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Thread poster: Cilian O'Tuama
Off topic: Overdoing the thanks thing

Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 21:15
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
A thousand thanks! May 25, 2012

The little Danish 'tak' is said constantly, more or less phatically and sometimes without much meaning. It easily gets lost on it own.

Tone of voice does a lot, of course. A long-drawn Ta-a-a-a-ak!
may indicate surprise and delight, or a sarcastic thanks for nothing, or something in between.

If you really mean it, you normally have to embroider it. And Danes mumble...

Tak sk'd'ha' (Tak skal du have / You shall have thanks!) is very common.

or an enthusiastic Tusind tak! (a thousand thanks!) - is quite in place for a welcome (smallish) favour.

There is no direct word corresponding to 'please' - so after a polite formulation about 'I would like... ' or 'Would you take the trouble to...?' they add the ubiquitous tak, mange tak (many thanks) or whatever variation comes to mind.


A thousand thanks for starting this thread!


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Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:15
Member (2000)
Russian to English
+ ...
Overdoing "please"? May 25, 2012

The usual Russian for "please" is "пожалуйста" ("pozhaluysta"), in which the "sta" means a hundred. Maybe native Russian speakers will correct me, but I think this must originally have meant "I beg you a hundred times".

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George Hopkins
Local time: 21:15
Swedish to English
Swedish politeness May 25, 2012

Swedish is probably "best" when it comes to thanks.
Thanks are offered for practically everything.
I'm waiting for the equivalent of "Thanks for the thanks".

The Swedes have no word for please, but they have other knacks.


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Emma Goldsmith  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:15
Member (2010)
Spanish to English
Thanks a million May 25, 2012


Christine Andersen wrote:

Tusind tak! (a thousand thanks!) - is quite in place for a welcome (smallish) favour.


In Chilean Spanish people say "un millón de gracias" (a million thanks), which is rather over the top compared with the minimal use of "thank you" here in Spain.

I guess "thanks a million" has gone out of fashion in the UK?


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Lisa Simpson, MCIL MITI  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:15
Member (2010)
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Over-the-top May 25, 2012


Emma Goldsmith wrote:

I guess "thanks a million" has gone out of fashion in the UK?


You don't hear it and I'd say it would almost be considered over-the-top and bordering on sarcastic (as in, 'thanks a bunch'), not quite but almost.


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Veronica Lupascu  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 21:15
Greek to Romanian
+ ...
I love this thread May 25, 2012

I also find it very interesting that there are languages with no equivalent for 'please' (Danish, Swedish...are there any others?) How can you express a polite request in this languages? Are there any other ways of asking politely for something? Sorry for so many questions, but in all my languages there is a direct equivalent for 'please' and I just cannot process this information without an example

In Romanian the word for 'thank you' is 'mulţumesc' and we also borrowed the French 'merci' and write it as 'mersi', probably because 'mulţumesc' is so long

It is probably overused in the modern society, because people tend to show that they are polite (not that they always are). When I thank my grandmother for small things, she is almost upset/annoyed. I assume in her times people where not that thanks givers

We also have the "mulţumesc de o mie de ori" - thanks a thousand times;
"mulţumesc mult" - thanks a lot
"mulţumesc tare mult" - thanks 'very' a lot

and more recently, the exaggerated "mulţumesc extrem mult" - thanks 'extremely' a lot.

Funny enough, a simple google search shows that people 'thank extremely a lot' for facebook likes

In most of the cases you can easily replace the 'mulţumesc' with 'mersi'.


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Balasubramaniam L.  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 00:45
Member (2006)
English to Hindi
+ ...
Much appreciated, thanks a ton May 25, 2012

... and shukriya to those who know what this means. Others can google it up!

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Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:15
French to English
Thanks for nothing May 25, 2012


Lisa Simpson, MCIL wrote:


Emma Goldsmith wrote:

I guess "thanks a million" has gone out of fashion in the UK?


You don't hear it and I'd say it would almost be considered over-the-top and bordering on sarcastic (as in, 'thanks a bunch'), not quite but almost.


Agreed. Whenever I see it written down, I always read 2 or 3 times to check the meaning is not, indeed, actually the equivalent of thanks for nothing, a phrase which, it will be noted, does not bear rigorous liogical examination


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keshab  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:45
Member (2006)
English to Hindi
+ ...
Gui lah hui dui dui ma May 25, 2012

Surely I did not know this "thank you" of Chinese dialect before. But this thread has inspired me to research on "thank you" and found this link:
http://users.elite.net/runner/jennifers/thankyou.htm
And for this nice topic, I want to express "Dhanyabad" and "Shukriya" in my languages.


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Germaine  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 15:15
Member (2005)
English to French
+ ...
Alpha to Omega May 27, 2012

Oupssss! Thank you sooooo much is contagious! I think I used it recently, although missing on the ooooooo!...

In Québec, you will hear:
merci! (for everything)
merci beaucoup! (you're grateful) et
merci infiniment! (the situation was critical and I did nothing but save your life)

Naturally, you can put it all in a box and shake it, and the result will still apply.

I too wonder about the "no please equivalent" in a given language. S'il vous plaît, come back and tell us more! De grâce!

I would also be interested in learning how you respond to "thank you", its brothers, brothers-in-law and grandpa. In Québec, many will make a fuss about "bienvenue" (you're welcome) in favor of "de rien" (that's nothing), but you also will hear "je t'en prie" (????).


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 21:15
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Danish has lots of phrases instead of please May 27, 2012

In Danish many polite phrases, sometimes followed by tak (thanks), serve instead of please.

The only time I ever miss please is when Danes try to ask for things in English - I get more and more embarrassed waiting for the 'please' that never comes... or when unwitting English speakers do not realise Danes are not intentionally being rude.

The simplest, if you want to order in a restaurant, or ask for something in a shop etc., is simply to say 'I would like...' (Jeg vil gerne have...) and then say thanks instead of please.

Phrasebooks used to have a blurb about 'vær så venlig...' = be so kind, but it is very seldom heard nowadays, or it is more an order:
Vær så venlig at sidde ned - Be so kind as to sit down!

The common denominator in the Danish phrases is asking people nicely to take the trouble to do whatever you want.
Can I get you to show me...? (Kan jeg få dig til at ...?)
Would you just take the trouble to tell me? (Gider du lige sige mig...?)

Adding a negative is extra polite in Danish:
You wouldn't just get me a cup of coffee, would you? (Du kunne vel ikke lige hente mig en kop kaffe?)
... and that sort of sentence can backfire when translated too literally into English!

Asking permission also calls for polite phrases - may I, perhaps I could? and so on.

If in doubt, however, you can simply say what you want in normal Danish, then add some form of 'tak' appreciatively, and no one will be offended.

Another word that is sometimes translated as 'please' is Værsgo! (originally Vær så god = Be so kind).
In fact it means food is served, or help yourself, here you are, said by a person who is offering you something, so it is not 'please' in the ususal sense.




[Edited at 2012-05-27 16:00 GMT]


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Overdoing the thanks thing






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