December 24, 2007

mo' juiced

I wouldn't dispute Geoff's assertion that claims about the expressive superiority of French words over their English synonyms are usually pure humbug. Still, there are times when a French word undeniably adds a soupçon of meaning that eludes its English equivalent. As in the banner headline that appeared over the lead story in the New York Times Week in Review in January, 1998, just after the Lewinsky story blew open: SCANDALE! Why do you think they felt they needed a final e on the word?, I asked my friend Rachel. Oh, she said, that's so you can tell it's about sex and not money.

Posted by Geoff Nunberg at December 24, 2007 04:24 PM