English: grateful can mean welcome

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DaveAgain
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English: grateful can mean welcome

Postby DaveAgain » Wed May 18, 2022 8:30 am

I'm currently reading Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. I've read this before, but I was surprised [again? :-)] by the use of "grateful" in chapter 22:
But Elizabeth had now recollected herself, and making a strong effort for it, was able to assure with tolerable firmness that the prospect of their relationship was highly grateful to her, and that she wished her all imaginable happiness.

This seemed very wrong to me, but my dictionary tells me "grateful" has in the past be used for "welcome".
grateful | ˈɡreɪtfʊl, ˈɡreɪtf(ə)l |
adjective
feeling or showing an appreciation for something done or received: I'm grateful to you for all your help | she gave him a grateful smile.
• archaic received or experienced with gratitude; welcome: the grateful shade.

ORIGIN
mid 16th century: from obsolete grate ‘pleasing, thankful’ (from Latin gratus) + -ful.
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Re: English: grateful can mean welcome

Postby badger » Wed May 18, 2022 12:23 pm

it sounds like "gratifying" would also work, & be closer to "grateful".

I had somehow never read/seen any Austen until a few months ago when I watched 3-4 adaptions. I was quite stuck with the French-style use of 'to be' in the the perfect/passé composé tense- rather than 'to have' - eg 'they are come' rather than 'they have come'.
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Re: English: grateful can mean welcome

Postby Le Baron » Wed May 18, 2022 2:46 pm

badger wrote:it sounds like "gratifying" would also work, & be closer to "grateful".

I had somehow never read/seen any Austen until a few months ago when I watched 3-4 adaptions. I was quite stuck with the French-style use of 'to be' in the the perfect/passé composé tense- rather than 'to have' - eg 'they are come' rather than 'they have come'.


It's possible this is also purely Germanic (and therefore old English) in origin with regard to English; even pre-dating French influence. It's identical in modern German/Dutch: sie sind (an)gekommen/ze zijn gekomen. I'm not involved in linguistics so I know nothing about why English ended up using 'to have' for these sorts of sentences when so many surrounding languages use 'to be'. If I did know, I've forgotten. :)
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Re: English: grateful can mean welcome

Postby badger » Wed May 18, 2022 6:06 pm

Le Baron wrote:It's possible this is also purely Germanic (and therefore old English) in origin with regard to English; even pre-dating French influence.

it was following the French pattern of which verbs used 'to be' vs. 'to have', so my thought was French, but just an observation really, I'm certainly no linguist. :D
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Re: English: grateful can mean welcome

Postby Le Baron » Wed May 18, 2022 6:37 pm

badger wrote:
Le Baron wrote:It's possible this is also purely Germanic (and therefore old English) in origin with regard to English; even pre-dating French influence.

it was following the French pattern of which verbs used 'to be' vs. 'to have', so my thought was French, but just an observation really, I'm certainly no linguist. :D

You may be right, I don't know the history. The fact it turns up in novels as late as Jane Austin suggested to me it may be a very old ingrained structure that hadn't been chased out of usage. I've seen similar things in dialect.

The thread reminded me of a discussion I had the other day elsewhere. I said that the use of the word 'up' (a word with a lot of shades of meaning) used to be commonly used to mean 'finished'. As in 'used up'. So when I was a child I would say 'grandma can I have a biscuit?' And she would say: 'yes, but the chocolate biscuits are up.' You find this in Dutch commonly: de koekjes zijn op = the biscuits are finished. I'm from the north of England so I don't know if it is/was countrywide, but you do see that the older speech in the north shares a lot with Dutch. E.g. 'a steel' = handle/pole (e.g. for a broom). besom (bezem) - the broom itself.
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Re: English: grateful can mean welcome

Postby Querneus » Wed May 18, 2022 9:42 pm

I wonder if this expression is a calque from Latin, in which you can perfectly commonly say that something "mihi grātum est" ("is gratifying/pleasant to me").
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Re: English: grateful can mean welcome

Postby Dragon27 » Thu May 19, 2022 5:12 am

Querneus wrote:I wonder if this expression is a calque from Latin, in which you can perfectly commonly say that something "mihi grātum est" ("is gratifying/pleasant to me").

You're saying that as if the word "grateful" itself didn't come from Latin "gratus". It probably would be more appropriate to say that "grateful" meaning "being appreciative; thankful" is a calque from Latin, and "pleasing, agreeable" is a primary meaning.

The word "grateful" comes from the obsolete adjective "grate" (from Latin "gratus"), which, according to wiktionary, has the meaning:
https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/grate#Etymology_3
Serving to gratify; agreeable.
1677, Sir Thomas Herbert, Some Yeares Travels into Africa and Asia the Great:
Coho or Coffee […] however ingrate or insapory it seems at first, it becomes grate and delicious enough by custom.

You can also notice the adjective "ingrate" in that same sentence.
It's hard to say, of course, what was the original meaning of the word, given how all of these meanings were already present in the Latin source word.
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Re: English: grateful can mean welcome

Postby Le Baron » Thu May 19, 2022 3:37 pm

Ingrate there clearly means 'disagreeable'.

Insapory is interesting. Meaning unsavoury with both sapor and sapid as an adjective existing as obscure semi-obsolete words in English. However savoury is an old French loanword from Latin sapere, even though Latin sapor/sapere seem to have sprung from the same root, meaning both to know and be discerning (in matters of 'taste') and also taste as a sense of things on your tongue. As such the French saveur and savoir have the same origin.
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