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Why Do Australians Say “Ta”?

“Yessie” over at Lost in Australia asks a question that I had immediately wondered about as well when I first arrived in Australia, which is, Why do Australians say “Ta”?  For those that don’t know, more often then not an Australian instead of saying “Thank you” or even “Thanks” will simply say “Ta”.

I asked one of my Australian co-workers why this is?  He didn’t know for sure, but he told he thinks it started as a way for Australians to say an abbreviated form of “Thanks Alot”.  Who knows, but it sounds plausible considering how Australians quite often have the tendency to shorten words.