My Russian friend tells me this version of thank you is extremely polite. So much so that she only uses it in her prayers, as in thanking God.
If aimed at a single person - perhaps so. But in that case "Вас" should be capitalised (although this rule is not always followed). Uncapitalised "вас" should refer to a group of people, and as such "благодарю вас" is a fairly common way of e.g. thanking your audience.
yes, I agree with the friend...that is how it is done in our Church as well. Im assuming she is Eastern Orthodox Christian as I am. i always thought it meant i bless you.
Спасибо = Спаси Бог = Save God in English. Спасибо means i wish god save you. The sound Г at the end of the word is lost over time. Благодарю = thank (тебя, вас) = you
Accusative is the form the nouns, adjectives and pronons take to represent the object of the verbs. Exemple: I see YOU. "You" here is the object. In russian it would be translated as ВАС.
Genitive case is the form the nouns, adjectives and pronouns take to tho say who is the owner of a thing. Ex. What is YOUR name. Here "your" is like the russian genitive case.
The prepositional case is the form the noun, adjective and pronouns take when they are with a preposition. Exemple: I am with YOU. Here "you" would work like the russian prepositional case.
Would "благодарю " by itself still be a correct and formal way of saying "Thank you"? or does it require "вас"?
I took 2 years of Russian a while back and don't remember this word at all. The computer doesn't seem to pronounce it very well either compared with how it is spelled.
It's pronounced different than it looks because vowels sound different when they're stressed.
It's not the vowels in this that bother me - it's the fact that the "r" sounds seems to nearly disappear in the example pronunciation. Is that accurate?
What does the вас mean? The suggestion says "you", but it's like a kind of direct object pronoun or something?
"Вас" is the accusative, genitive and prepositional form of "вы", which is either plural or polite singular "you".
No, it's not. It is literally "(I) thank you". Sure, you can just say "Благодарю!", but then you can also say "Thanks!" in English. Does that make "you" redundant?
I understand that Вас is very formal you, Вы is less formal & Ты not formal. Is that right?
No. Вас is simply a genitive, accusative or prepositional form of Вы. (In this particuar example, it's accusative since it's a direct object of the verb "благодарить"="to thank".)
Now, Вы is either a formal singular you or a plural you regardless of formality. Strictly speaking, formal singular Вы should be capitalised while plural вы isn't, but many native speakers ignore this rule and do not capitalise вы regardless of its specific meaning.
If it helps, Russian is quite similar to German here:
Tы = du
Вы = Sie/ihr.
Then perhaps Благодарю should be taught as "Thanks" or "I thank" (although this would sound awkward in English) rather than "Thank you."
I am not sure why you insist that both exact meanings and grammatical structures should be a perfect match between different languages. "Благодарю" is a bit more formal than mere "Thanks" (while "Благодарю Вас" is even more formal). Hence I do not think that translating "Благодарю" as "Thank you" is completely unreasonable. "Благодарю Вас", being more formal, could be translated as "Thank you very much indeed" or something like that -- meaning-wise, not structure-wise.
Perhaps you haven't noticed the number of comments on DL (for the Russian lessons, at least) regarding literal vs. equivalent(?) translations, and how helpful transliterations would be if they were provided. For example, "У меня есть..." translates to "I have..." but the literal translation is "By me there is...". The latter is very helpful for actually understanding the grammatical structure (in the negative as well) as opposed to rote memorization. By the same token, being presented with Благодарю as translating to "Thank you" and Благодарю вас as also translating to "Thank you", in the absence of any translational insights, is confusing and yes, appears redundant.
I don't understand the order of words. Sometimes it doesnt seem to matter. Like why is it "thankyou I"
Where did you find "I" in the Russian sentence? Благодарю=thank, вас=you.
The translation is "I thank you," which is where he found the "I." The "I" is implied by the fact that if this is to be a complete sentence, you need a subject performing the thanking.
Formally, you are right. However "I thank you" is a machine translation - I am yet to hear a live human say that (at least as an isolated sentence, not a part of a longer sentence). "Thank you" is a fixed expression, which omits the subject.
I think a closer translation to the idea of the word would be "i am very greatful to you" a cool way to say thaky you is "большая благодарность" which litteraly is "great gratitude" which could be used when someone did something really nice for you
It is said, but it is formal. I have heard it used when addressing a large audience, often as a response to receiving applause.
I'd say "Thanks to you" is "благодаря вам", at least int its most common usage (which often has nothing to do with actual thanking!):
Thanks to you, I am late for the train - Благодаря вам, я опоздал/опаздываю на поезд.