November 25, 2005

Parli Berluschese?

American political discourse may have spawned Scalito, Fitzmas, and Miered, but it looks like Italy is way ahead of the U.S. in the neologizing game. The Telegraph reports on the publication of a new dictionary of Italian neologisms (2006 parole nuove by Valeria Della Valle and Giovanni Adamo), which includes dozens of coinages based on the names of political leaders. Not suprisingly, the largest number of neologisms have been derived from the name of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, who has dominated the country's political landscape since his election in 2001 (an unusually long ministerial tenure for Italy). According to Guido Bonsaver, fellow of Italian at Pembroke College, Oxford, "All these new words are very much the result of the spirit of resentment that has evolved around Berlusconi. It is a way of expressing anger or irony."

Here are the Berlusconi neologisms listed in the Telegraph article and an accompanying sidebar:

berluschese: the populist political language Berlusconi speaks
berluschista: a supporter of Berlusconi 
berlusconardo: someone who is in the close circle of Berlusconi
berlusconeide: relating to Berlusconi's "epic" political journey or career
berlusconite: a condition, illness or syndrome of someone who is excessively optimistic, who tends to distort fact and reality to paint a rosier picture, typical some say, of Berlusconi
berlusconizzante: seeking to behave, act like, or carry oneself like Berlusconi
berlusconizzare: to turn something into Berlusconi's property; or, to adopt the strategies of Berlusconi
berlusconizzarsi: to behave like Berlusconi; or, to succumb to the style of Berlusconi
berlusconizzato: "berlusconised," used to describe a convert to Berlusconi's ideas or an entrant to his circle
neoberlusconismo: Berlusconi's latest brand of political thought
postberlusconiano: that which comes after Berlusconi

A full list in Italian, including a number of neologisms based on the names of Berlusconi's colleagues and rivals, is provided by the newspaper Corriere Della Sera.

Posted by Benjamin Zimmer at November 25, 2005 01:19 PM