do people actually say "ta"?

  • akurain

    Member
    Chinese
    It is common to use "ta" as thank you in Australia, funny no one actually knows how did "ta" evolve from "thank you".
     

    sonia87

    New Member
    english
    In Australia it's often the sort of thing you would say when people hand you your takeaway food, or small common objects.
    It's just a very brief informal thank you, like saying 'thanks' but it's actually the older generation who use it more commonly than you'll find it being used by kids or teens.

    However I generally hear it pronounced like 'ta' a sort of 'tah' sound, short and sharp. Not like 'tar' as other people have said.
    I have heard it drawn out like that before... but not often. As it's a brief way to say thank you, I usually find it very quick when you hear it being used.
     
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    The pedant

    New Member
    English - UK
    In my native South Wales it is/was virtually universal in conversation outside 'posh' circles. I haven't heard it so much in England, funnily enough, and have occasionally been scorned for using it myself. Delighted to find I'm not alone, but will take the advice not to try taking it transatlantic.
     

    roxcyn

    Senior Member
    USA
    American English [AmE]
    People have commenteded on how it can mean thank you/goodbye. While I wouldn't use that I know there are people that do. You also have to be careful with ta-ta because TA also can mean t*ts and a*s so you could say something like I want to see her tatas. I don't think AE speakers use ta-ta for goodbye or thank you too much I believe it's more of BE/AuE thing. :)

    Pablo
     

    The pedant

    New Member
    English - UK
    A bit of confusion in earlier posts about ta and ta-ta, I think. To clarify: the two pieces of (mainly Brit) slang:
    • ta (for 'thankyou'), and
    • ta-ta (for 'goodbye')
    are both quite common, but as far as I know they have nothing to do with one another. It may be just coincidence that both contain the syllable 'ta', or as others have suggested it may be due to the fact that this syllable is easy for young children to pronounce, and so has worked its way into two pieces of 'babyspeak'. But a lot of us go on finding both words easy to say as adults, and so we go on using them!

    I can't remember if anyone has already pointed this out, but 'ta-ta' often becomes 'ta-ra'. I hear this most often with a north of England accent - anyone know whether that's where it's actually most used?
     

    Ferrydog

    Senior Member
    English
    Yes, I say 'ta' a lot, for an informal 'thankyou'. (Pronounced like 'tar').

    I was brought up in Yorkshire but have lived in the south-east of England for the past thirty years. No one has ever commented on my casual use of this Northern England (?) expression and I presume it is totally understood. I admit that I rarely hear it on a daily basis here. My wife and children, being all southerners by upbringing, do not use it.

    I have always assumed it has a Norse derivation. Danish, Norwegian and Swedish all use 'tak', or similar, for 'thankyou'. Make sense ?

    I would not use 'ta' in a formal situation though.
     

    Alxmrphi

    Senior Member
    UK English
    I have always assumed it has a Norse derivation. Danish, Norwegian and Swedish all use 'tak', or similar, for 'thankyou'. Make sense ?

    I assumed this as well when I first learnt those ways to say Thank You in the Norse languages, I think it originally was a Northern expression (and like most things in the history of English) started in the North and worked its way down.

    The Northern roots makes sense, as for a considerable period we had the Danelaw in which Scandinavian (North Germanic) people and language mixed with the normal speakers of English (Old English), mixing physically and linguistically, and through this mixing we get stuff like them / they / their and even a new form of the verb "to be" (English once had two verbs, like Spanish does now) so it really doesn't surprise me if this Scandinavian word had an affect on how we say "Thank you" in informal ways :)
     

    PlainandTall

    Member
    English- American
    I never realized it was BE, but if Americans say ta-ta to mean goodbye- it almost always has a haughty sense to it, as if they were very upper class- but in a joking way. I think that it's actually a mock on the BE.
     

    london calling

    Senior Member
    UK English
    I never realized it was BE, but if Americans say ta-ta to mean goodbye- it almost always has a haughty sense to it, as if they were very upper class- but in a joking way. I think that it's actually a mock on the BE.
    It's the sort of thing we say to our kids when they're tiny:

    Say ta ta!:)

    Getting back to the original question ("ta" = thanks), as I said before we do say it, although I've always taken it as coming from the North of England.
     

    Alxmrphi

    Senior Member
    UK English
    I'm with LC :)
    Why were treating "ta / tar" (thanks) and "ta ta" (good bye) as the same thing is beyond me.

    (By the way, "ta" is extremely common in NW England)
     

    Redshade

    Banned
    UK
    English.
    Aye lad we actually do.

    This is ubiquitous and used unselfconsciously in the north of England and farther/further afield.

    I have heard this in the most formal of contexts (job interviews and managerial meetings for instance).

    I have heard not just ordinary people but also MPS and peers of the realm say this.

    << removed >>
     
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    Nymeria

    Senior Member
    English - Barbadian/British/educated in US universities blend
    My goodness! I have never heard it used to mean "thank you" before in my life! Egad and eek!

    (I am familiar with its use as an informal way of saying "goodbye" though.)
     

