The Italian language has both feminine and masculine forms for nouns, with the masculine form often taking precedence in plural contexts, just like other Latin-based languages. But recently, masculine prevalence has come into question, due to growing national debates about gender issues and political correctness.

The highest appeals body in Italy, the Corte di Cassazione, has taken up the charge to get to the bottom of the matter. In order to do so, it asked the Accademia della Crusca, the institution responsible for safeguarding the Italian language, to provide an official opinion on the use of gender-neutral language in the country’s court system.

The crux of the argument is this… Some critics are opposed the ongoing expression of a dominant patriarchy in the Italian language in the 21st century. To this end, they’re advocating for the introduction of gender-neutral noun endings, particularly for the LGBTQ+ community and those identifying as non-binary.

But it’s a big no from the Accademia della Crusca.

Why? Because they argue it would be well-intentioned but only supported by minority groups. Additionally, they concluded the legal language isn’t a befitting arena for linguistic innovations, while also maintaining that the Italian masculine plural form remains the most effective means of collectively representing all genders and orientations.

On a more positive note, they acknowledged the increasing use of the feminine form for professional titles, signalling a recognition of the broader trend for gender inclusivity.

What does this mean for the Italian language?

The decision has significant implications for the Italian language and the court system. In short, it reaffirms the traditional use of masculine forms in legal documents, and rejects the adoption of gender-neutral terms or symbols.

As a result, it’s perceived as too conservative by proponents of gender inclusivity, who argue for a more progressive and inclusive language that reflects and respects diverse gender identities.

The debate looks set to rage on between those advocating for change in the Italian language, and those seeking to preserve linguistic traditions and norms.

Read the full article by Athina Kontos in Language Magazine.


At La Academia, we’ll be watching this space with interest as the situation unfolds. For more details on Italian classes and Italian tuition, get in touch online, or give us a call on 0161 491 1444.