Background, modern examples
Most people who learn Latin and who want to gain some oral proficiency, will early on learn the phrase Grātiās tibī/vōbīs agō, and simply a Grātiās! to match English Thanks! But there are many other ways to say thank you in English, depending on circumstances and settings; an obvious one is Cheers!, which most people probably associate with British English. To reply to a thank you, we have numerous ways in European languages:
- English: You’re welcome. No worries.
- Deutsch: Bitte. Bitte sehr. Gern geschehen.
- Norsk: Vær så god. Ingenting å takke for. Går så bra. (‘May you be so kind.’ ‘Nothing to thank for.’ ‘[It’s] all well.’)
- Italiano: Prego. Di niente. Non c’è di che.
- Scots: Nae but a little. (Similar to the Italian above.)
- French: De rien. Je t’en prie.
In Cassell, I have found amongst others:
- Benignē dīcis! – You speak kindly! (Thank you.)
- Alicui aliquid debēre [something good]. [An actual example would be good here.]
- Benignē dīcis! – You speak kindly! (No, thank you.)
- Benignē ac līberāliter! – Kindly and nobly! (Or perhaps rather: Kindly, yet nobly!)
- Rēctē! – Rightly [so]!
- Bene vocās! – I [say it is?] well!
- Jam grātia est! – Now is [the time for] thankfulness → This certainly makes me thankful! (?)¹
The above examples highlight what I identify as a problem: They seem to be quite formal, nothing like the Nae but a liʔle² of Scots, the No worries of English, the Går så bra of Norwegian. What I am looking for, then, is informal, attested ways to express gratitude in Latin and suitable replies to these. I am looking for attested forms from any period and genre (including comedy, scribbling on toilet walls, whore houses – the key word is informal, colloquial, non-elite) by native Latin speakers.
- I believe jam can be used emphatically, but could not find any sources for it at the moment. Also: tempus est jocundum!
- The way I have heard it uttered, the glottal stop comes in little, but it could just as well be at the end of but (or perhaps also both).