God Bless You

In UK the phrase is not “God bless you!”, but "Bless you!"I have never been a subscriber to the plague theory. When I was younger I searched out what was said in other languages. I am afraid I can’t recall most of them now, but I was struck how many of them were basically onomatopoeic. I think the fact that the sneeze sounds like the phrase is the reason it is used. I suspect that like so many other sayings and traditions, a plausible explanation has been dreamt up later, sometimes centuries later, by an “expert” with no evidence whatsoever, but just his reputation as an “expert” to carry his argument.

Welcome to the SDMB. A link to the Staff Report is appreciated. Providing one can be as simple as pasting the URL into your post, making sure to leave a space on either side of it. http://www.straightdope.com/mailbag/mgesundheit.html

First off, robh, the expression is often shortened to “Bless you” in the States, as well.

Your observation about the onomotopoeticism is an interesting one. That may indeed have contributed to the tradition continuing, but there is little doubt about the origin.

When you did your language search, did you find expressions that are used in Japan? in China? in Native American languages? I bet not, I bet that the expressions are all European. And the origin is as cited by Songbird in the Staff Report.

If you want to dispute what the experts say, you need some rationale or counter-experts, rather than just your say so. Speculation is often amusing or provocative, but we’re after the Straight Dope here, and if you’ve got some proof beyond your suspicion, we’d all be glad to be set aright.

Welcome to the Straight Dope Message Boards.

[Edited by C K Dexter Haven on 10-01-2001 at 05:23 PM]