Thanking you

This week I’ve been improving the thank you page in the phrases section on Omniglot. I’ve added replies like ‘you’re welcome’ and the equivalents in as many languages as possible. Could you check the new phrases and maybe fill in some of the gaps?

The use of the phrase ‘thank you’ and related phrases varies quite a lot between cultures. In the UK, for example, we tend to use this phrase frequently, however in Scandinavian countries, I understand that it’s used less frequently. What about in your culture?

If you feel inspired, maybe you could even put together an article on this for my language-related articles section, like this one.

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This entry was posted in Language, Words and phrases.

23 Responses to Thanking you

  1. ISPKN says:

    In Arabic, a reply that I’ve heard and used more often than what you have is :afwan (I do not have the Arabic Script on this computer, this is the transliteration I’ve used since I purchased the book Teach Yourself Arabic) I’ve also heard several others used by Arabic speakers from different nations.

  2. Lau says:

    I don’t think that ‘thank you’ is used less frequently in Scandinavia than in the UK. In fact it’s probably used more than in the UK because we don’t have a word for ‘please’ and in some cases use ‘thank you’ instead.

  3. Lau says:

    An extra Danish one for the translations would be ‘tusind tak’ lit. a thousand thanks. And ‘ingen årsag’ could be an answer.

  4. Laci the Hun says:

    La Esperanto “you’re welcome” estas “Nedankinde”. Ĉu vi ne sciis? :O

  5. Colm says:

    Irish: You will hear ” tá fáilte romhat ” for ” you’re welcome ” after ” thank you ” but this is the effect of English and isn’t correct usage. The correct phrase is: ” ‘sé do bheatha ” like the Scots. Gaelic. You could also say ” ná habair é” as in the English ” don’t mention it “. A common alternative for ” go raibh (míle) maith agat ” is ” gura míle “.

    You’re welcome in Estonian is: ” pole tänu väärt ” or ” võta heaks ” and in Finnish it is: ” ei se mitään ” or ” olet tervetullut “.

  6. Lau says:

    In Swiss German ‘merci vilmal’ is very common. But since Swiss German has no standardised orthography, spellings range from ‘vielmal’ to ‘viumou’. Well the latter is probably just the Bernese dialect.

    Colm, isn’t ‘ole hyvää’ also a way of saying ‘you’re welcome’ in finnish?

  7. AR says:

    In India, thank-you is used very little. Usually, thanks is expressed by using a polite tone and honorifics. In most Indo-Aryan languages, “dhanyavad” (using IAST transliteration) is used for thank-you. It and other words like “shubh(a)-rat–” (good night) are considered British-isms and are not native to India and so their usage is less common.

  8. AR says:

    Oh… forgot to say that I have never heard of anything that would be equivalent to you’re welcome.

  9. Mike says:

    Those French replies you have, Simon, are very, very European. “Je vous en prie,” and “De rien,” are occasionally heard here in Quebec, but “Bienvenue,” (certainly an Anglicism) is by far the most common reply to “Merci.”

  10. Declan says:

    For “Tá fáilte romhat/roimhe” you often put a name or something after it like: “a grá”, love, said to a child, “a Mhac Uí …”, “Mr. …”, or similar. That varies from Gaeltacht to Gaeltacht though.

  11. Polly says:

    As far as I know from asking around, there’s no standard Armenian equivalent to “you’re welcome.”

    In Russian it’s:
    nyE za shto.
    Не за что

    or “Pazhaluista” like you have already.

  12. Alain Vaillancourt says:

    The Danes jump on any occasion to say thanks and they have several variations on it. Sometimes they will place several thanks in a conversation. Older Danes will sprinkle them all over the place.

    The most frequent “thanks” variaton I’ve heard is “tak far” or “thanks for”, without repeating itself the reason you’re giving the thanks for, when it’s obvious, in front of you.

  13. Podolsky says:

    In Hindi shukriya is used more often than dhanyavad.
    In Hebrew “thank you” is toda raba. “You are welcome” – “al lo davar”.

  14. Juliette says:

    For Dutch, I would advice you to add: “Alstublieft / Alsjeblieft” (polite/informal) to the “reply” column. That is (one of) the most common response(s).

  15. Harris Engelmann says:

    For Yidish, “your welcome” is “nishto farvos”, probably best translated as “nothing to it” or “no problem”

  16. David says:

    I Alstublieft means Please in Dutch…. but if you’re Dutch yourself, I must be mistaken.

  17. céline says:

    I didn’t know “bienvenue” was used in Canadian French to say “you’re welcome”. Interesting. In Toulouse, where I studied, a lot of people replied to “merci” with a lovely “avec plaisir”.

  18. Harris Engelmann says:

    Ikh ze az ir hot gepruvt shraybn “nishto farvos” mit hebreyishe oysyes, ober s’iz nisht gor gerekht. Zayt mir moykhl, az ikh hob fergesen, un hot ir bloyz gegeben di glakhes :)

    Simon, I see that you tried to write “nishto farvos” in the hebrew alphabet, but it wasn’t completly correct- it should be נישטאָ פֿאַרװאָס . sorry i only gave you the transliteration (by the way, somthing interesting about the word for “latin letters” in Yiddish- glakhes- means “shaved” and comes from “galakh” – priest. I suppose that the latin alphabet in that time period was tied quite closely to the church, at least according to eastern european jews :))

  19. Juliette says:

    David: Yes, I am Dutch myself and yes, you are right in a way too. “Alstublieft” can mean both “please” as well as “you’re welcome” in Dutch depending on the context.

    The phrase is quite old and is originally a joining of words: “Als het u/je blieft”. The literal translation of the phrase is therefore “If it pleases you”.

    A little example exchange which can be confusing to foreigners, but is correct use of Dutch:

    Person 1: “Kunt u mij de aardappelen alstublieft aangeven ?” (“Could you please pass me the potatoes ?”)
    Person 2 while passing the potatoes “Natuurlijk, alstublieft” (“Of course, here you go”)
    Person 1: “Dank u wel” (“Thank you”)
    Person 2: “Graag gedaan” (“With pleasure”)

    Another example ordering at a bar:
    P1: “Twee biertjes alsjeblieft” (Two beers please)
    P2: “Vier euro twintig alsjeblieft” (Four euro twenty please)
    P1 passing 5 euro: “Alsjeblieft” (“here you go”)
    P2 giving the change and serving the beers: “Alsjeblieft” (“here you go”)
    P1: “Dank je wel” (“Thank you”)
    P2: “Alsjeblieft” (“You’re welcome”)

  20. renato says:

    after thank you ( obrigado in Portuguese) you must use You’re Welcome (de nada in Portuguese)

  21. S.T. says:

    As a native Finnish speaker, some comments regarding the Finnish “thank you” phrases:

    The normal reply would be “Eipä kestä” or “Eipä kestä kiittää”.

    To me, “Ei se mitään” seems awkward but “Ei mitään” is something that could well be muttered as a reply to thanks.

    “Ole hyvä” (with a single “ä”) usually means “here you are” or “please” but it is ok as a reply, too.

    “Olet tervetullut” is clearly an anglicism, direct translation of “you’re welcome”. It is not used as a reply to thanks.

  22. Evans Knight says:

    i’m not sure about the persian thank yous. grammatically correct though they may be, I’ve never heard those constructions in conversation.

    Kheyli mamnoon
    Sepās (gozashtam)
    Marsi
    Moteshekkeram

    are the ones ive heard.

  23. Koki says:

    Macedonian version of “you are welcome”:

    - ‘нема на што’ (cyrillic) or ‘nema na shto’