Writings > Lexical Leavings


Many people—and some dictionaries—have noted that the word and concept 肩凝り are much more common in Japanese than the corresponding "stiff shoulders" in English. This is borne out by the Google hit counts:
肩凝り   about 32,300
肩こり   about 110,000
stiff shoulders   about 2,590
An opposite case is hypochondria, which is an everyday concept in English but not nearly as familiar in Japanese. Here are the Google counts:
hypochondria   about 33,500
hypochondriac   about 31,100
hypochondriacs   about 7,110
心気症   about 1,790
ヒポコンデリー   about 105
Whether the actual frequency of stiff shoulders and hypochondria is so different between Japan and English-speaking countries, however, is unclear.

(May 17, 2003)