Date: Mon, 27 Mar 1995 20:02:30 EST
From: Terry Lynn Irons t.irons[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]MSUACAD.MOREHEAD-ST.EDU
Subject: Re: Gesundheit!
Leo Horishny writes,
Perhaps someone can explain for me this puzzle about Cincinnatians...
Now, I've long wondered if this is so, why is it that they do NOT use the
term, "Gesundheit"? I can't remember hearing this term since moving to
Cincinnati just, "God Bless You" or "Bless You". I do remember hearing it,
from time to time growing up in the West. Nothing as frequent as an,
either/or occurence, but often enough to be aware that these were two equally
appropriate forms of expressing concern for another's soul possibly flying out
of their mouth.
Has anyone come across any reason or research into this blatant disregard for
the Teutonic concern for the souls of others?
I grew up in southern Ohio, and if I had stayed there instead of moving
to Missouri and then Georgia before relocating sensibly to north-eastern
Kentucky (Rowan Cty--guess how that should be appropriately pronounced!),
I would be a bona-fide 7th or 8th generation native speaker of the Ohio
Valley dialect (my mom and dad are both). Anyway, credentials out of the
way (but I continue to find my family a wealth of dialect information,
access to which is invaluable), my maternal grandfather, who was born in
1890, always used to respond to a sneeze by others with the phrase
"Gesundheit." He also used to sneeze in a manner that sounded something
like "Ashhellik" and I've wondered what that might mean. The background
of my family, however, I should point out, in not german, but truly
english, with a touch of mayhaps scots and irish, dating to migration
from the 1670's. They moved to Ohio in 1804 from NJ. I suspect that
my grandfather picked up the term from the people he worked with.
I grew up hearing and using the term "gesundheit" to respond to
a sneeze. I would suggest that if you no longer hear the term
in southern Ohio, that fact is indicative of yet another change
indicative of dialect loss and obselescence (sp?), a topic preposed
for this year's ADS meeting by Walt.
Terry Lynn Irons t.irons[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]msuacad.morehead-st.edu
Voice Mail: (606) 783-5164
Snail Mail: UPO 604 Morehead, KY 40351