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Topic: Polite?  (Read 8586 times)

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Re: Polite?
« Reply #15 on: August 29, 2002, 01:41:20 PM »
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Brits are less religious than Americans -in general- so "Bless you" is a bit defunct.  Some people have taken to using the German "Gesundheit", but some are still just awkwardly silent as they don't want to refer to religion but don't have an alternative.


I have to say that I don't think this is a religious thing.  I think it's just a custom in the states to say it, and you'd be considered wildly impolite not too.  While here it's not a custom-Americans certainly are more hung up on manners-don't know if that's a good or bad thing, just a fact.  I could count on one hand the number of times someone's said bless you here, but 'bless' or 'bless her' is used quite a bit when talking about children.  I have never,ever,ever heard anyone say 'Gezundheit' in the 13 years that I've lived in England.  
« Last Edit: August 29, 2002, 01:42:11 PM by 12yearsandcounting »


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Re: Polite?
« Reply #16 on: August 30, 2002, 07:55:57 AM »
gesundheit means "good health" and yes I did!

And yes, Ring-a-ring-o-roses is alleged to be about the plague


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Re: Polite?
« Reply #17 on: August 30, 2002, 08:48:04 AM »
As a child, my maternal Grandmother's side of the family (German extraction) always said "Gezundheit" when I sneezed, so that is what I learned to say in response to hearing someone sneeze.

My husband's family (Yorkshire) ALWAYS says "Bless you" when someone they know personally sneezes, but doesn't generally do so otherwise.

I worked in an open plan office in London while I lived in the UK and always heard 3 or more people say "Bless you" when anyone in the area sneezed, plus my "Gezundheit".

Perhaps is just depends on whether and or how the person was trained as a child, regardless of being British or American?


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Re: Polite?
« Reply #18 on: August 30, 2002, 12:55:00 PM »
My husband is one who wasn't raised on the "bless you" habit, but I do hear him make comments like "you're going to bless me" when he's about to tell me he's done something he thinks I won't be widly happy about.

I just kinda sorta assumed people here get the impression that saying "bless you" sounds more like a curse, and in that aspect, would be rude.  :-/
Married to Graham, we run our own open-source computer training company in beautiful Wiltshire out of our 1814 Georgian Regency home (a former lodging house and once featured in Antiques Roadshow)


Re: Polite?
« Reply #19 on: August 30, 2002, 02:35:53 PM »
Saying 'bless you' comes from a belief from some religion (can't recall which one) that believes that when you sneeze your heart stops beating for a split second (which is true) and in that split second the devil can get into your heart, thus the need for the blessing.  ;D


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Re: Polite?
« Reply #20 on: August 30, 2002, 04:40:06 PM »
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Saying 'bless you' comes from a belief from some religion (can't recall which one) that believes that when you sneeze your heart stops beating for a split second (which is true) and in that split second the devil can get into your heart, thus the need for the blessing.  ;D

I could be wrong here .. but I think this is another superstition we can chalk up to the Catholics .. it tends to go hand in hand with the belief that an infant must cry at baptism to prove the devil is leaving it's body and it's now pure for God (old school priests used to pinch sleeping babies to get this effect because you could really upset a family if the baby wasn't 'purified' ....)
Of course these practices all started (and passed away eventually) long, long ago .. my husband does say bless you as do my in laws. It probably started as a religious custom but I don't believe it holds true now. Still it would be interesting to know how the custom became common practice in some families or countries and not in others. If one were to believe the root is Catholicism ..then it would explain why the hold is there in America given the heavy amount of catholic immigrants that came over in the early days of Ellis Island.

Just a thought .. (can you tell I'm trying to get out of doing the laundry when I want to discuss the theological significance of sneezing  ;D ..LOL)
You're a daisy if you do........


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Re: Polite?
« Reply #21 on: September 01, 2002, 03:52:30 PM »
I'm 33, British, would generally be regarded as "well raised", but I can honestly say with my hand on my heart that I've never once said "bless-you" (to a sneeze) in my entire life.  My parents and siblings never did either.  My wife never says it and I'm not bringing up my children to either.

Really, it seems an extraordinary thing to say.


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Re: Polite?
« Reply #22 on: September 01, 2002, 06:28:45 PM »
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.... My husband's family (Yorkshire) ALWAYS says "Bless you" when someone they know personally sneezes, but doesn't generally do so otherwise.  ...


If I may slip out of the Spouse House for a moent, yes, its true, but I will also say "bless you" when I hear somone in the office sneeze, but not otherwise, say, on the train or in the street.

And yes, my wife does say "Gesundheit!", ... and it drives me nuts!
« Last Edit: September 01, 2002, 06:51:39 PM by Mr_Val »
Richard


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Re: Polite?
« Reply #23 on: September 04, 2002, 05:49:01 AM »
I say  bless you every time I hear someone sneeze. Even on the street. And I'm quite offended if they don't acknowledge it.  ;D

So if any of you pass me on the street, you'll know me by the daggers I'm shooting at some lady because she didn't say "thank you.".
There are two things in life for which we are never truly prepared:  twins.


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Re: Polite?
« Reply #24 on: September 04, 2002, 10:20:25 AM »
Ashley, be prepared to shoot a lot of eye daggars. It's not only the "bless you" bits on the street. There's a general "No Eye Contact" rule and "Ignore Them if They Say 'Hello'" deal going on.

