Tuesday, September 8, 2009

No word for...

No word for addiction

One reason for the lack of a precise equivalent of "addiction" (passable translations exist -- зависимость, пристрастие, злоупотребление, ...) is that Russian has a device for creating specific addiction-related terms using a "ман" suffix (from "mania"?): наркоман/наркомания, кокаиноман/кокаиномания, токсикоман/токсикомания, etc. -- all meaning addictions to specific substances. A notable exception is alcohol addiction, having a special -- borrowed -- word for it, of course: алкоголик/алкоголизм. It might be that using specific, rather than general, terms for addicts and addictions is somehow a prevalent pattern.

I vaguely remember having been taught that French speakers somehow prefer large time measures (e.g. they would rather say "demi-journée" than "6 heures")... Could it be the same kind of prevalence?

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