Thanks: Teaching Tips

For Learners of Japanese

Japanese students may tend to utilize expressions of apology too frequently in English when expressions of gratitude are appropriate. This is probablybecause of their first language in which apologetic thanks (Sumimasen) is used fairly often as well as expressions of gratitude (Arigatou gozaimasu) in the sense that I am sorry to have made you work for me, but I appreciate your doing it for me (Coulmas, 1981).

For Learners of Marathi and Hindi

Marathi and Hindi students of English, or Western learners of such South Asian languages may have trouble adjusting to the thanking norms of the target language because in Marathi and Hindi societies, normally no verbal expressions of gratitude occur among family members or close friends, or in business transactions (Apte, 1974).



Apte, M. L. (1974). "Thank you" and South Asian Languages: A comparative Sociolinguistic Study. Linguistics, 136, 67-89.

Coulmas, F. (1981). "Poison to your soul": Thanks and apologies contrastively viewed. In F. Coulmas (Ed.), Conversational Routine: Explorations in Standardized Communication Situations and Prepatterned Speech. The Hague, the Netherlands: Mouton Publishers.


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