If you are looking to express gratitude in English, a superficial ‹thanks› quickly comes to mind. If you are being sincere, you say «thank you», always addressing the other person, or one step further, «I am grateful».

It comes from the Latin word «gratias,» in turn leading back to ‹grate›: ‹pleasant,› ‹comforting.› Tracing it back even further in a linguistic sense leads to the Indo-European word ‹gwere›, which means ‹inclined,› ‹pleasing,› ‹benevolent.›

So, in order to avoid superficiality and express a genuine feeling, you have to be a bit more paraphrased in English. Shakespeare said the following: “O Lord that lends me life, Lend me a heart replete with thankfulness!” This is filled with so much meaning that it can hardly be translated. The word «lend me life» should also lend me a heart that is eternally filled with gratitude. (King Henry VI, Part 2, Act 1, Scene 1).

Then there is the word ‹thankful,› ‹full of thanks›. Thank and think are closely related in Old Germanic – as if the inner self is filled with heart-soaked thoughts of something specific.

Translation Simone Stadlbacher

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