Mon May 5 21:01:44 UTC 1997

No one has mentioned the close English equivalent of 'sadism'. Though the
technical sense of the term may not be a perfect match, the word is often
used informally (esp. its adj. form 'sadistic') when people are clearly
enjoying someone else's troubles, including occasions when those troubles
are perceived as deserved in some way. This was the word I usually
reached for as a sensible translation in the times that I had a lot to do
with German (using it daily for about six years of my life, two of them
in Germany). It's a somewhat jocular application of the term 'sadistic',
but I think it's fairly common. Maybe other NSs of English can chime in
and (dis)confirm.

I disagree with Suzette Haden-Elgin's translation of 'bittersweet'. From
my fluent foreign-speaker intuitions, this word is not even close to the
German 'Schadenfreude'. You feel bittersweet when _your own_ pleasure is
mixed with pain. That's what I've always understood, anyway.

Johanna Rubba   Assistant Professor, Linguistics              ~
English Department, California Polytechnic State University   ~
San Luis Obispo, CA 93407                                     ~
Tel. (805)-756-2184  E-mail: jrubba at      ~

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