If someone asked you whether people around the world make the same sound when they’re sneezing, what would you say? People do sneeze differently but I seriously doubt if there are actual national/linguistic differences there. Or maybe I’m wrong?

Wikipedia, the amazing depository of all and nothing, gives a nice collection of the ways the sneezing sound is written in different languages. Some nice examples:

  • English – achew
  • Spanish – atchís
  • Danish – atjuu
  • Dutch – hatsjoe
  • French – atchoum
  • German – hatschi
  • Romanian – hapciu

It’s quite easy to see that despite being written differently all of these are quite similar. Also the Latvian world for sneezing is alike: “apchi”. But there are a whole lot of languages out there which say the same thing in a much different way! My favourites:

  • Japanese – kushami
  • Chinese – penti
  • Marathi – shheenka
  • Slovenian – kihanje
  • Tamil – thummal

The reason why I’m even thinking about all this? For last two days sneezing is the sound I make most often. I should be truly blessed after all the “bless you” I’ve heard!


Photo credit: quinnums 6 (Flickr Creative Commons)

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