Origin of French 'merci'

macta123

Senior Member
India,Hindi
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.
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Hello,

I wanted to know the orgin of ' Merci ' (Thank you). Does this come from Latin or Frank?
 
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  • 1mark1

    New Member
    English
    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'
     

    Hulalessar

    Senior Member
    English - England
    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.
     

    merquiades

    Senior Member
    English (USA Northeast)
    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
     

    1mark1

    New Member
    English
    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.
     

    fdb

    Senior Member
    French (France)
    "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).
     

    1mark1

    New Member
    English
    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 :)
     

    1mark1

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

    killerbee256

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

    Ben Jamin

    Senior Member
    Polish
    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.
     

    francisgranada

    Senior Member
    Hungarian
    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".
     

    fdb

    Senior Member
    French (France)
    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.
     

    Ben Jamin

    Senior Member
    Polish
    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?
     
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    fdb

    Senior Member
    French (France)
    I think we have got stuck in the sand. Maybe we all agree on this:

    -merci is from Latin, not from Aramaic

    -the French word was borrowed into Arabic dialects, Turkish, Neo-Aramaic, Persian etc. etc.
     
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