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Thread: set phrases before/after meals

  1. #1
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    set phrases before/after meals

    In Japan, people say, 'Itadakimasu' before eating meals and 'Gochisousamadesita' after finishing eating meals.

    What do you say before/after meals?
    Tomorrow is another day. But today is the day I can create by myself.

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    Re: set phrases before/after meals

    In Mexico, provecho before eating meals. I don't know of any for when you finish.

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    Re: set phrases before/after meals

    In English, before meals we say bon appetit, in the sense of "(have a) good meal," from French. I don't think we have a set phrase for after a meal.

    Same goes for most of the western European languages, for example:

    Italian: Buon appetito!
    German: Guten Appetit! / Mahlzeit ("mealtime") / Switzerland: En Guete! / Ä Guetä!

    The only things I can think of for after a meal would be non-set-phrases like That was delicious, I really enjoyed that meal, etc.
    "I don't give a damn for a man that can only spell a word one way."

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    Re: set phrases before/after meals

    In Hebrew: בתאבון is used before eating (with appetite, similar meaning to bon appetit, pronounced bete'avon).
    I can't think of an after-meal phrase.

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    Re: set phrases before/after meals

    There is acutally a set phrase in German which may be used after the meal, but only in very specific contexts: for example, in restaurants (or - at least in Austria!) the waiter will usually ask when serving of the plate "Hat's geschmeckt?" = "Did you enjoy the food?", and you answer with something like "Danke, sehr gut!" (or similar, you can vary the answer) which means "Thanks, it was excellent".

    Only if the meal really was awful you may decline to offer your thank-you (or even complain about it), else you should say your thanks when asked that question.

    Also it is possible that you will be asked the same - "Hat's geschmeckt?" - when invited to friends, in which case you should say your thanks even if the meal really was awful.
    "An esoteric may claim more nonsense in 5 minutes than a scientist may be able to disprove in his entire life." Vince Ebert, about fighting sciolism.

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    Re: set phrases before/after meals

    In México we you to say "satisfecho", but I am almost sure that it was a family thing.

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    Re: set phrases before/after meals

    Taked4700,

    Do you say that before and after the meals or do you say that TO the people who's at the table?

    That may change our responses.

  8. #8
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    Re: set phrases before/after meals

    As mentioned, in Italian you can say 'buon appetito' before meals, but this is usually restricted just to family or close friends.

    In more formal settings there isn't any particular set phrase to say, and talking too much about food is generally discouraged (even the Italian equivalents for words such as 'food' or 'meal' are used in a much narrower sense).

    Likewise, praising the cook for a good meal as might be expected in other cultures is not really required, because it is understood as a duty: a simple "thank you" will be enough.

  9. #9
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    Re: set phrases before/after meals

    Quote Originally Posted by Turoyaki View Post
    Taked4700,

    Do you say that before and after the meals or do you say that TO the people who's at the table?

    That may change our responses.
    I think it's up to the person who utters the set-phrase.

    In other words, even when being alone we say 'itadakimasu' and 'gochisousamadeshita' just as a ceremony or to show gratitude to gods or to someone who would cook the dishes.

    'Itadakimasu' means you are to start eating.
    'Gochisousamadeshita' means you just have finished eating.
    But both expressions are not something people use when they want to convey that meaning. We just see these expressions as set-phrases.
    Last edited by taked4700; 6th May 2009 at 3:58 PM. Reason: typos
    Tomorrow is another day. But today is the day I can create by myself.

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    Re: set phrases before/after meals

    Quote Originally Posted by brian8733 View Post
    The only things I can think of for after a meal would be non-set-phrases like That was delicious, I really enjoyed that meal, etc.
    Hi, you already mentioned "Bon appétit !"

    This is pretty much the same in French for after the meal: we have no set phrase, but you may always say something nice. C'était très bon, j'ai vraiment bien mangé, etc. I often say nothing at this time, because if it was good, I probably mentioned it while eating.

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    Re: set phrases before/after meals

    ¡Buen provecho!
    ¡Que aproveche!

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    Re: set phrases before/after meals

    In Latvian: Labu apetīti!
    That stands for - good appetite
    After the meal you normally say just paldies - thank you!

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    Re: set phrases before/after meals

    In Ireland you will hear "Bon appetit", although more and more I am hearing "Enjoy!" (which sounds very American to me...)

    In Irish, there is no set way of saying it, but as ever, there are many versions...
    Bain sult as! = Enjoy it! [lit.Take enjoyment from it!]
    Bia blásta! = Tasty food!
    Bolg is teann chugat = I hope you fill your belly [lit. The tightest stomach to you]
    Go ndéana maith duit = may it do you good

    A personal favorite that you hear when people are reunited at table for the first time in a while is:
    go mbéimid beo ar an am seo arís : may we all be alive and together at the same time next year [lit: may we all be alive again at the same time/occasion]


    Lastly - there is a famous story of an Irish politician who, on one of his first trips to Brussels, sat beside a French speaker for lunch. When his dining companion said "bon appetit", our not-so-worldly-wise politician offered his hand and said his name, thinking that the other gentleman was called "Bon Appetit" and was introducing himself.

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    Re: set phrases before/after meals

    Takk for maten - "Thank you for the food" is one of the first phrases children in Norway learn to use regularly (about the same time they learn to say "Thank you" for anything else they receive). Everyone says it, even the person who made the food (my personal theory is that there's a religious component to it).
    Before the meal the on ewho made it could say "Versågod" or something like it, meaning more or less "dig in" or "go ahead" or whatever, but this is optional. It's also quite common to compliment the person who made the food after the meal, but again, not necessary. Only "takk for maten" is absolutely obligatory. To me this is so natural it actually makes me very uncomfortable when I'm abroad and don't know what to say when I've finish my meal...
    La tristezza passerà domattina, e l'anello resterà sulla spiaggia...

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    Re: set phrases before/after meals

    So you use takk for maten both before and after the meal? And it's obligatory for both?
    "I don't give a damn for a man that can only spell a word one way."

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    Re: set phrases before/after meals

    Quote Originally Posted by brian8733 View Post
    So you use takk for maten both before and after the meal? And it's obligatory for both?
    No, only after. You don't really have to say anything before the meal, but often the person who made it will say something like "versågod" or "velbekomme" (forgot this one earlier) when everyone has been seated, to signal that you can start helping yourself to the food.
    La tristezza passerà domattina, e l'anello resterà sulla spiaggia...

  17. #17
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    Re: set phrases before/after meals

    OH okay. Your post above didn't explicitly say that takk for maten was for after the meal, and for some reason I assumed you were talking about before the meal. Whoops.

    Thanks.
    "I don't give a damn for a man that can only spell a word one way."

  18. #18
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    Re: set phrases before/after meals

    Such a great idea for a thread

    Right before a meal we say: "Poftă bună!" (bon appetit)
    After a meal, the children/guests say to the cook/host: Sărut-mâna pentru masă (very polite thank you - literally "we kiss your hand", but that rarely happens -- for this meal). The host answers: Să vă fie de bine (much good may it do you)
    Last edited by Trisia; 18th May 2009 at 11:58 AM. Reason: typo
    "I know exactly what words I am wanting to say, but somehow or other they is always getting squiffsquiddled around" - The BFG/Roald Dahl

  19. #19
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    Re: set phrases before/after meals

    As others have already said, in Spanish we use to say "provecho" (lit. benefit) before meals and "salud" ([good] health / cheers) before drinking in a meal.

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    Re: set phrases before/after meals

    This is interesting about "provecho" being said before meals in Mexico. I don't remember hearing it in Mexico; but in Bolivia it appears after the meal, when you leave the table.
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