Author Topic: Response to "thank you" in Australia/New Zealand  (Read 1401 times)

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Zizi-K

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Response to "thank you" in Australia/New Zealand
« on: July 14, 2014, 01:12:43 PM »
I'm an American, and I just returned from spending a little over two weeks in Australia and New Zealand. It was a wonderful trip, and I could go on for ages about all of the amazing things I saw, food I ate, and great people I met. I did notice one thing that I wondered about, and thought this would be a good place to ask. In the US, the proper response to "thank you" is "you're welcome" or "my pleasure." Plenty of people do say, "no problem" "sure thing" or the like, but it is my understanding that these are pretty informal modes response. I have heard people complain (here or elsewhere) about the "no problem" phenomenon, because in response to an expression of gratitude, the implication of "no problem" seems to be "don't worry, you didn't inconvenience me" or "I didn't mind doing you the favor," and neither of these are exactly a great sentiment to express.

However, during my travels in the Antipodes, it was extremely common for people to respond "no worries" or "it's alright." And the people who would respond like this were not just my peers, but also service people at rather fancy hotels, who would have more of a vested interest in retaining some kind of formality.

So, my questions are: is this the common and typical ways to respond to "thank you"? Could my thanks have come off as too effusive? (I thought that once or twice when the intonation of "it's alright" sounded a lot like, "no really, its really alright!") Do people ever say "you're welcome" or does that sound too formal?


Nesca

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Re: Response to "thank you" in Australia/New Zealand
« Reply #1 on: July 14, 2014, 10:31:28 PM »
An Aussie here: I think that Australia on the whole is probably a more casual and less formal place. I know I use 'No worries' all the time, often in response to a 'thank you'. I usually mean it more in the place of 'My pleasure' as in, I was very happy to do the favour/service for that person. I certainly don't want the person I am talking to think they have been an imposition, quite the opposite in fact.

For me, 'You're Welcome' would be more formal but certainly not unheard of. It doesn't tend to be something I use very often in everyday conversation though. Did you get "no worries mate' as that is quite common as well but more so in rural areas than urban.

purple

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Re: Response to "thank you" in Australia/New Zealand
« Reply #2 on: July 14, 2014, 10:52:29 PM »
I'm Australian and it is correct here to respond to 'thank you' with 'you're welcome'.

I, personally, make an effort to always respond in this manner because of the reasons you highlight above.

Although I'm personally not a fan, I can assure you that Australians who respond with 'it's alright' or some other variation mean absolutely no ill will or offence  :).

Psychopoesie

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Re: Response to "thank you" in Australia/New Zealand
« Reply #3 on: July 14, 2014, 11:09:15 PM »
Agree that no worries is really common in all sorts of settings. I wouldn't expect people to use the joker versions (like no wucking furries) in formal situations.

It's so automatic for me I don't think I even register it.

It's not meant to imply that whatever you're thanking the person for could have been a problem. Neither does "it's all right".

No worries (or it's all right) also gets used in response to apologies, like if you accidentally bump into someone in the street. So I can see why someone might think that. But it feels different, somehow. To me, anyway.

Correct or not, I can't actually remember the last time I said you're welcome. It doesn't feel natural to me.





katycoo

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Re: Response to "thank you" in Australia/New Zealand
« Reply #4 on: July 15, 2014, 01:27:51 AM »
What you experienced is very common and usual.  "You're welcome" is said, but it is on the formal side of things.
Don't read into it - you were likely perfectly fine.

MariaE

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Re: Response to "thank you" in Australia/New Zealand
« Reply #5 on: July 15, 2014, 02:41:09 AM »
Agree with PPs - "No worries" is the most common - if less formal - response to a thank you. I wouldn't read anything into it.

I never knew that some people didn't like that reply... would it help if you rephrased it in your mind, so it wasn't a "No worries, I didn't mind doing you the favour", but rather a "No worries, I'm happy to do you a favour", because I promise you that whenever I use it (and I use it a lot when speaking English), that's exactly what I mean :)
 
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oz diva

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Re: Response to "thank you" in Australia/New Zealand
« Reply #6 on: July 15, 2014, 03:05:52 AM »
No worries drives my mother crazy, she always wants to ask them, why would it be a worry, or a problem, it is, after all, your job? I don't think people even think about what they're saying, it's just an automatic response.

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CakeEater

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Re: Response to "thank you" in Australia/New Zealand
« Reply #7 on: July 15, 2014, 06:01:13 AM »
I say 'no worries' all the time. Like others, I'd feel really odd saying 'you're welcome'. Although my 5 year-old says it - I've no idea where she picked it up.


cabbageweevil

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Re: Response to "thank you" in Australia/New Zealand
« Reply #8 on: July 15, 2014, 10:53:18 AM »
Something I recently came across, in an account of a couple's hitch-hiking around Australia -- a variant of "no worries": "no dramas".  Meaning the same thing, and always benign: "It's OK, I / we am / are, happy to help".  Nonetheless -- sorry, but my feelings are, from a British perspective: you upside-down people are just strange  ;) ...

