Skip to content

The meaning of Arigato Gojaimashita

June 9, 2011

Mohan, mdashf

Some time ago I had promised somewhere that I would tell you the meaning of Arigato Gojaimasu which is very popularly translated as Thank (you) very much. But it isn’t clear.

Even with the analysis that I found somewhere and truncated it to my own understanding coming from my own experiences in Japan I would still bother how it relates exactly to Odia (my nativity language) but not through English. This latter ambition I will try to accomplish later. The former is the following.

The original (as original as I could find) of Arigato Gojaimasu is actually Ari-katai Ari-masu

where Ari = “is” = exist (it’s different forms could be Aru, Arimasu, Arimasen etc…)

In Odia achhi (achi?) Achha, achhanti, thae, thibaru, thibe jadi, thibe ta, thai paranti, asichhanti, asi thai paranti, hebaru (negatve: nahanti, na thibaru, nathile, asinahanti…etc)

ଓଡିଆ ରେ ଅଛି (ଅଚି? in archaic use??) ଅଚ୍ଛ?, ଅଛନ୍ତି, ଥାଏ, ଥିବାରୁ, ଥିବେ ଯଦି, ଥିବେ ତ, ଥାଇ ପାରନ୍ତି, ଆସିଛନ୍ତି, ଆସି ଥାଇ ପାରନ୍ତି, ହେବାରୁ (negative: ନାହାନ୍ତି, ନ ଥିବାରୁ, ନଥିଲେ, ଆସିନାହାନ୍ତି…etc)


(Nihongo) aru ka? = (Odia) achhi ki?

(Nihongo) Arimasen ne !! = (Odia) nahin na !!

(or’ “nai ne” in Japaese which is exactly “nahin na” in Odia)

see that we don’t in Odia, say “achhi-nahin” as a negative of achhi (which is exactly what “ari-masen” is but may be extinct from current usage in Odia!!)

“arimasen” (= “nahin”) is negative of “arimasu” which is “achhi”.

Gojaimasu is an honorific (respectability implied in use) of arimasu.

In short “ari” and “aru” >> gozaru, gojaimasu etc.

(is it same in Odia as “acch-anti? the “a’n’ti” towards end of any word makes it honorific in Odia)

SO it’s not only when a direct person is involved but when it’s meant to a person it could carry the weight of that person and inherit the respect meant to the person through that verb or noun as also in case of Odia very much.

(in Hindi “Hai” is replced by “Hain” for such situations, but very artificial in regards of language structure, I mean not very elaborate like other older Indian languages)

(In case of Odia it’s vey complicated to say at this stage because there is hardly any research going on in these lines for Indian languages, let alone Odia, look at the tremendous material available for Japanese –English linguistic relations and look for any Indian languages except a few mentions here and a few there, this is what happens when politicians and their cronies, read a brother or a relative or a friend, rule our establishments through law or through perversion of law. seriously!!)

For arigato one has to read the following answer, very enlightening.

(again the “ari” here means “is, be..have” types)

Here is the answer from some one at Yahoo answers:


Gozaimasu comes from an old verb gozaru, which is really a humble form of aru.

It’s not only used in ohayo gozaimasu or arigatou gozaimasu.

For example, if you go to a restaurant and ask if they have tempura, the waiter/waitress may say “hai, gozaimasu”, which means, “yes, we (humbly) have”.

[noun] “de gozaimasu” is really “de aru”, or more often abbreviated to “desu”, meaning “it is [noun]
It is used for yourself or people in your own group. For example: “Tanaka de gozaimasu” (I’m Tanaka), or “ni kai de gozaimasu” this is the second floor, spoken by someone working in a department store…


The other person gives this interesting and educated answer


When you use an adjective with the polite auxiliary verb gozaimasu, you have to change the ending of the adjective. The polite prefix o is often added too. This way of making an adjective polite came from Kansai (Western Japan) dialects, which have more contracted pronunciation than Tokyo dialect, so it’s more complicated in a viewpoint of pronunciation and grammar.

In Standard Japanese, you have to change the suffix -i to -ku when you add the auxiliary adjective nai, such as takai to takaku nai. The Kansai people say takô nai instead of takaku nai, and ôkyû nai instead of ôkiku nai. The adjective gozaimasu has the same rule.

Original /k/ lost Final
-aku -au -ô
-iku -iu -yû
-uku -uu -û
-oku -ou -ô

takai → takô gozaimasu
ôkii → ôkyû gozaimasu
atsui → atsû gozaimasu
osoi → osô gozaimasu

The adjective hayai (early) becomes hayô gozaimasu, and adding the prefix o gives ohayô gozaimasu. Also the adjective medetai (happy event) gives omedetô gozaimasu, and the compound adjective arigatai (the verb aru = exist, the adjective katai = rare, i.e. rarely exist) gives arigatô gozaimasu.


One very nice exercise would be to translate all this Japanese words and structures into their corresponding Odia (as I taught in that elaborate example, ofcourse those who understand these languages to some extent) SO if I don’t have anything serious I will do this myself. But ARIGATO GOJAIMASHITA = THANK YOU VERY MUCH = DHA’NYA-VA’DA. No body did a modern analysis so far, we depend heavily on languages that are pretty outdated for translation because more studies may be available there. But with this analyis it would be something like “(Asi) thibaru dhanya heli, dekha hebaru dhanya heli”, so to sum up dhanyabad, neither we use our elaborate sentences in formal usage nor the formally defined words in day to day usage. We have a huge gap between formalism and colloquial usage. We never worked had to maintain that gap.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: