Date: Tue, 28 Mar 1995 14:50:44 -0500 From: Heilan Yvette Grimes Subject: Re: Gesundheit! >Perhaps someone can explain for me this puzzle about Cincinnatians...when we >moved here years ago, I caught on to one of the local idiomatic expressions, >"Please?" for whenever a listener wished to have some- >thing repeated. I learned this term, which I had not heard where I grew up, >comes from the German way of speaking; Germans say, "Bitte?" in the same >situations. > >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? > >leo_horishny[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE] >Rowrbazzle! I grew up in Hamilton! (they officially added the punctuation a few years ago--as they claim the only town in the world with a punctuation mark as part of its name), near Cincinnati (both towns founded by by several greats back grandfather John Cleves Symmes and his partner Jonathan Dayton). You are correct about the please/bitte connection. It came about from the influence of the Over the Rhine area of Cincinnati. I was unaware about using please in this manner not being universal. So, when I first moved to New England I had gone to dinner with friends and had not heard the waitress and said, "Please," so that she would know to repeat what she had said. But, she didn't know that this is what it meant. Instead she said, "Okay, please our special orders are....." Gesundheit was used extensively when I grew up in that area (I have asthma and heard it a lot). By the way, did you ever read the book Vas You Ever in Zinzinnati? It gives a lot of interesting information about the early German influence on Cincinnati (at one point known as the pork capital of the world). Also, did you know that the first shopping mall was in Cincinnati? Trollope's (the English writer) mother deserted her family for a time (Trollope was never the same after this) and moved on her own to Cincinnati and invented the shopping mall. She then returned to England to hearth and home. But the damage was already done (to little Trollope and society in general). And, if you are in Cincinnati, you can visit the house where Harriet Beecher Stowe actually wrote Uncle Tom's Cabin. --Yvette