Les Intraduisibles: English-Spanish


At first sight, the Spanish "actitud" seems to be the exact counterpart to the English "attitude". But it is not. Valuation shifts slightly to the negative side. In academic discourse, the term "attitude" works in contradistinction to the concept of "behaviour". Behaviour is observable conduct, attitudes refer to the "black box" of inner subjectivity. In a way, "attitudes" are to political psychology what the "ego" is to psychoanalysis: an inner instance of control. In terms of valuation, you may have the right or wrong attitudes. Actitudes, by contrast, invariably carry an air of disapproval. They are not neutral phenomena, but objects of social criticism and exhortations to change. It is not much of an exaggeration to say that "actitudes" are always wrong.

Schedler Andreas 4/13/2002