A recent discussion of the expression 'My pleasure' in the UsingEnglish forums led me to this thought:
There are two elements in the convention:But in either case there's a sense of service - it was doing the service that was a pleasure. This had previously been enshrined in the expression 'at your service'. In Portuguese, the hyperbole used to be even greater (perhaps with a sense of irony? - at least, it could be ironic): às ordens do Senhor. (I heard this in just-pre-revolutionary Coimbra. I have read, in texts from more servile times, às ordens da vossa* Senhoría which is perhaps a little excessive for modern tastes!)
English omits the second element; Spanish - No hay de qué - omits the first.(It was a pleasure for me to do it) + (There's no need for thanks.)
In Portugal, people claim to be obrigado/a (do the Portuguese Thought Police insist on obrigada/o, I wonder? I bet As Três Marias** would have preferred that.)
My father, a Lancashire man (if that's relevant - the expression may be common among people born around the turn of the 20thC, not just in Lancashire) used to say 'Much obliged' to mean 'thank you.' The idea of a sense of obligation (in the 'feeling beholden' sense - 'I am forever in your debt' - not the 'this is my duty' sense) seems to be a common one.
In Italy, it's ... no I'll start a bit earlier. In the Roman Empire, slaves were often captives from Slavonic races; it was such a common link that a slave was an esclavus (a bit like the generic name for a domestic slave in certain households in Hampstead today being 'the filipina'). The -cl-, as often in the development of language, was palatalized to become[ʧ] (spelt, in Italian, '-ci-') and the -v- became (or was in the first place - il sont fous ces romains ) [w], which, followed by the dying word-end, (or 'unstressed word-final vowel', to give it its philological disguise) made the -a- into a falling diphthong. The result is left as an exercise for the reader.
T/V distinction need not detain us here, though they may have planted the seed of another blog. (That link points to a page that Wikipedia - with either understatement or a hollow laugh - says 'has multiple issues'. It is not for the faint-hearted.)
**By Raquel de Queiroz - any relation of Eça, I wonder? (whose Cartas de Inglaterra I've been meaning to translate - marvellous man, a sort of nineteenth-century Alistair Cooke. But one book at a time).
Mammon (When Vowels Get Together V2.0: Kindle word-list grouping different pronunciations of vowel-pairs. Release 1, digraphs AA-AU. If you buy it, contact @WVGTbook on Twitter and I'll alert you to free downloads of the forthcoming volumes; or click the Following button at the foot of this page.)
Freebies (Teaching resources: over 28,700 views**, , but and over 3,600 downloads to date. They're very eclectic - mostly EFL and MFL, but one of the most popular is from KS4 History, dating from my PGCE, with 1279 views/551 downloads to date. So it's worth having a browse.)
** This figure includes the count of views for a single resource held in an account that I accidentally created many years ago.