6

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.

Ancient examples

In Cassell, I have found amongst others:

  • Accepting
    • Benignē dīcis! – You speak kindly! (Thank you.)
    • Alicui aliquid debēre [something good]. [An actual example would be good here.]
  • Refusing
    • Benignē dīcis! – You speak kindly! (No, thank you.)
    • Benignē ac līberāliter! – Kindly and nobly! (Or perhaps rather: Kindly, yet nobly!)
    • Rēctē! – Rightly [so]!
  • Acknowledging
    • Bene vocās! – I [say it is?] well!
    • Jam grātia est! – Now is [the time for] thankfulness → This certainly makes me thankful! (?)¹

Main question

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 would prefer that answers are macronised (even for later periods of Latin* §) to encourage correct pronunciation. Notes on source and time would be most welcome.

Of relevance

Notes

  1. I believe jam can be used emphatically, but could not find any sources for it at the moment. Also: tempus est jocundum!
  2. 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).
4

Some examples:

From the Assinaria:

Democles: Bene hercle facitis ...
          (Well, thanks by god!)

From the Aulularia:

Megadorus: Habeo gratiam.
           (Thanks)

From the Captivi:

Philocrates: Edepol, Hergio. Facis benigne.
             (By Pollux, Hergio, You do me kindly.)

and

Stalagmus: Quoi peculi nihil est, recte feceris.
           (Seeing as how I have nothing of value, you certainly do me right.)

From the Persa:

Dordalus: Gratiam habeo.
          (Thank you.)

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.