It’s nothing.

Pronunciation Guide on Link:
Pronunciation Guide on Link:


My dad has grown a bit more curmudgeonly over the years, which is his right because, well, he’s a wonderful, funny person. If he wants to get annoyed by some of life’s peculiarities, far be it from me to roll my now-adult eyes at him. For example, he is annoyed when wait staff or service folks say, “No problem” instead of “You’re welcome.” He finds this too casual and familiar. However, it seems the rest of the world does not agree. Many forms of “you’re welcome” come at the expense of pinky-out-at-tea-time etiquette. The expression ‘de nada’ or ‘de rien’ means ‘of nothing’ versus the more formal ‘con gusto’ or ‘je vous en prie.’ Recognizing someone’s gratitude or gift is perhaps more tricky than being the gift-giver, so being humble, or ‘nothing’ shows –what exactly? This linguistic phenomenon fascinates me.

The other evening a good friend returned from an Eastern journey, and since he nudged me toward WordPress, I thanked him. His response was “buyongxie,” or as he told me, literally, no need to thank or it’s nothing. Ever have one of those moments where you have to drop everything and create a new character? There should be a word for that. Until we think of one: I had to create Buyongxie, a Gnome warlock:

No need to thank me.
No need to thank me.

How could I resist? There was no way, no possible way, for me not to  allow this little Nǚhái to exist. You understand. Actually, I suspect it was my yak who really prompted me: these mounts demand gnome riders. 

Funny caveat: Kam saw I was on a gnome warlock with a funny name and thought my account had been hacked. No, I just hack myself Kam – and THANK YOU for having my back and watching out for me! That was pretty cool.


10 thoughts on “It’s nothing.”

  1. Must be something in the water. I was playing around with a gnome today, well if you count the 3D model on WoWHead. She looks like she’s about to fall off his rump. 😛

  2. Your little linguistics story reminded me of something I’d read in Brain Pickings (a quote from Debt: The First 5000 Years,
    “The English “please” is short for “if you please,” “if it pleases you to do this” — it is the same in most European languages (French si il vous plait, Spanish por favor). Its literal meaning is “you are under no obligation to do this.” “Hand me the salt. Not that I am saying that you have to!” This is not true; there is a social obligation, and it would be almost impossible not to comply. But etiquette largely consists of the exchange of polite fictions (to use less polite language, lies). When you ask someone to pass the salt, you are also giving them an order; by attaching the word “please,” you are saying that it is not an order. But, in fact, it is.

    In English, “thank you” derives from “think,” it originally meant, “I will remember what you did for me” — which is usually not true either — but in other languages (the Portuguese obrigado is a good example) the standard term follows the form of the English “much obliged” — it actually does means “I am in your debt.” The French merci is even more graphic: it derives from “mercy,” as in begging for mercy; by saying it you are symbolically placing yourself in your benefactor”s power — since a debtor is, after all, a criminal. Saying “you’re welcome,” or “it’s nothing” (French de rien, Spanish de nada) — the latter has at least the advantage of often being literally true — is a way of reassuring the one to whom one has passed the salt that you are not actually inscribing a debit in your imaginary moral account book. So is saying “my pleasure” — you are saying, “No, actually, it’s a credit, not a debit — you did me a favor because in asking me to pass the salt, you gave me the opportunity to do something I found rewarding in itself!” …”

    Great minds!

    1. Now: challenge mode – explain to a toddler that saying “please” and “thank you” is not a ‘get out of jail free card’ in every circumstance.

      This is excellent – you knew I was trying to tease this out!

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