thank you / by Anthony Gibbins

When learning a language, thank you is one of the first things you learn. But when learning a so-called Dead Language – like Latin – these niceties are too often ignored.

I once had a German friend staying with me who asked to be taught some Latin. I lent her the Oxford Latin Course and she turned out to be a very quick learner – not surprising, as she had already mastered German, English and a good deal of French. After completing Chapter 7 she lamented that she had not yet learnt to say thank you but could easily form tuum amicum mortuum e casa in hortum tecum portare possum. I am able to carry your dead friend out of the house and into the garden with you. Fortunately, that never became necessary.

Thank you, in its standard form, is gratias tibi ago. Literally, something like I drive-forth thanks for the benefit of you. Hence in today’s story Marcellus multas gratias Alano agit. Marcellus drives-forth much thanks for the benefit of Alan.

The appropriate response, by the way, is libenter. This is an Adverb meaning with pleasure, willingly, gladly.

Soon, the hair having been cut, Marcellus gives much thanks to Alan and exits (from out of) the barber shop. Alan meanwhile sweeps the pavement with his broom.