I was in Paris recently for a meeting about motives or motifs, and since I'm too jet lagged for real work let me ask the following somewhat frivolous question. The word "motif" is usually translated as "motive" in English. However, I wonder if this is really the best choice. "Motive" has, for me, a primarily psychological meaning, whereas "motif" -- which is a perfectly good English word -- means pattern or theme. I guess my question is which word better captures the intended meaning?
Incidentally, it appears that this usage of "motive" goes back to Grothendieck himself, cf."Standard conjectures on algebraic cycles". So perhaps, one should allow him to have the last word and not question his motives, which have wonderful if unintended consequences.