November 20, 2007

secondo fiddle

Geoff is right to say that Umberto Eco's use of "according to me" is odd in English, but it's a natural mistake for a native speaker of Italian, in which secondo X can mean either "according to X" or "in X's opinion." I've been tripped up by this construction myself -- not in English, but in French, where I have heard myself using selon moi (which can only mean "according to me") by analogy to the Italian secondo me, thereby assuming an authoritative status that it would doubtless be more judicious to leave to others to invest me with.

Posted by Geoff Nunberg at November 20, 2007 08:20 PM