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  • Alicia Lazzaroni Animali Domestici
  • Antonio Bernacchi Animali Domestici
Vol. 9 (2023), Encarte, Páginas 61-76
Recibido: May 19, 2023 Aceptado: May 19, 2023 Publicado: Jun 30, 2023
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In February 2016 an elementary school kid from the vicinity of Ferrara (Italy) submitted, jointly with his teacher, an application to the “Accademia della Crusca”, the oldest linguistics academy in the world, to propose including the new word “petaloso”, which literally means “petal-y”, in the Italian language.

The official reply from the academy, explains that «a new word does not enter the vocabulary when someone invents it, even if it is a “beautiful” and useful word. For it to enter a vocabulary, in fact, the new word must not be known and used only by those who invented it, but it’s necessary that many people use it and many people understand it.» And continues: «That's how it works: it's not the scholars, the ones who make dictionaries, who decide which new words are beautiful or ugly, useful or useless. When a new word is on everyone's (or many's) lips, then the scholar understands that that word has become a word like the others and puts it in the vocabulary.»

Such news had all the perfect ingredients to not pass unobserved in online media and, after being bounced around in a few newspaper websites, it quickly spiralled up, when the Italian prime minister retweeted the hashtag #petaloso.


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Lazzaroni, Alicia, y Antonio Bernacchi. 2023. «This Edge of the “Valley”». SOBRE 9 (junio):61-76.