サンキュー, サーティーナイン【39】

thank you

□ This is based on a pun. In Japanese, "thank you" is pronounced "san kyuu." "San kyuu" in turn literally means three (3) nine (9) in Japanese.

When one is speaking, "three nine" can then be rephrased as "thirty-nine," said either in Japanese (sanjuu kyuu) or in English (saatii nain).

In katakana, the word is also spelled サンキュー. In conversation and informal writing, the last vowel is often shortened: サンキュ.

"39" is used an abbreviation meaning "thank you" in phone pager (ポケットベル) messages.

A chain of convenience stores in Japan spells its name "Sunkus." The origin of that name may seem obscure until one hears the name pronounced in Japanese: サンクス ("thanks").

Wordplay is common in Japanese and is called 言葉の遊び.

◇ Examples from the Web:

39THANK-YOU39さんきゅ39ありがとう39 (from "39THANK")

サンキューインテリア
〒559-0017大阪府大阪市住之江区中加賀屋2‐11‐2
(06)6685-3939
(This carpet-and-drapery shop presumably chose the name サンキュー because of its suggestion of "thank you," and the shop got a phone number to go with the name.)


This entry was created by Benjamin Barrett, with additional contributions by Tom Gally and Maynard Hogg.


Created 2001-09-04. Comment about phone pagers added by MH 2001-09-06.


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