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November 29, 2011


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Thank you, but how thorough, I wonder, was the Food Network research? If it's the same stuff reported in the Daily Mail (oh dear) it seems to be a poll of people being asked whether they say thank you and whether they think people say it less than they used to. I'd prefer a bit of real research. But if we are to rely on people's opinions, mine is thank you is very much alive (I hear it at shop counters every day, for instance), cheers has grown, but then ta has declined. And I'm almost certainly wrong.

Virtual Linguist

Thanks, Picky. Oh, I'm sure it was a very frivolous survey designed mainly to promote themselves. I agree that thank you is very much alive - people thank cash machines all the time, I find, me included. As for 'ta', maybe it's a regional thing, as I remember my Mum and her friends saying it a lot.


Isn't "ta" more of a Liverpudlian term?


Oh no John, no John, no John, no.

As a Londoner who uses it freely, no. You've watched too many Beatles movies.

Virtual Linguist

Thank you for answering John's point, Picky. As my Mum was a Liverpudlian, I began to wonder if 'ta' was a Liverpudlian term. I live in Guildford now, and I don't remember ever hearing it here!


Love the reply, Picky, but alas, I have never actually watched a Beatles movie. I do plead guilty to severe overexposure to LFC-TV, though (watching LFC v Chelsea Carling Cup replay as we speak). Thanks :)


It occurs to me that "ta" may be an urban term. I'll try to find out.


I can find no sign that it is more urban than rural or in any other way regional, except that the Urban Dictionary suggests it comes from the Danish "tak", meaning thanks. That would give us a nice way of explaining a Danelaw regionalism that includes London and Liverpool. But the UD seems to stand alone.

OED, ODE, Merriam-Webster, Oxford Etymological Dictionary, Chambers, Partridge all say it comes from baby talk (hypocoristic or affected says Chambers, rather affectedly). I fear we have to go with the folk in Oxford.

Virtual Linguist

Thank you for all that research and unearthing that interesting information, Picky. I suppose people do say 'ta' to babies, mimicking their sounds, so perhaps that's how it arose.

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