Why Aborigines Don’t Have Words for “Please” or “Thank You”

January 26, 2017 at 1:11 am

In a clip from the new documentary film Human, an aboriginal Australian man says his people never used words like “please” or “thank you” or “mine” until recently:

While modern parents force their children to say “please” and “thank you,” Aborigines find the words offensive, as they imply ownership and are seen as “begging.” Like most hunter-gatherers, they have no concept of private property and treat fellow tribe members literally as extensions of themselves.

“In our language we have no such word as ‘please’ or ‘thank you,’ because it is expected of us that we share and give what we have,” the man says. “Today, we have to say ‘please.’ We have to say ‘thank you.’ We have to beg for things.”

Hunter-gatherers have no concept of private property, so

In the old days, it was a given that we would share. That was a part of who we are. Not only for aboriginal people – I expect people all around the world would do the same before money.

But nowadays we say ‘it’s mine!’ There are words like ‘mine’ …  We deny other people shelter, we deny other people food, we deny other people their survival purely because of money … and it kills us as human beings. “


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