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Translating "alstublieft"

Several people have written to me in attempt to help simplify a translation of the good Dutch word "alstublieft."

Alstublieft does not translate into English. While various applications are equivalent to English terms, none of these encompass all of its meanings. This is normal between languages, of course — but English lacks a cognate for the most beautiful and pragmatic function of the word.

Alstublieft can translate, roughly, variously:

• "Please."
• "Here you go." — on the simple transfer of physical goods.
• "You're welcome." — which is to say "please, accept" (spoken after the receiver's expression of gratitude.)

It is in the second of these, the cognate of "here you go," where one finds the magic of alstublieft. This is because it serves that same function, but is elegant.

The elegance of "alstublieft" is that it facilitates transaction, makes normal interactions formal and respectful — simple, without awkward obligation to familiarity.