How to translate “Rausch”?

September 21, 2007 at 1:21 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 19 Comments
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I watched a very interesting panel discussion about psychoactive substances yesterday on 3sat, one of the few channels untouched by the general dumbing down of television that has occurred over the past 15 years (the only actual ‘shows’ on that channel are political cabaret – nice).

The people on the panel of delta – a sociologist, an ethnobotanist and a biologist and addiction researcher – were pleasingly unbiased (less biased then I am – I’ve never experimented much with drugs as the little exposure that I had to them did not seem to do me too good; with the exception of alcohol, of course, which is the one drug that middle-Europeans more or less know to handle and have integrated well into their rituals – from Bierfest to Holy Communion).

And one comment of the Ethnobotanist (a curious guy with long gray hair and tie-dye t-shirt) lingered on: that there is no equivalent expression of the German ‘Rausch’ (m.) in English. In technical terms, intoxication would be the equivalent, yet intoxication is much closer to poisoning than Rausch is to Vergiftung (=poisoning). And a high is neither the same – Rausch is much closer linked to alcohol than to any other drug. And a mere ‘drunkenness’ does not express the drive that is associated with a Rausch.

There is a bar and discotheque in Cologne (where I studied) called Das Ding (The Thing), and it used to advertise its experience using the slogan: “Der gute Rausch” (the good intoxication). It doesn’t use that slogan anymore, yet people still go there for only one reason: getting extremely drunk and inhibited in order to lose one’s inhibitions . I went there once, it was extremely packed and it was really awkward, as you were constantly chatted up by some drunk guy (that was before ‘Komasaufen‘, ‘coma boozing’, akin to binge drinking, became a sport). The only good thing about it was that only students were allowed to enter – this kept and keeps pimps and other folk who want to take advantages of hordes of drunk young women/people outside.

I just checked their website: Yes, they still operate, and they still have the same agenda: two days a week they serve free beer from 21-23h, two other days you can buy Whiskey Coke for 1 Euro, and the fifth day a bottle of champagne costs 4 Euros, plus 50c for each (empty) glass.

Anyhow: Anbody knowing a good translation for Rausch – let me know!

These are’s suggestions:

inebriation Rausch {m}
intoxication Rausch {m}
drunkenness Rausch {m} [Alkoholrausch]
jag [sl.] Rausch {m} [Alkohol-, Drogenrausch]
delirious state Rausch {m} [deliranter Zustand]
high [coll.] Rausch {m} [Drogenrausch]

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