When asked to comment on the word ‹thank you› in my native language, Russian, I was quickly torn between two words: спасибо (spasibo) and благодарю (blagodariu).

In everyday life, people use спасибо to express gratitude to someone who handed you food at the table or made the elevator wait for you. The word спасибо comes from the expression ‹спаси Бог›: (May) God save (you). No one uses or means it that way anymore, even though the meaning is so obvious. At least in my family, great importance was always placed on not taking things for granted and therefore expressing gratitude often. As an adult, I use the word so often that its colors fade somewhat. On the other hand, when I want to express my gratitude more sincerely, when I want to dwell in the moment, give it more time, uplift the moment and the people with whom I am sharing it, I use the word благодарю. ‹благо дарю›: (I) give (you) blessings. It is a more literary, unnatural, but sophisticated expression.

Translation Simone Stadlbacher

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