My Poor Italian Teacher Called in Sick This Week

As an adult learner of a new language and someone who as a young person was encouraged to both think critically and to make a difference in the world, I find that I have constructive criticism on the structure and consistency of the language but am unclear to whom I should direct my feedback.

Dear Sgrs. Renzi, Matarella, Armani, Dolce and Gabbana,

As Italian makers of rules and taste, I ask for your help in addressing areas of improvement in the Italian language. It has come to my attention that there are currently three definite articles in use in Italian that mean exactly the same thing: il, lo, and l’. While I understand that the intention was to ensure that the sonorous beauty of the Italian language not be harmed by awkward combinations of il + a noun beginning with z or s plus a consonant, the addition of the letter g when pluralized results in the word ‘gli’. Each of you has shown your social grace through appointment or election to political office and/or getting the world to wear blue suits this summer and can surely can be trusted to pronounce the soft ‘g’ in ‘gli’, but one must think of the treatment of the word ‘gli’ by the 40+million foreign visitors coming to Italy each year. I hate that the rich art, wonderful food, and spectacular scenery in Italy is marred by 40,000,000 people¬†using a hard ‘g’, combining ‘l’ and ‘z’ unappealingly, or abandoning the article altogether and just pointing and grunting.

I suggest immediate discontinuation of the less-oft-used versions of the masculine definite article. Surely there is a museum in Florence that can house lo, l’, and gli. ‘Il’ will remain in use for all situations requiring the singular, although come to think of it why not just go ahead and change that to ‘el’. I speak Spanish and that would make things a lot easier for me.

I await your reply,

Betsy Rosenbaum

Concerned Citizen (except that my official registration is taking a reeeeaaalllyyy long time so officially I still live in Germany, okay?) 


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