as debt ceiling vote looms
Brazil's top court sentences ex-President Collor to prison for corruption
U.S. dollar gains on strong U.S. job openings data, weaker German inflation
Oil prices extend losses on concerns over demand
Eastern Canada struggles to bring wildfires under control

Others Also Read