Another Sarah

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Re: Response to "thank you" in Australia/New Zealand
« Reply #9 on: July 15, 2014, 01:48:31 PM »
Something I recently came across, in an account of a couple's hitch-hiking around Australia -- a variant of "no worries": "no dramas".  Meaning the same thing, and always benign: "It's OK, I / we am / are, happy to help".  Nonetheless -- sorry, but my feelings are, from a British perspective: you upside-down people are just strange  ;) ...

I hear (and say) no worries/no problem all the time, and I'm a Brit.
I think it's just a more informal way of saying the same thing, it would never occur to me to think of it having any negative implication, but (and I'm not being snarky) what's the actual difference between saying no problems and you're welcome? To me they both mean roughly the same - but to me "no problems" implies "it was such a small thing there's no need for thanks" and You're welcome means "I acknowledge you thanking me and accept your thanks"
I kind of find the latter more of an implication that the favour was an inconvenience. (Not saying it's wrong or that I would be offended, it's just formally acknowledging their debt of thanks, while the other is playing down the need for it)

CakeEater

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Re: Response to "thank you" in Australia/New Zealand
« Reply #10 on: July 15, 2014, 07:32:33 PM »
Something I recently came across, in an account of a couple's hitch-hiking around Australia -- a variant of "no worries": "no dramas".  Meaning the same thing, and always benign: "It's OK, I / we am / are, happy to help".  Nonetheless -- sorry, but my feelings are, from a British perspective: you upside-down people are just strange  ;) ...

Yes, yes we are.  :)

You'd like my friend a few years ago, who always said, 'No drama, cane farmer.' Why a cane farmer? Who knows. But it tickled me, and I use it sometimes when I'm feeling silly.

cabbageweevil

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Re: Response to "thank you" in Australia/New Zealand
« Reply #11 on: July 16, 2014, 01:43:35 AM »
Something I recently came across, in an account of a couple's hitch-hiking around Australia -- a variant of "no worries": "no dramas".  Meaning the same thing, and always benign: "It's OK, I / we am / are, happy to help".  Nonetheless -- sorry, but my feelings are, from a British perspective: you upside-down people are just strange  ;) ...

Yes, yes we are.  :)

You'd like my friend a few years ago, who always said, 'No drama, cane farmer.' Why a cane farmer? Who knows. But it tickled me, and I use it sometimes when I'm feeling silly.

Wonderful expression !  I'll borrow it too, if I may...

Psychopoesie

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Re: Response to "thank you" in Australia/New Zealand
« Reply #12 on: July 16, 2014, 01:54:00 AM »
Something I recently came across, in an account of a couple's hitch-hiking around Australia -- a variant of "no worries": "no dramas".  Meaning the same thing, and always benign: "It's OK, I / we am / are, happy to help".  Nonetheless -- sorry, but my feelings are, from a British perspective: you upside-down people are just strange  ;) ...

Yes, yes we are.  :)

You'd like my friend a few years ago, who always said, 'No drama, cane farmer.' Why a cane farmer? Who knows. But it tickled me, and I use it sometimes when I'm feeling silly.

Wonderful expression !  I'll borrow it too, if I may...

It's a good one. It seems like a variation on the other rhyming sayings like far out, brussel sprout, what's the deal, banana peel or in a while, crocodile. They're fun.

Fliss

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Re: Response to "thank you" in Australia/New Zealand
« Reply #13 on: July 16, 2014, 03:08:37 AM »

So, my questions are: is this the common and typical ways to respond to "thank you"? Could my thanks have come off as too effusive? (I thought that once or twice when the intonation of "it's alright" sounded a lot like, "no really, its really alright!") Do people ever say "you're welcome" or does that sound too formal?

Aussies and Kiwis are very relaxed about life. To us, we're saying "of course I can help you, it's no trouble at all to get you that water, I'm glad it's to your liking, and please let me know if you need anything else."

Since we're so relaxed, and that would take too long, we simply say "no worries."

It's more worrying when we start being exacting and very eloquent. This tends to mean we're up to something, or you've done something very bad.
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cabbageweevil

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Re: Response to "thank you" in Australia/New Zealand
« Reply #14 on: July 16, 2014, 04:03:09 PM »
It's a good one. It seems like a variation on the other rhyming sayings like far out, brussel sprout, what's the deal, banana peel or in a while, crocodile. They're fun.
I like it in Lawrence Block's "Matt Scudder" thrillers; with the private-investigator hero's assistant, an extremely sharp and mouthy black street kid, who is always making up on the spur of the moment, these kind of things: "Don't worry, Murray"; "I'm parked at the kerb, Herb"; "They dressed for success, Bess"; and so on ad infinitum.