set phrases before/after meals

Discussion in 'Cultural Discussions' started by taked4700, May 5, 2009.

  1. taked4700 Senior Member

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

    What do you say before/after meals?
  2. Turoyaki

    Turoyaki Senior Member

    Mexico-US Border
    Mexican Spanish
    In Mexico, provecho before eating meals. I don't know of any for when you finish.
  3. brian

    brian Senior Member

    AmE (New Orleans)
    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.
  4. RaLo18 Senior Member

    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.
  5. sokol

    sokol Senior Member

    Vienna, Austria; raised in Upper Austria
    Austrian (as opposed to Australian)
    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. :D
  6. mirx Banned

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

    Turoyaki Senior Member

    Mexico-US Border
    Mexican Spanish

    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. federicoft Senior Member

    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. taked4700 Senior Member

    japanese japan
    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: May 6, 2009
  10. Grop

    Grop Senior Member

    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.
  11. Argónida

    Argónida Senior Member

    ¡Buen provecho!
    ¡Que aproveche!
  12. anikka Senior Member

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

    elirlandes Senior Member

    Dublin & Málaga
    Ireland English
    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.
  14. sdr083

    sdr083 Senior Member

    Norwegian (NN)
    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... :eek:
  15. brian

    brian Senior Member

    AmE (New Orleans)
    So you use takk for maten both before and after the meal? And it's obligatory for both?
  16. sdr083

    sdr083 Senior Member

    Norwegian (NN)
    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. :)
  17. brian

    brian Senior Member

    AmE (New Orleans)
    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.

  18. Trisia

    Trisia mod de viață

    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 :p -- for this meal). The host answers: Să vă fie de bine (much good may it do you)
    Last edited: May 18, 2009
  19. miguel89

    miguel89 Senior Member

    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.
  20. Chaska Ñawi

    Chaska Ñawi modus borealis

    an old Ontario farmhouse
    Canadian English
    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.
  21. mirx Banned

    It is said before, during or atfer the meal.

    If everyone starts eating at the same time someone will say "provecho".
    If people are already and somebody joins the table it is good manners of him to say "provecho" as a gesture to soften the interruption to those ones already dinning.

    If someone finishes beofore the rest and for some reason needs to leave before the others have finished, he is also expected to wish "provecho" to those ones remaining at the table.
  22. Chaska Ñawi

    Chaska Ñawi modus borealis

    an old Ontario farmhouse
    Canadian English
    You're right ... how could I have forgotten? It's a big part of etiquette at the comedores.
  23. Pedro y La Torre Senior Member

    Hauts-de-Seine, France
    English (Ireland)
    I hear enjoy far more than bon appetit, but in my family we don't really say anything at all, we just eat :D
  24. MarcB Senior Member

    US English
    In Arabic I hear before a meal bismallah( in the name of God) and after alHamdulillah(praise God).
  25. Turoyaki

    Turoyaki Senior Member

    Mexico-US Border
    Mexican Spanish
    Now that you mention it, that is the exact same usage of "provecho" in Mexico too, I'm sorry that I didn't mention those variations on my original post.

    One more is when you just enter the room in which people is eating already, you're also say "provecho" even if you don't seat at the table. However, this one is probably not very common anymore, it's mostly used at home but not much in restaurants, unless you're familiar with the clientele.
    Last edited: May 19, 2009
  26. Bashti

    Bashti Senior Member

    Madrid, España
    Español castellano.
    Actualmente en España no se dice nada. Resulta poco elegante. En familia o entre amigos cercanos se puede comentar lo bueno que está un plato pero en comidas de más protocolo no sería correcto. Únicamente se dan las gracias al despedirse.
  27. Encolpius

    Encolpius Senior Member

    Praha (Prague)
    magyar (Hungarian)
    I cannot say if it is a common Hungarian habit but my parents taught me to say "thank you" after finishing the meal as well. I am not sure but I think Czechs say is sometimes as well. So Hungarians before starting the meal: Jó étvágyat! ["enjoy your meal"], after: Köszönöm az ebédet! Köszönöm a vacsorát! [Thank you for the dinner/lunch] and the cook usually answers: Váljék egészségedre!
  28. The Lord of Gluttony Senior Member

    Turkish people say Afiyet olsun before meals. I guess the literal translation would be May there be health (for/upon you). It expresses the wishes of good health for the person who eats the meal.

    I am open to corrections.

    What about Guten Appetit? :) I have heard in Germany many times. People say guten Appetit after serving the meal, or when they see someone starting to eat his meal.
  29. irinet

    irinet Senior Member

    Religious families mostly, but also families who do not necessarily go to church so often, do say a prayer before meals and finish the meals with: "Mulțumescu-ți ție Doamne pentru ce ne-ai pus pe masă, sare, pâine, apă!" This means: "Thank you God/ Lord for what you have given us to eat, salt, bread and water". Mentioning the 3 products represents the appreciation for a tasty food (salt), the holy bread and the most important natural resource to drink, water. Of course, the sign of Cross, is not missing when talking to God.
    There is also a funny closing-sentence (in rhymes, like a song) that we use: "Săru'mâna pentru masă, / mâncarea gustoasă / și bucătăreasa frumoasă!" It means: "Thank you for the tasty meal and to the beautiful cook!" It implies the idea that the cook is always a female. We wont't say that to a male cook!
    See you
  30. Mackinder

    Mackinder Senior Member

    Español (Colombia)
    Before: Buen provecho
    After: Muchas gracias. Muchas gracias, estaba muy rico

  31. إسكندراني

    إسكندراني Senior Member

    أرض الأنجل
    عربي (مصر)ـ | en (gb)
    Before eating: besmella (invoking God's name)
    after eating: elhamdolellah (praising God)
    And to each other we say belhana welshefa before and/or after (with joy and healing)
    and to whoever made the food, teslam edek(i) (may your hands be safe)
    the last couple are peculiarly egyptian but all muslims say the first two
  32. velisarius Senior Member

    British English (Sussex)
    In Greek too it's polite to tell the person who cooked the meal or brought the home-made dessert "Health to your hands".

    When my mother-in-law used to begin the preparation of a traditional delicacy that would take some skill and hard work, she would say "In your name Panagia" (Virgin Mary).

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