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17/09/2013

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John Cowan

The interesting contrast in the sneeze-words, I think, is between those that end in a back vowel (France, Sweden, Turkey, Italy, Greece, Algeria, U.K., U.S.) and those that end in a front vowel (Germany, India, Spain, Hungary, Russia, China, Finland, Thailand), particularly in the Finland/Sweden contrast (I wonder what form Finland-Swedes use). Note that although Americans write the sound "Achoo!", the American version of the nursery rhyme is "Ashes, ashes", which has induced all sorts of nonsense about the rhyme and the Great Plague and Fire of 1666.

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