Apologetic Thanks

The word 謝る (ayamaru – to apologise) has been popping up in my Japanese lessons on Duolingo recently, and I thought it would be interesting to look into the ways the character 謝 is used in Chinese and Japanese.

In Mandarin Chinese the usual way to say thank you is 谢谢 [謝謝] (xièxiè). If you want to say many thanks or thanks a lot you might say 多谢 [多謝] (duōxiè) or 感谢 [感謝] (gănxiè), or even 太感谢了 (tài gănxiè le). Other ways to express your thanks are available.

Apologetic Thanks

The character 谢 (xiè), in combination with other characters, can mean various other things:

  • 谢绝 (xièjué) = to decline
  • 谢客 (xièkè) = to decline to receive visitors
  • 谢幕 (xièmù) = to take a curtain call*
  • 谢罪 (xièzuì) = to offer an apology
  • 谢恩祈祷 (xiè’ēn qídǎo) = to say grace
  • 谢世 (xièshì) = to pass away, go to a better world, die

*the appearance of the performers at the conclusion of a theatrical or other performance in response to the applause of the audience [source].

The same character in Japanese means to apologise, and various other things. Here are some examples of how it’s used.

  • 謝る (ayamaru) = to apologise
  • 謝り (ayamari) = excuse, apology
  • 謝す / 謝する (shasu / shasuru) = to thank, apologise, say farewell, retreat, retire, refuse, pay back, settle old scores
  • 謝罪 (shazai) = apology
  • 謝礼 (sharei) = reward, remuneration
  • 謝意 (shai) = gratitude, thanks
  • 謝恩 (sha’on) = (expression of) gratitude
  • 謝恩会 (sha’onkai) = thank you party

In Cantonese there are several ways to say thank you, including:

  • 多謝 (do¹ ze⁶) = many thanks, thanks a lot (for something given)
  • 唔該 (m⁴ goi¹) = please, thanks (for services rendered), excuse me
  • 謝候 (ze⁶ hau⁶) = to thank sb for a favour or hospitality

Sources; LINE Dict Chinese-English, jisho, CC-Canto

One thought on “Apologetic Thanks

  1. Thanks always for the interesting articles!
    The Japanese pronunciations should be “sha” instead of “ja”.

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