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Man sneezes in library, public reaction seems confused
by Mark on 6/5/2004 (0)

At the Regional library in Loudeville Ohio, a man confused silence.

Librarian Shelley Deevers pensively admits

"I've been a librarian at the Regional for 25 years. In 1980, if someone sneezed, you'd say 'God bless you', sometimes everyone in the room joining in unison."

Deevers nervously fingered a Kleenex

"Now there's people from all over the world in Loudeville, not just from English speaking countries. The truth is, most are wonderfull people, and I just worry about saying the wrong thing. I know some of the correct salutations for sneezing is something like 'Dios mio' in Spanish, 'Alahu Akbar' in Arabic, and 'bustarov or bustarova' in Russian, the appropriate response being gender sensitive. The guy that sneezed in the Internet section kinda looked like he was from India, so no-one knew if the standard 'God bless you' would work, or even be polite."

Deevers ponders other folkway matters of Euro-centric politeness are in jeopardy as well.

" 'Excuse me', 'you're welcome', and even 'have nice day' are a bit murky to many Neo-Americans . I'm not sure what direction the English language is going in the U.S., but I'm guessing I'll be constantly updating the slang section on the Websters database, God bless it...or Dios mio, or bustarova, or whatever."

Congress has no immediate plans to add a second, third, fourth, or even fifth language alongside English on road signs or rest room placards at this time.m

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