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#133113 - 09/15/04 09:06 AM medical condition
wsieber Offline
old hand

Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 1026
Loc: Switzerland
There are at least three English words available for translating the German "Krankheit": disease, illness, sickness.
There is certainly a fair degree of overlap between the meanings of these three words. But I should be interested to know the dimensions of their divergence (severity?, subjective vs. objective?, popular vs. scientific?). What does the team think?


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#133114 - 09/15/04 10:21 AM Re: medical condition
jheem Offline
veteran

Registered: 01/06/04
Posts: 1474
Loc: California
But I should be interested to know the dimensions of their divergence (severity?, subjective vs. objective?, popular vs. scientific?).

Interesting question. Short of looking them up in a dictionary or googling for different uses of the words online, here's my subjective and personal observations. For me, disease seems a more neutral and medical term, while illness and sickness tie for less medical and more popular. This probably has more to do with the etymologies of the words. Sick and ill are current adjectives descrbing the patient's state, but though ease is a word, it's a noun and doesn't describe a state. Also, illness seems the least medical of the trio, because of it's older connection with evil (ill as in bad). You used a fourth term in your subject, condition, but there's also lesser words for diseases like ailment, affliction, indisposition, and malady. You can write a book about diseases and illnesses, but not as easily about sicknesses, but you may have a sickness unto death. There is sleeping sickness, but that may be more for the alliteration.

What are the differences between Krankheit, Erkrankung, and Leiden?


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#133115 - 09/17/04 01:25 AM Re: medical condition
wsieber Offline
old hand

Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 1026
Loc: Switzerland
What are the differences between Krankheit, Erkrankung, and Leiden?
"Krankheit" is by far the most general and most frequently used term, especially in the public realm. "Erkrankung" usually occurs with a specification referring to an organ/system which is malfunctioning. "Leiden" (literally "suffering") emphasizes the subjective aspect, and sounds somewhat dated.




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#133116 - 09/17/04 08:07 AM Re: medical condition
AnnaStrophic Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 6511
Loc: lower upstate New York
You know, Herr Weißbier, given some overlap and nuance, I think those distinctions also apply to English:

"Illness" is by far the most general and most frequently used term, especially in the public realm. "Disease" usually occurs with a specification referring to an organ/system which is malfunctioning. "Sickness" ... emphasizes the subjective aspect, and sounds somewhat dated.


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#133117 - 09/18/04 06:09 AM Re: medical condition
TEd Remington Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/17/00
Posts: 3467
Loc: Marion NC
Many many years ago I saw a cartoon or heard a joke about a little girl who, when asked to give the comparative forms of ill, gave the answer, "ill, sick, dead."

Sickness does not confine itself to physically ill, as we say, "There is a certain sickness in that society." Disease is not usually used to say that someone has a disease. It is more often used to describe a process: diseases of the brain, skin, etc. And process was the term used by the doctor with whom I discussed this many years ago.

I'm not sure how I fit illness in here. I tend to think of it as generic, "I'm suffering from an illness." Translation: I don't feel good and until we diagnose it I can't put a real name on it.

_________________________
TEd

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