Fun With the German Response to a Sneeze

Do you guys in the US really say ‘Gesundheit’ ? It is so cute to see one of our words (particularly one unrelated to war or anything like that) put to good use in a foreign language.

As somebody pointed out, ‘gesundheit’ just means ‘health’, and I am sure that this is already an abbreviation of an older habit of saying ‘may you be in good health’ (which just takes too long to say).

There are some other interesting cultural differences: I had no idea that ‘achoo’ is the sound of sneezing in english. Germans usually sneeze by saying ‘hatschi’ – the first part is quite similar, but at the end the two versions diverge. I would be interested to learn about the french, spanish and italian versions, or even the east asian ones.

A nagging question of etiquette is, obviously, whether to say ‘gesundheit’/'bless you’ after the first sneeze, or if you rather wait for the end of the entire sequence (usually up to three in germany – are there differences too?) In some regions it is customary to say ‘gesundheit’ after the first sneeze, and if there is a 2nd or a 3rd one, you add ‘schönheit’ (=beauty) and ‘klugheit’ (=intelligence) later. Obviously, this is nothing official, more some kind of mocking between friends.


Gesundheit, Schonheit, Klugheit: Health, Beauty, Wisdom.

Folksonomies: culture language german

/health and fitness (0.352123)
/society/unrest and war (0.231847)
/health and fitness/disease/allergies (0.163469)

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US:Country (0.868761 (neutral:0.000000)), germany:Country (0.727458 (neutral:0.000000)), official:JobTitle (0.723532 (negative:-0.396333))

Germany (0.922469): website | dbpedia | ciaFactbook | freebase | opencyc | yago
German language (0.890609): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc | yago
Sneeze (0.876990): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Gesundheit (0.865950): dbpedia
Germanic peoples (0.854396): dbpedia | freebase | yago
French language (0.755399): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc | yago
Germans (0.651066): dbpedia | freebase | yago
French people (0.628456): website | dbpedia | freebase | yago

 What do you do when you hear â��achoo!â��? The etiquette of a sneeze
Electronic/World Wide Web>Message Posted to Online Forum/Discussion Group:  Porter, Sandra and Suicyte, (February 23, 2008), What do you do when you hear â��achoo!â��? The etiquette of a sneeze, Retrieved on 2014-01-17
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