    Nymeria

    Senior Member
    English - Barbadian/British/educated in US universities blend
    I know about 'ta-ta' Julian. I also know that 'ta-ta' is often shortened to 'ta', since I say them both.
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    Fair enough! I've heard ta-ra as a variant of ta-ta but not heard ta (in the US or UK) as a form of goodbye. Is it possibly BarbadianE ? Or have others heard it used that way?
     

    greggegg

    New Member
    Lancky (Lancastrian), English, English RP
    Hello,
    "Ta" is a very common word throug-out Britain, Its is used both in southern england and Northern alike, also much of the lallans speaking scots and and ulster irish, also in pockets around the britain (north wales especially). It is a derivative of the old Norsk word for thank you, now seen in also Germanic Scandanavian languages, tak in swedish for example. It was brought to England with old Norsk settlers and has since been a strong and long lasting word in the english language, for at least 1000 years. It is more common in Northern England and London area due to Norsk settlers over 1000 years ago, and continual trading between these areas and scandanavian countries, such as lancashire and norway and Northumberland and county durahm with denmark. It is a common word in both standard northern english, and a loan word to rp english, along with the general word for thankyou in most/all northern dialects, such as tyke (yorkshire), lanky (lancastrian) Northumbrian, pitmatic, cumbrian and westmorland. It is not childish word by any means, nor is tara (goodbye), however ta ta (goodbye, rp english) may be seen as being so. It is a linguistic and dialectual standard word of very old origin.

    Gregg Ashcroft
     

    greggegg

    New Member
    Lancky (Lancastrian), English, English RP
    TARA is also a very common word used in Northern England, North Wales, Ireland, Scotland, London and West counrty. How long you have lived in "the UK" must be short, for it is a common word. I hear it about 20 timmes a day and I use it too, and I am a young lad, all my friends and family us it, as do many of my lecturers at university. It is a very common word, although it is a Northern English word more commonly. Oh London calling where are you from, are you from london, or just bin there. If you are from there you may not have heard it, depending upon your class or social back ground, if you are foreign then you have probly met few english people in london, as its very multi cultural in london, especially central london
     

    iconoclast

    Senior Member
    english - anglo-irish
    I've only just seen this post:

    I'm from Darkest Ulster, sorry Sunny Nornirn, and I say 'ta', but not 'ta-ta' or 'ta-ra'.
     

    panjandrum

    Senior Member
    English-Ireland (top end)
    The theory about ta having a norse origin has already been mentioned in this thread.
    It is an interesting theory, but no more than that. It has no support from, for example, the OED, which also suggests that it is of relatively recent origin (18th century) though that relates only to its appearance in written form.
     
    I've heard "ta" as a colloquial form of "thank you" all over England. It may have a class element to it, in that it seems to be more common in what are still called "working class" circles.

    I have always assumed that it started as baby talk, "ta" being one of the sounds that babies tend to make when they are learning to use their voices. Doting parents tend to intepret baby noises as real words. I can well imagine an eager mother believing that, as she handed baby its drink, the random "ta" that came out of its mouth was an attempt to say "thanks" or "thank you". Once a sound is established as the baby's speech, it tends to permeate the family for several years.
     

    boriszcat

    Senior Member
    English - US and Dude - a California dialect
    I can confirm that you will be laughed at in America if you say ta or ta-ta. It sounds like something a 19th century British princess would say to her rich playmates - "Ta ta darling." Since we don't say ta, we would assume this is a short form of ta-ta, meaning goodbye rather than thanks.
    Americans also do say "tatas" as a crude but silly word for breasts. However there is no chance of mistaking "ta-ta" (understood as goodbye) for randomly pointing out someone's breasts. The context makes it clear.
     

    Alxmrphi

    Senior Member
    UK English
    Hi boris, I think you're thinking about /ta/, we say it /ta:/.
    I agree if we said /ta/ that would sound silly and exactly how you described, but with a long vowel it doesn't sound unusual (though it could easily still for you).
     

    london calling

    Senior Member
    UK English
    Oh London calling where are you from, are you from london, or just bin there. If you are from there you may not have heard it, depending upon your class or social back ground, if you are foreign then you have probly met few english people in london, as its very multi cultural in london, especially central london
    I'm a Londoner born and bred and my mother's family has been in London for several hundred years, as a matter of fact (but my paternal grandfather was from Burnley)! ;) So no, I ain't just "bin there" and I'm definitely not foreign, although I live abroad now.

    As I said, we say both "ta" and "ta ra " in London but to me they are not typical London expressions. I associate them with the north of England (and with Cilla Black in particular!:D).
     

    Alxmrphi

    Senior Member
    UK English
    I associate them with the north of England (and with Cilla Black in particular!:D).
    Haha I am from the same city as her (actually met her in Spain once) - but anyway she is the only one that sounds like that where I am from, she's not a representation of the rest of us:p
     

    tosh77

    New Member
    English - Australian
    Hi all,

    the word 'Ta' is commonly used in Australia as an abbreviation for "thankyou" or "thanks".

    I actually heard it's source when in the shetland islands, where it is also common, as it is throughout England, although I'd like to bet it's more common in Australia now, don't forget our strong convict heritage.

