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Is there any difference between 汗をかく and 発汗する? Are there any subtle nuances between the two or is one more common than the other? I've checked WWWJDIC and I can't find any way to distinguish between the two.

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The Sino-Japanese 発汗{はっかん}する 'perspire' sounds more like a formal, technical term, like you might find in a medical context. It isn't particularly common in normal speech. Imagine saying this in English:

Man, I just ran five miles! I perspired so much!

Sounds pretty silly, right? The first sentence sounds like casual English, but then I use the Latinate perspire in my next sentence, and it seems really out of place. It sounds too formal or technical for casual speech, like something out of a medical textbook.

Something like this would be more natural:

Man, I just ran five miles! I really worked up a sweat!

Similarly, 発汗{はっかん} 'perspiration' just isn't the basic term for 'sweat' in Japanese. If you just want to talk about sweat in normal speech, the native Japanese 汗 'sweat' is much more common, and 汗をかく is a simple and common phrase meaning 'to sweat'.

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