Thank-you and goodnight

12 07 2013

So I have this thing.

Actually I have a whole bunch of things, but the thing I want to tell you about right now relates to travel.

I suppose I should apologise to those of you who have noticed my lack of output of late. I’ve been away on a trip to Europe for work, and then got busy trying to catch up and then took a weekend camping to re-acquaint myself with my kids. Any or all of the above may eventually become the subject of blog entries, but I want to start gently and talk about my thing.

Ever since I first got to travel for work, I made it a habit to learn how to say “thank-you” in the local language. I firmly believe that if you make an attempt to show gratitude then you can get away with a lot more stumbling and pointing helplessly at menus. Actually, my first ever business trip was to Oman, and I confess my “thing” hadn’t yet occurred to me, so I don’t know how to say thank-you in Arabic. Everyone I interacted with spoke better English than me, and it didn’t seem necessary.

When I went to Taiwan though, I learned that “xie xie” was the Mandarin for thanks. My recent travels added Romanian and Hungarian to the list, so I thought I’d just show off a little and enumerate all the ways I’ve learnt to say thank-you to beer-suppliers around the world…

[Edit: 5th August 2013… I realise I’d forgotten Portuguese!]

Austria Danke
Belgium Bedankt
Denmark Tak
Finland Kiitos
France Merci
Germany Danke
Hungary Köszönöm
Italy Grazie
Japan Arigato
Korean Kamsahamnida
Netherlands Dank u well
Portugal Obrigado
Romania Multo mesc
Spain Gracias
Sweden Tak
Taiwan xie xie



4 responses

15 07 2013

I completely agree with your “thing”! A little bit of courtesy goes along way I find.

BTW Tak is also thank you in Icelandic and Norwegian, so there’s another two to add to the list!

15 07 2013
Quieter Elephant

I suspected the ubiquity of Tak in Scandinavian countries… but I’ve not been to Iceland (yet) and my trip to Norway is sufficiently hazy that I couldn’t swear that I’d used it there. Finland is reportedly linguistically close to Hungarian, but apart from starting with a ‘K’, it didn’t seem THAT close.

15 07 2013

I saw an episode of QI recently that was talking about Hungarian. Apparently it’s (despite, as you say, having similarities to Finnish) one of the most unique languages in Europe, being not from either Germanic or Latin ancestry but a completely individual origin.

13 05 2022
Polyglots I have known… | Quieter Elephant

[…] when I’m reading menus in exciting unfamiliar countries. My greatest achievement is learning “thank-you” in a dozen or so countries though. Not much I admit, but it’s better than nothing, and likely more appreciated than […]

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