    From memory it originates from the viking word for thankyou, a harsh sounding, mono-syballic word sounding like 'tuck'.

    It was about 6 years ago I heard this explanation but I'm pretty sure I have recalled this correctly...I just remember being so fascinated at the time when talking to tourist guide people in the shetlands.

    regards

    Tosh77
     

    tosh77

    New Member
    English - Australian
    Oh I've just read back, looks like I was close if not spot on, having noted that Gregegg basically saying the same thing.
     

    smspencer69

    New Member
    English - UK
    I was raised in an old mining town in during the late 70's and 80's and "ta" (as thank you - pronounced like "tar") has been commonly used throughout my lifetime.

    Always wanting the best for me, and not wanting me to be prejudiced against for having a local dialect my parents raised me to speak properly (sorry if this sounds elitist in any way that's not my intention), pronouncing words correctly and avoiding slang despite coming from working class backgrounds themselves.

    Ironically when I started school my friends ,who only lived only a few streets, away considered I spoke "posh" and in later years I modified my dialect to "fit in" with my friends, so my use of language and even accent changes depending on who I'm with. Anyway I can remember them frequently using the word "ta" and was a 5 year old I can recall I was somewhat bemused by this, and other words like water that they'd pronounce like the word "batter".

    This goes someway to affirm my opinion that this seems to be more of a working class origin, and as someone who's travelled around the UK it does tend to be used more widespread up north (and may be pronounced slightly differently depending on a persons accent). Around Yorkshire you'll often hear mothers telling their yound children to "say ta" rather than thank you, which may be why some people think it's "baby speak", but unlike "ta ta" (goodbye) which is baby speak the terms "ta" and "ta-ra" (goodbye) are not.

    As someone has already said it is more of an informal term, and may seem too flippant in certain situations.

    I guess though as the world is becoming a smaller place the use of the word has spread, I've got work colleauges I speak to in India using Instant Messaging who now regularly use "ta".

    Also with the use of "txt spk" in more recent years I often see it in written form from friends all over who've adopted shortened methods for saying thank you, thanks, thanx, thks, thx, ty and ta etc. Though I suspect some people may intend it to be an acronym of "Thanks Alot", but that's just personal opinion.

    Doing a bit of research I've also seen mention of it being of Danish origin, but I also found one sourch that suggested it may be from "Burmese (shortened from 'ta ta'), which was picked up and used by the English during the British colonial control of Burma." but I've struggled to find more info on this.

    p.s.
    I lived in Stoke for a few years and also noticed they use "duck" a lot as a term of endearment. In Yorkshire it tends to be "love", (i.e. "Hello love", "Ta love", or "There you go love" when handing something to someone). Some women (especially outside the region) may find this condescending coming from a man, but the truth is it wouldn't be out of place to say it to a young child or even a man to say it to another man, though perhaps not a common place. For men they'd more likely to say "cock", (i.e. "Alreyt cock" as a greeting, or "Howya doin cocker"), and using this term to someone outside the region can have amusing consequences.
     

    huntdag

    Member
    UK & Australia, English
    It is certainly also used in Australia and (I believe) New Zealand.

    I should add, with reference to one of the earlier comments, that whether you say 'ta' or not has nothing to do with ones level of education. It's more about the dialect or level of formality you happen to be using at the time. The idea that it's a Viking remnant is interesting.
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    I would also like to know more about the etimology of ta, meaning 'thank you'. I once heard that it comes from some Scandinavian language (Perhaps a Viking remnant? Which, by the way, would have given support to my 'North-of-England theory'). The online The English-to-American Dictionary also suggests the possibility of Scandinavian origin.
    The Concise Oxford Dictionary gives the origin as 18th century: a child's word.
     

    Jessica920

    New Member
    English
    That's very interesting, I never knew that it might have a Scandinavian origin, I thought it was just a lazifying of "Thanks".

    it is a shortage of thanks, coz i say it 4 thanks and so does everyone else i know , but not scandavian i dont think , ive only ever heard it been said in english =)
     

    Alxmrphi

    Senior Member
    UK English
    it is a shortage of thanks, coz i say it 4 thanks and so does everyone else i know , but not scandavian i dont think , ive only ever heard it been said in english =)

    You might say it as another option but it doesn't mean it's from it...
    I say ta more than I say thanks probably.

    Considering it's "takk" in most other Scandinavian languages and when the Vikings came over they brought a LOT of their language with them (<<-like that, the word them is Scandinavian)
     

    Jessica920

    New Member
    English
    You might say it as another option but it doesn't mean it's from it...
    I say ta more than I say thanks probably.

    Considering it's "takk" in most other Scandinavian languages and when the Vikings came over they brought a LOT of their language with them (<<-like that, the word them is Scandinavian)

    cool , i never knew that =)
     

    Alxmrphi

    Senior Member
    UK English
    cool , i never knew that =)
    Yeah it's amazing reading about the history of some words.
    But what I wanted to say was, obvious we know it's English now, we're not meaning it is still Scandinavian today, just that, hundreds of years ago it came from there and then stayed until today, so "of Scandinavian origin" I should have said.

    Welcome to the forum by the way :)
     
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