It can be hard to express your gratitude to someone, especially if you have to do it in another language. While a lot of people do speak English, thanking someone in their native tongue is both thoughtful and creative.
But how exactly would you do it? To help you, this article will go over the difference between two words that are used to express gratitude in Italian: gratzi and gratzia.
A Brief History
The Italian language is rich in vocabulary and nuance, and most complete dictionaries can contain from 80,000 to 250,000 entries.
But before we get to the main part, let’s go over a brief history of the Italian language.
Italian, like most great things, originated from Rome. This makes Italian the romance language, similar to Spanish, French, and Portuguese.
The Romans spread far and wide, colonizing many nations and bringing their culture and language to those nations. One can argue that the reason Latin became the ‘madre franca’ (shared language) of the Empire is due to Roman influence.
However, near the fall of the Empire around the 5th century, the local and native (or vernacular) forms of Italian started to spread.
According to Brigham Young University (BYU), the first written form of the vernacular dialect dates back to 960. The documents are referred to as the Placiti-Cassinesi, four legal documents regarding the ownership of land by a monastery.
Italian experienced a massive surge during the 1300s, due to the three great revolutionary writers: Dante Alighieri, Giovanni Boccaccio, and Francesco Petrarch. These writers brought about the Tuscan dialect, which is historically considered to be the foundation for modern Italian.
Is Italian popular today?
The Italian language has a deep and cultured history and has slowly spread itself through different nations over time. America was first exposed to Italian in the late 20th century, as Italians immigrated en masse to find new employment opportunities.
In fact, between 1820 and 1953, approximately 5.3 million Italians moved to the United States, though some percentage did return back to Italy.
Now, Italian is one of the most spoken languages in America, with nearly 15 million people reporting themselves as Italian-Americans.
Fun Fact: The word “America” originates from the Italian word Amerigo Vespucci.
As per various sources, Italian is spoken by approximately 600,000 people in Italy and is the official language of Italy, San Marino, Vatican City, and Switzerland. It is also a common language in France, Slovenia, Brazil, Argentina, and the United States.
Is Italian easy to learn?
Italian is very easy to learn, especially for English speakers.
More than a quarter of the English comes from Latin through another romantic language, such as Spanish or Italian.
In addition, both English and Italian come from the Proto-Indo-European family, meaning that both languages follow the same grammatical format “subject-verb-object”.
Learning a new language is always worth it, and will help you communicate with more people than if you didn’t, with nearly 85 million people speaking Italian globally.
According to a CNN poll, the Italian language is considered one of the “sexiest accents” in the world. Who knows? You might be able to impress your date while you speak fluent Italian!
So is it Gratzi or Gratzia?
Firstly, let’s clear up a small misunderstanding.
There is no Italian word such as gratzi or gratzia.
These are simply Americanized versions of the proper Italian words: grazie and grazia. This difference may have arisen due to a cultural misconception.
Expressing gratitude rightly in Italian…
Now that we’ve gone over the main points of Italian and why it’s a fantastic language, we can get to the heart of the issue.
Suppose you wanted to express your gratitude to your Italian neighbor, how would you do, and what words would you use?
English speakers may not properly comprehend proper Italian pronunciation, so they don’t realize that every letter must be pronounced individually (the “-ie” at the end doesn’t merge together as it would in English).
To learn how an Italian would express gratitude, you can watch the following video:
So essentially, there is no real difference between gratzi and gratzia, as those words don’t exist in the Italian dictionary.
You must avoid using them in front of a native speaker to avoid confusion.
Now, grazie (pronounced GrA-tzEE-Eh) means “thanks”. Grazie is a universal expression of gratitude, as it can be used regardless of status, familiarity, and gender.
Some examples of what you can say to express gratitude are:
- “Grazie per il cibo” which translates to “Thank you for the food.”
- “Grazie per l’aiuto” translating into “Thank you for your help.”
- “Grazie per il consiglio” or “Thanks for the advice.”
Contrary to popular belief, grazia is not the feminine form of grazie. Instead, grazia is the singular form of grazie. While grazie can be used to thank someone, regardless of gender, grazia cannot be used to express thanks in any context.
Grazia translates to “Grace”, meaning it is no longer used except perhaps as a woman’s name.
If you wanted to express sincere gratitude, and a simple grazie wouldn’t be enough, then you might want to use another word or phrase, such as:
- “molte grazie” or “many thanks”
- “grazie mille” or “a thousand thanks”
- “grazie infinite” or “infinite thanks” (only used in extreme cases)
To reply to a “thank you”, you can say prego (pronounced Pray-goh), which translates to “your welcome”.
You can also opt for a more casual “di niente” and “di nulla” which are the Italian equivalents of “no problem” or “no worries”, respectively.
Expressing your gratitude can help deepen your bond with another person, and it’s incredibly important to do so properly.
Now that you know how to say thanks in Italian, you hopefully won’t embarrass yourself by using grazia or gratzi, or any other incorrect term.
Italians are generally patient with clumsy attempts at communicating thanks, so it’s alright to make a mistake the first few times.