British PM makes failed Twitter attempt at Italian

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David Cameron and his team appear to have been confused by the use of singular and plural in Italian. Photo: Guillaume Paumier/Flickr
09:16 CEST+02:00
British Prime Minister David Cameron on Monday made a linguistically challenged attempt to reach out to Italians, prompting one newspaper to ask whether he was using Google Translate.

The effort was part of a bid to publically invite health ministers from the G8 countries to a summit on dementia, with tweets also posted in English, French, German, Japanese, Russian.

The Italian version (below) may appear correct at first glance, but as Corriere della sera pointed out the prime minister has unknowingly suggested that Italy has more than one minister of health.

“It reads a bit like broken English (did they translate with Google?),” the newspaper says.

Italy in fact has just the one health minister - Beatrice Lorenzin - a member of Silvio Berlusconi’s People of Freedom (PdL) party who took up the post in April.

While only a slight error, Cameron’s tweets appear to confirm the UK’s reputation as the most linguistically inept European nation.

A recent EU report showed that out of 16 European education systems, pupils in England were the worst at learning a second language.

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For example just 9 percent of students in England reached an independent level of French, compared to 82 percent of students in Malta and Sweden who learnt English as their first foreign language.

The survey did not include the education systems of the other nations of the UK, or the Italian system.

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