The Italians have their woolly scarves and quilted coats out and are rubbing their necks, complaining of my favourite mystery Italian malady “la cervicale”.
“Soffro di cervicale (I suffer from cervicale),” they tell me, making it sound particularly serious.
Most people over the age of 30 seem to have the condition, but I am still at a loss as to what exactly it is and how to translate it.
I have looked it up in the dictionary and found “cervical” – an adjective referring to the cervical vertebrae, those little bones in the back of your neck – but as an ailment, there is simply no English translation. We do not have it!
The British also do not seem to have the sort of exceptional knowledge of their own anatomy which Italians have.
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I am hong kong Chinese and we also believe in this ‘hit by air’ , there is no English translation for this as this ailment doesn’t exist in the English speaking world. This is also the case for the term ‘face’ (socialogical concept)originally a Chinese meaning now used universally and can be loosely translated as dignity/prestige