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One piece of psychology that I will remember for the rest of my life is the term Schadenfreude, a German word that means to be happy in the face of someone else's misery. My roommate, who took psych 1001 last semester talked about it all the time, but he didn't only talk about what it meant, he talked about in regards to a very dear friend of ours. This friend, we'll call him Big Bad, always loved to laugh at the misfortunes of a few specific friends of ours, it was really funny to see Big Bad get excited about these things. However Big Bad tragically passed away this past March, and I will never forget the hilariously sinister way he exemplified the word, Schadenfreude, throughout his life.


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It's amazing how there are certain words in different languages that can't be directly translated. I bet even though if we use schadenfreude as to be happy in the face of someone's misery it would still not mean the same thing. It really goes into the meaning of "Lost in translation". The text book really goes into how different cultures view different aspects of psychology which gives a nice perspective than just Western psychology. I think it is interesting how east Asian and European countries differ. I wonder if their psychology classes teach of English words that don't translate directly!

I find it awesome that this is the one thing you will remember 5 years down the road! I agree, however, that this word may be like many others from other languages that do not directly translate like it should. It's weird to me that one word can mean something that turns into a complete phrase in German.

I think we all have a little Big Bad in us, really. I think it's human nature, every once in a while you need someone to trip on their face- it makes you feel better (sorry, I sound like a bad person). But it's the truth. I know whenever I would be a little to mean to my little brother when we were little the only thing I could do to make it better was do something stupid like hit myself or pretend to trip. Siblings are a really good example of this actually... haha.

ahhh German. There is another German word that I will always remember, albeit it won't be Schadenfreude! It actually is Gestalt. Not in the sense of psychology, but in the artistic sense. I was helping an artist create a large stained glass window for my high school last year and when we stepped back to look at the finished product as a whole he mentioned the word to me. He said it refers to something having a "wholeness" about it. If a piece of art just seemed right, it would have gestalt about it. Kind of hard to explain the concept but it will always stick with me, just like schadenfreude for you.

This is another example of words can connect to other words experiences to help with long term memory.

It is also an example of how language shapes our thought processes. Does the fact that the German language have this particular word tell us anything about a German person's though process?

I like the fact you dedicated the blog to him, that's very cool how that word reminds you of him. But I can say that I have some Big Bad in me. As humans, we compare ourselves to the people surrounding us and if we see that we are doing better then someone else, we are going to feel good. It's a immature concept but we like to feel that we are better then someone else, especially if we don't like the person, or your competing with the other person. And I like the word too, German rocks!

I would also have to agree that its an example of our language causes our thought process, and I being to Germany before I do think that they like to laugh at other people's misery in mistakes, or at least at foreigners.

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This page contains a single entry by conlo047 published on May 1, 2012 1:51 PM.

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