There are just certain things that are cultural that go on in every country, and we who have decided to come here to live, if we're not going to understand them, just do have to accept them.

Take a look at the HSBC advert illustrating my point. Showing bottoms of feet, showing palm of hand, giving two fingers, etc.

I'm not picking on you; I'm more speaking my mind to the wind. Frankly, the "don't understand? accept it anyway" advice is to myself and anyone who wants to learn from my experience (and I am still learning!). I adore my husband and we are so perfect for each other. But, I admit to some differences that cause arguments. As soon as we calm down, we realize we've actually been saying the exact same thing, only differently. Or that he was raised with values I wasn't, visa versa. By us coming together, we slowly meld into this compromise that becomes the best of both worlds.

Don't expect miracles with the stranger on the street (in any country). You might get a smile out of them, and that would be a great little bonus. But don't demand one. (It could be also they did not hear or understand, so they look up and only see you shooting eye daggars.)
Married to Graham, we run our own open-source computer training company in beautiful Wiltshire out of our 1814 Georgian Regency home (a former lodging house and once featured in Antiques Roadshow)


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Re: Polite?
« Reply #25 on: September 05, 2002, 08:11:36 AM »
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.... As soon as we calm down, we realize we've actually been saying the exact same thing, only differently. ....

True for us too!

Also, while many people in the UK are stereotypically reserved, it does vary in different parts of the country.  Many people in the North of England are more friendly, but obviously that varies from person to person too.  I also think that older people are more likely to talk to a stranger they meet in the street, at least that is my opinion.

I personally loathe the insular attitude of many of my countrymen, and I would talk to someone on a train or bus, or waiting for either, but only when there was a suitable opening - an incident, a funny or ridiculous announcement by a station announcer, train or bus driver, or pretty much anything that attracts attention - a stumbling drunk, a noisey vehicle passing, etc, etc.

There is always the possibility, especially if you live in a smaller community, that you may inadvertently find yourself labled as "that Yank who considers him/her self too important to speak to us".  So, don't be completely insular, and you may be surprised at who you get talking to.  :)
Richard


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Re: Polite?
« Reply #26 on: September 05, 2002, 08:29:32 AM »
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It's not only the "bless you" bits on the street. There's a general "No Eye Contact" rule and "Ignore Them if They Say 'Hello'" deal going on


Ha ha, that sounds so much like Utah, which is where I was born and raised. (but shhhh... don't tell anyone. It's not something I brag about.)

I think I'll get on fine.
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Re: Polite?
« Reply #27 on: September 05, 2002, 09:57:56 AM »
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Ha ha, that sounds so much like Utah

No way! Really? I would have thought Utah would be Friendly Capital of the World (right behind Georgia...with some regional exceptions). Isn't that Mormon country? Aren't the mormons also called "Friends"? (I know nothing of religion so I could be totally wrong here.)

Okay, so, this idea has given me a headscratcher over my coffee this morning. A question that is somewhat related to this thread: Why do people in this country tend to look down and not acknowldge others they pass on the street? Is it something that stems from the war?

(I bring up the war thing because there seems to be subtle differences in our social behaviour and I think much of it has to do with personal experiences within history; the fact there was a war actually fought on the soil here and none, within living memory, has been fought in the US...the 9/11 disaster, and the US reaction to it/the world's view of the US reaction to it, seemed to underscore this difference. By the same token, the US went through a Wall Street crash, and the Great Depression certainly affected the way my parents behaved and ultimately raised me. Everyone: your parents, do they save, wash and reuse cling film/aluminum foil/Ziplock bags? I just may be the oldie in the group, the only one who actually had parents who were adults during the Depression  ;D)
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Re: Polite?
« Reply #28 on: September 05, 2002, 11:08:19 AM »
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( Everyone: your parents, do they save, wash and reuse cling film/aluminum foil/Ziplock bags? I just may be the oldie in the group, the only one who actually had parents who were adults during the Depression  ;D)


My sister actually washes out baggies and re-uses them. My father was astounded!  I was speechless (for once).

My parents didn't go thru the depression, but my grandparents did.  My now deceased grandmother would absolutely hoard canned goods in her back closet like there was no tomorrow, and she had an entire closet from floor to ceiling packed with quilts and blankets as well.

I used to wonder why on earth she did those things and then realised it was because there was a time in her life when she was hungry and cold.  And bless her, she never wanted that for her family again.

"I was working on the proof of one of my poems all the morning, and took out a comma. In the afternoon I put it back again." Oscar Wilde


Re: Polite?
« Reply #29 on: September 05, 2002, 03:45:26 PM »
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Isn't that Mormon country? Aren't the mormons also called "Friends"? (I know nothing of religion so I could be totally wrong here.)


Yes, Utah is considered Mormon country, but no, they aren't called "Friends"....that would be the Quakers.  Completely different group of folks altogether.  (I learned a few other things about Mormons at Sunday School in my youth, but not a whole lot else, so don't ask me anything too difficult!)   8)

I wash zip-lock baggies out now and then, and I've been known to hoard food and water in extra closets now and then (not easy in my teensy house, either, mind!)  And I wasn't around during the depression...and neither we my parents.  But then, if you note my revelation of my upbringing above (raised Mormon, yep, I sho' enough was) maybe that is why I'm a bit wacky that way.  

(Food storage is a pretty big deal for LDS/Mormon families, for those of you scratching your heads even more.)  :)


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