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At home in Australia my neighbouring shop owners are from Shanghai and taught me some Chinese.

From them I learned two ways of responding to "谢谢" (xièxiè):

  • "不客气" (bù kèqì)
  • "谢谢你" (xièxiè nǐ)

So I guess these mean roughly "you're welcome", "don't mention it", "it's nothing", etc.

Now that I've travelled in China and Taiwan I can only recall hearing the former. I've tried using the latter here and nobody reacts strangely like when I say other things wrong.

Is one more casual than the other? Are they used in different regions? Could one be more used in Shanghai? Or are there some slight connotations different? When is it better to use one or the other?

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5 Answers 5

Stepping in for my Chinese to Australian translations:
Also a couple of other phrases that are good to keep in your toolkit

Thank you


谢谢 Xièxiè

Is the most basic and common way of saying thank you
Australian Translation:
Cheers
Thanks

谢谢你 Xièxiè nǐ

This is a more sincere or formal way of saying thank you
Australian Translation:
Thank you
Thanks Heaps

多​谢 Duōxiè

Translates to many thanks, Where 谢谢你 Xièxiè nǐ is used to more formally express a greater amount of thanks 多​谢 Duōxiè is a slightly more casual way of saying the same.
Australian Translation:
Cheers mate this helped a ton
Thanks, I really appreciate this

我​很​感​谢​ Wǒ hěn gǎnxiè

Translates to I am very thankful/Grateful. This term I'm less familiar with but to me it would be to a way of expressing a large amount of gratitude in a formal manner. Same sort of situations 您 Nín is used over 你 Nǐ
Australian Translation:
Thank you sir, I appreciate this.

Responses


不客气 Bù kèqì

The best translation for this is No politeness necessary or more commonly You're welcome
Australian Translation:
You're welcome

不用谢 Bùyòng xiè

It literately means "No need thanks"
Australian Translation:
Don't worry about it mate

没事 Méishì

It literally translates to "Nothing Thing" but a more natural translation would be it's nothing / never mind Australian Translation:
It was nothing mate (As in it was no trouble)


Post thoughts

Responding to 谢谢 (xièxiè) with 谢谢你 (xièxiè nǐ) although would be understood it isn't a way I have heard before. I think it would work well if someone who you were in a position to thank thanked you before you said thank you. An example would be purchasing something from someone as you're both equally profiting from the interaction but if the thanks are one sided I wouldn't use 谢谢你

I mean if you helped a lady up after she tripped and then thanked her for letting you help her she would scream 变态 (biàntài) and slap you across the face assuming you took some sick joy in it


Bonus way of saying thanks

note: this is not about the Chinese language but the Chinese culture

When someone pours you a cup of tea rather then vocalizing your thanks you can tap 2 fingers on the table.

This custom is said to have originated in the Qing Dynasty when Emperor Qian Long would travel in disguise through the empire. Servants were told not to reveal their master's identity. One day in a restaurant, the emperor, after pouring himself a cup of tea, filled a servant's cup as well. To that servant it was a huge honour to have the emperor pour him a cup of tea. Out of reflex he wanted to kneel and express his thanks. He could not kneel and kowtow to the emperor since that would reveal the emperor's identity so he bent his fingers on the table to express his gratitude and respect to the emperor.

-Partial Extract from Wikipedia

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Heh, great answer :D –  Cocowalla Jan 29 at 8:15
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I think it's the same in English. If you've helped someone and they say 谢谢 (thank you), your response should be 不客气 (you're welcome). It's strange to reply 谢谢你 (thank you [too]) unless maybe you both mutually helped each other in some way.

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I know my lady neighbour answers "谢谢你" when I say "谢谢" when I buy something in her shop or when I receive the change, etc. Her husband always answers "不客气". –  hippietrail Jan 28 at 20:04
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I see! That makes sense. She's thanking you back for shopping at her place. 谢谢你 still means "thank you" and is not interchangeable with 不客气 (literally "不用客气" no need to be so polite). –  amateur Jan 28 at 20:58
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Ouch, I got two negative votes. Can someone explain what's wrong with my comment? –  amateur Jan 29 at 13:07
    
Sorry about the negative votes! To me, your answer with your first comment makes is one of the better ones given the context. Please add the information from your first comment into your answer. I'm voting you up. Downvoters please let us know what's wrong! –  hippietrail Jan 29 at 14:05
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Hong Kongers use 多謝 (do ze) and 唔該 (ng goi). Both mean thank you. But they have slightly different connotations / usage.

For 多謝, it usually means thank you for something which others gave you such as present or cash.

For 唔該, it usually means thank you for some service that others offer to you (For example, someone helped you open a door, you can say 唔該).

Foreigners usually mix up these two words and it is a bit hilarious for locals.

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From then I learned two ways of responding to "谢谢" (xièxiè)

I don't think so:

"谢谢你" (Thank you) is really a response to those who have helped you. However, to give a respectful response to them, you would say "不用谢" or 不客气. So "不客气" is a very polite reply to "Thank you", but you cannot equate "谢谢" with "不客气"。

A very typical scenario is:

A: Please help me with ……

A: Many thanks for your help. *非常感谢*你的帮助。

B: You're welcome 不用谢。

However we don't say anything like this:

A: Please help me with ……

A: You are welcome…… (It's not right in Chinese, either)

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I guess, it's a little too formal.
Just say ‘谢了’(thanks) is ok.
Never mind / No problem ‘没关系’ is a little bit more casual than ‘不客气’, so it's better to be casual when you speak.

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