Obrigado Posted by Transparent Language on Nov 7, 2007 in False Friends
Obrigado means thank you in Portuguese.
The first word many people learn in Portuguese, obrigado is certainly extremely useful.
Since the word is the past participle of the verb obrigar, it is necessary to use the appropriate gender of the word. Males should say obrigado and females ought to use obrigada. As one might imagine, this is a common mistake among beginner Portuguese learners.
Some have speculated that the word obrigado is cognate with the Japanese word for thank you, arigatou (gozaimasu). I’ve heard this one a lot; let me save you a lot of hassle and debate: there is no such connection, though some insist that there is. As I understand it, the coincidence is really amazing; beyond sounding exactly alike, and being commonly used for the same purpose, arigatou and obrigado have even another level of commonality. Arigatou “…is based on two
Chinese characters, one meaning “difficult” and the other “to be”. In other words, I’m so indebted to you, I’m having a hard time even existing over here…” [source].
Given that obrigado literally means ‘I am obligated [to you],’ the coincidence is really spooky. One word derives from Latin (obligare) and the other from ancient Japanese, and yet the two words sound almost the same, literally mean close to the same thing which in both cases is different from the common usage of the word, which is the same for both words. Wow.