sci.lang.japan FAQ / 4. Words from other languages

4.1. Is arigatou (arigato) related to Portuguese "obrigado"?

No. Arigatou (ありがとう), the Japanese for "thank you", comes from arigatai (有難い), a conjunction of the verb aru, "to have", with the ending gatai (難い) which means "difficult". The "ou" ending comes from the conjunction of the adjectival arigataku with the polite verb gozaimasu (originally from gozaru).

Other common examples of this type of conjugation include omedetō gozaimasu (congratulations) from medetaku and ohayō gozaimasu (good morning) from hayaku. The word arigatai existed in Japanese long before the Japanese ever encountered Portuguese. It can be found in some of the earliest Japanese literature such as the manyōshū (See 1.3.10. What is ?). Similarly, "obrigado" in Portuguese comes from Latin "obligare". The change from l to r is typical of Latin-derived Portuguese words.

(See also 4.2. Which Japanese words come from Portuguese?)

sci.lang.japan FAQ / 4. Words from other languages

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