With Thanksgiving quickly approaching, we here at Living Language wanted to share with you how to say “thank you” in 23 different languages. Be sure to brush up on these phrases so that you can be extra thankful this year.
In Portuguese, how you say thank you depends on whether or not you are a male or a female. Males say obrigado, while females will say obrigada to express their thanks.
Our Japanese eTutor Sakura wrote an entire post on some of the nuances of saying thank you in Japanese a while back; Korean has many similar nuances based on politeness and how much thanks you are wanting to express; 감사합니다 (gamsahamnida) is much like saying “thank you very much,” and is used in situations in which you want to be polite. An equally polite expression of thanks in Korean is 고맙습니다 (gomapseumnida).
Just as in English, most expressions of thanks can be made stronger: in Russian, you can simply say спасибо (spah-SEE-bah) to give thanks, or you can give “big thanks” by saying большое спасибо (bal-SHOYE spah-SEE-bah) And in German, add the adverb schön (meaning well, really or nicely) to danke to make danke schön, which is pronounced “DAHN-kuh shu(r)n,” not “DAHN-kuh SHAYN” as Wayne Newton would have you believe. (Apparently, the song “Danke Schoen” uses the Yiddish pronunciation.)
Pronunciation is also important in the Chinese: 谢谢。 (xièxie.) As you can see in the pinyin, the fourth tone is used on the first syllable, indicating your voice should go down on the first syllable in order to pronounce it properly.
And now let’s look at all of them together:
ありがとうございます. (arigatoo gozaimasu.)
Obrigado/Obrigada. (spoken by m/f)
Cám ơn bạn.