And my favorite word in the chapter is dietrologia , which Jones explains as follows:. As I began studying postwar Italian history, it became obvious that surrounding any crime or political event, there are always confusion, suspicion, and "the bacillus of secrecy. It means literally "behindology," or the attempt to trump even the most fanciful and contorted conspiracy theory. Dietrologia is the "critical analysis of events in an effort to detect, behind the apparent causes, true and hidden designs. Later in the book, Jones quotes Adriano Sofri, imprisoned for a political murder he claims not to have committed: " Dietrologia The mode of reasoning in dietrologia is abduction : inference to the best explanation.
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The idea is that many Italians believe that the surface or official explanation for something can rarely be the real one. There's always something behind, or dietro , that surface. It's a great word. But it was offered to me as a pop-Whorfian example for how different languages incline speakers differently. I couldn't quite agree; surely the Italians coined dietrologia because of the nature of their society.
I doubt the existence of dietrologia as a word led to this feature of the culture. Indeed, my conversation partner spot-calqued the word into English—as "behindology"—proving that the old "can't be translated" trope is usually wrong.
Indeed, in the political historian Richard Hofstadter published " The Paranoid Style in American Politics ", about a very similar phenomenon stateside. I hereby nominate "behindology" as a useful loan-translation for the worldviews of Glenn Beck and the other purveyors of dietrologia all'americana. Language Johnson. Reuse this content The Trust Project. Home news Johnson becomes a column once again Johnson. Teenage hyperpolyglot Shrug like a Frenchman and frown like a Russian Johnson.
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"dietrologia" in English