Politics and policy

In italiano diciamo politica, in inglese ci sono due termini differenti: politics (politica in generale) e policy (la linea politica personale o di gruppo su determinati argomenti). Altra curiosità linguistica: politics è tecnicamente un plurale (c’è la “s”) ma si comporta come un singolare… LANGUAGE LEVEL B2 (UPPER INTERMEDIATE)

Mark Worden (Standard British accent)

They say there are more words in the English language than the Italian language and in the case of the word politics or politica in Italian, this is true.For example, in Italian when you talk about politics you say politica, but in English we use the word politics, but we also use another word, which is policy, and that is an individual piece of political philosophy, or an attitude (1). For example: “Our policy in the Middle East is not to send arms to either side” or “Our policy towards the economy is to invest in the public sector.” In Italian you would use the word politica but in English it’s policy, and you also use the word politics for politics in general, which is what we also use in English: politics. And the curious thing about the word politics is that even though it is technically a plural because there’s an “s” on the end, the English always refer to it in the singular, so “Politics is interesting,” “I like politics because it gives me the chance to get involved etc. etc.” Now, the word policy, to complicate things further (2), also has a  double meaning because you can talk about your policy in politics, your attitude or your position on a certain question, but we also use the word policy in the world of insurance (3), which is what the Italians call polizza. So,  example, if you… for example, if you take out an insurance policy, that is a polizza. So there are the words politics, policy and that’s about it!


1    attitude: atteggiamento
2    further: ulteriormente
3    insurance: assicurazioni

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