Month: May 2014

Home in a Foreign Country: Can we belong somewhere our homes are not?

The French have a word untranslatable into English – dépaysement – many English translation sources cite it as the feeling you get when you’re not in your own country. Others define it as a change of scenery, a change of feeling, the sense of being away from your place of origin. If you deconstruct the word down to its roots, “de-” is a Latin prefix for negation or reversal, “pays” is French for country, while the Latin suffix “-ment” signifies a state or condition specified by the first root. Ultimately, while we have no word for this feeling in English, we can, perhaps, understand the sentiment behind it.