Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 25

Thread: Origin of French 'merci'

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    India
    Native language
    India,Hindi
    Posts
    849

    Origin of French 'merci'

    MODERATOR NOTE: Questions on the etymology of words (rather than their meaning or translation into another modern language) are discussed in our Etymology and History of Languages Forum, to which this thread has been moved.
    ------------

    Hello,

    I wanted to know the orgin of ' Merci ' (Thank you). Does this come from Latin or Frank?
    Last edited by wildan1; 5th February 2013 at 9:45 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Gentilly & Vendée
    Native language
    French/France
    Age
    37
    Posts
    411

    Re: Origin of 'merci'

    No Latin etymology as far as I know.
    In the Middle Age, it had the same meaning as its English homophone "mercy"
    Last edited by berndf; 6th February 2013 at 9:53 AM. Reason: Capitals

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Native language
    English
    Posts
    4

    Re: Origin of 'merci'

    Quote Originally Posted by macta123 View Post
    Hello,

    I wanted to know the orgin of ' Merci ' (Thank you). Does this come from Latin or Frank?
    You may find your answer in the forgotten language of Aramaic or neo Aramaic (the language spoken by Jesus) also called Assyrian where 'merci' just means 'thank you'

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Native language
    Israel - Hebrew
    Posts
    702

    Re: Origin of 'merci'

    Quote Originally Posted by 1mark1 View Post
    You may find your answer in the forgotten language of Aramaic or neo Aramaic (the language spoken by Jesus) also called Assyrian where 'merci' just means 'thank you'
    In Aramaic the word for "thank you" is "tawdi"

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Andalucía
    Native language
    English - England
    Posts
    1,024

    Re: Origin of French 'merci'

    The French Academy's Dictionary says it is from Latin mercedem, accusative of merces, meaning salary or reward and, later, price, favour or mercy given to someone when sparing them.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    City of Brotherly Love
    Native language
    USA Northeast
    Posts
    2,758

    Re: Origin of French 'merci'

    Quote Originally Posted by Hulalessar View Post
    The French Academy's Dictionary says it is from Latin mercedem, accusative of merces, meaning salary or reward and, later, price, favour or mercy given to someone when sparing them.
    It's a slow evolution in meaning over a long period of time. I would just add that the current meaning of thanks probably comes from the "favour" you mention. "Dieu merci" the grace of God, God willing, favour or want of God

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Native language
    English
    Posts
    4

    Re: Origin of French 'merci'

    In Modern Assyrian or Neo Aramaic if I say "How are you" = Dakhee vit" when speaking to a male. The response might be: "I'm good thank you = Spaay vin merci"
    Ref: Studies in Neo Aramaic, Professor Wolfhart Heinrichs, Department of Eastern languages at Harvard Universities.
    It should be noted however that there are many dialects. This is only one of those.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Cambridge, UK
    Native language
    French (France)
    Posts
    3,243

    Re: Origin of French 'merci'

    "Merci" is from Latin merces, asHulalessar has explained. The French word has been borrowed into Arabic (and many other languages), and from Arabic into the Neo-Aramaic of Maalula (one of several surviving Neo-Aramaic languages).

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Native language
    English
    Posts
    4

    Re: Origin of French 'merci'

    fdb, thank you for clearing that up. I was simply trying to establish what I thought the Linquistic form (as a word) is shown by tracing its development since its earliest recorded occurance........in this case perhaps it could be traced back to Biblical usage in one society.
    fyi - I am an Engineer and operate a steel business but early on I really wanted to major in modern European Languages. Oh well - haha This has been fun and the guys have not beat up on me too much

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Native language
    English
    Posts
    4

    Re: Origin of French 'merci'

    Ouch! My company on works on heavy industrial things such as power plants. Never bridges! Thanks fdb

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Native language
    American English
    Posts
    190

    Re: Origin of French 'merci'

    What about “merci” in pt. você (vossa mercee) and sp. usted (vuestra merced)? Is this related to French usage in someway?

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Andalucía
    Native language
    English - England
    Posts
    1,024

    Re: Origin of French 'merci'

    Quote Originally Posted by killerbee256 View Post
    What about “merci” in pt. você (vossa mercee) and sp. usted (vuestra merced)? Is this related to French usage in someway?
    They both derive form the same Latin word mercedem. I do not know about Portuguese, but the Spanish word merced has the same range of meaning as the Latin as mentioned above. See here: http://lema.rae.es/drae/?val=merced

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Norway
    Native language
    Polish
    Age
    63
    Posts
    4,105

    Re: Origin of French 'merci'

    Quote Originally Posted by 1mark1 View Post
    In Modern Assyrian or Neo Aramaic if I say "How are you" = Dakhee vit" when speaking to a male. The response might be: "I'm good thank you = Spaay vin merci"
    Ref: Studies in Neo Aramaic, Professor Wolfhart Heinrichs, Department of Eastern languages at Harvard Universities.
    It should be noted however that there are many dialects. This is only one of those.
    But have you any proof that it comes from Old Aramaic? It is very probable that it comes from French via Turkish.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Cambridge, UK
    Native language
    French (France)
    Posts
    3,243

    Re: Origin of French 'merci'

    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Jamin View Post
    But have you any proof that it comes from Old Aramaic? It is very probable that it comes from French.
    As stated already in no. 9.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Slovakia
    Native language
    Hungarian
    Posts
    4,952

    Re: Origin of French 'merci'

    For curiosity, also the Spanish personal name Mercedes is related to the word we are discussing now. It comes from a former María de las Mercedes, meaning "Mary of Mercies".

  16. #16
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Cambridge, UK
    Native language
    French (France)
    Posts
    3,243

    Re: Origin of French 'merci'

    ....and was borne notably by Mercédès Adrienne Manuela Ramona Jellinek, the eponym of the motor car.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Norway
    Native language
    Polish
    Age
    63
    Posts
    4,105

    Re: Origin of French 'merci'

    Quote Originally Posted by fdb View Post
    As stated already in no. 9.
    Thanks, I didn't notice that post. By the way, it must then be Turkish that borrowed the word from Arabic.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    France
    Native language
    AmE
    Age
    39
    Posts
    5,588

    Re: Origin of French 'merci'

    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Jamin View Post
    By the way, it must then be Turkish that borrowed the word from Arabic.
    Why must this be?

  19. #19
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Cambridge, UK
    Native language
    French (France)
    Posts
    3,243

    Re: Origin of French 'merci'

    I do not think that Turkish uses “merci”. I do not know which of the Neo-Aramaic languages are supposed to use it. The inhabitants of three Aramaic-speaking villages in Syria are bilingual in Levantine Arabic, and have borrowed heavily from French, either directly or via Arabic. Those in Tur Abdin are bilingual in Turkish, those in Northern Iraq in Iraqi Arabic and/or Kurdish.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Norway
    Native language
    Polish
    Age
    63
    Posts
    4,105

    Re: Origin of French 'merci'

    Quote Originally Posted by fdb View Post
    I do not think that Turkish uses “merci”.
    Do you speak Turkish?
    According to dozens of "useful phrases" both on line and printed on paper they use "mersi", (not "merci"). Are they wrong according to you?
    Last edited by Ben Jamin; 6th February 2013 at 6:14 PM.

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •