"Thank you anyway!" and other misuses of English

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This is an open question to anyone who lived in the Republic of Korea 2002-2003:

Do you remember when Koreans began using the expression, Thank you anyway, in the same way a person would say, Thank you very much or Thank you kindly?

It's interesting because, as anyone who's lived in the ROK can attest, Koreans tend to think and act the same as all other Koreans, as if there were some kind of collective unconscious at work.  Korean-Koreans (Koreans who live in Korea and are not Kyopos or other Korean-_______s -- they love to begin sentences, "We Koreans..." as if ALL Koreans were in agreement with whatever they were saying.  In most cases, they ARE in agreement -
- gotta support the team! Puddy

Flashback to 2002.  I was living in Seoul and my Korean ex, YD from the Culturebook series, she would ask me to do her a favor, and then, after I'd completed the task, when the time came for expression of gratitude, YD would look at me and say, "Thank you anyway!" 

At first, I thought it was strange -- Thank you anyway is what you say to someone who CAN'T help you.  As in: "Sorry, I can't help you."  "Thank you, anyway."  That's the correct usage.  To use Thank you anyway as a form of thank you is very  RUDE.  It's practically a non-sequeter.  YD basically started saying, Thank you anyway, EVERYTIME she thanked somebody.  We broke up soon afterward, so I never learned where she picked up that expression.

In 2002 I left Seoul and by 2003 I was living near Cheongju, working at the Korean National University of Education (KNUE), training high school and middle school English teachers.  My group, group 9, consisisted of 10 teachers ages ranging from 28 to 50ish.  Many were married with children, some were still single -- all were English teachers in public schools.  In any event, some of these TRAINEES, all of whom were proficient in English to some degree, were fond of saying, "Thank you anyway," when a simple thank you would have sufficed.

I finally began looking into the issue and discovered that somewhere (no one knew exactly where it originated, perhaps EBoYoung's English program or some other Korean-based English program) but somebody at the start of the new millennium began teaching the expression, Thank you anyway, as a way of expressing gratitude. 

Objectively, if you don't know English well, it's one more word than thank you, so it COULD very well be a more endearing form of thank you, like  thank you very much, or thank you kindly.  However, as any NES knows, adding the conditional  anyway changes the meaning substantially.

In a sense, teaching thank you anyway as a form of thank you, is a kind of lingo-terrorism, whereby students learn incorrect English and thereby inadvertently respond rudely.  They don't even realize it!  Their eyes light up in gratitude and then they say, "Thank you anyway,"  as if you did nothing!  It's like when Cheech in the movie Up in Smoke teaches Chong that 'Pendejo' means 'my very good friend' and then in the next scene Chong starts yelling out his car window to passing East LA homeboys, "Hey pendejos!"  Pendejo literally means coward in a derogatory sense, but is commonly used as one would use dumbass or moron.

I remember trying to convince my trainees that saying "Thank you anyway" is rude.  They didn 't believe me at first. Instead, they believed that the unknown, original  SOURCE was correct.  The expression's misuse could have originated on a single EBS radio program, and from there became a NEW USEFUL EXPRESSION, albeit wrong, that suddenly ALL Koreans began using, very much like ALL Koreans believing in 'Fan Death', or that 'French people eat monkey brains' or 'Korean babies gestate for 10 months'.  There are many other such 'facts' that all Korean-Koreans believe.

After a few days/weeks of my trainees investigating the matter of Thank you anyway, i.e., inteweb searches or talking to other foreign born NES instructors, they began to realize that I was correct and all trainees stopped using the expression Thank You Anyway to express gratitude.  It actually took a long time for my trainees to finally come around.

People will believe anything if they trust the Source. Gotta support the team!

In conclusion, I know not how many people actually read this blog.  I just want to say from the bottom of my heart, to all those who read my blog reguarly, for all your support and your readership,

"Thank you anyway!"  I mean, "Thank you!" 



 

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