Saturday, 25 December 2010

The French (don't) have a word for it

Jeremy Paxman: "A truly comparable word for 'privacy' simply does not exist in French or Italian, yet in England it is one of the country's informing principles."

1. Guess what: French is not lacking a word for 'privacy'; in fact there are two: l'intimité and le privé.

2. Even if there wasn't a close match in French for our word 'privacy', that wouldn't mean that the concept of privacy was lacking. Italians sometimes prefer to use the English word, speaking, for example, of "la mia privacy", but that says more about how they see us than about their own habits.