query: Where are you going?

Wolfgang Schulze W.Schulze at LRZ.UNI-MUENCHEN.DE
Thu Jun 2 14:32:20 UTC 2011

Dear all,
just to add one comment: David has labeled the "mau [pergi] ke 
mana"-type a "greeting". If we assume that a 'greeting' entails a an 
appellative, addressing function ['wish' etc.] such as Bavarian [gryes 
eana go:t], Engl. 'hallo', Lat. 'salve(te)', Russ. zdravstvujte, 
Classical Arabic a-s-sal:amu \alaykum/-ka/-ki etc. it would be difficult 
to subsume the mau ke mana-formula under this type. Actually, I do not 
know whether mau ke mana etc. are accompanied by an additional/preceding 
deictic or 'addressing' gesture or phrase/lexeme, but I guess that it 
would be odd to use the phrase without indicating some kind of 
attentional attitude towards the addressee. I'm left with the impression 
that the function of the mau ke mana-type rather is that of 'handing 
over the power of speaking' to the addressee. The question mode adds the 
notion of  curiosity and interest of the speaker also symbolizing the 
speaker's 'ignorance'. The addressee is thus put into a position that 
allows them to construe themselves as being temporarily superior to the 
speaker (by 'answering' the question).

The event image used in the corresponding formula may dwell upon various 
source domains most of them ending up in target domains that share the 
feature [state/condition] etc. In fact, the metaphorization of motion 
verbs seems to be a very common paradigm, as illustrated by both David's 
and Paolo's examples. It's a fascinating stuff when looking for the 
origin of such expressions. For instance, in French the expression 
"comment vas-tu" has (to my knowledge!) originally been used in 
reference towards 'bathroom' (and its precursors), meaning: "What does 
your 'going to the toilet' tell [us] about your health'? Such allusions 
to the state of health are very common, compare Syrian Arabic shlo:nak 
'how is your color?', meaning 'how is the color of your face?'. I wonder 
which is the type of motion event the mau ke mana-type has developed from.

Best wishes,

Am 02.06.2011 15:45, schrieb Paolo Ramat:
> French "comment vas-tu ?" and "comment ça va?" , Germ.  "wie geht's 
> dir ?" are the most familiar cases of movement verbs used in greetings 
> (vs. Span. "còmo estàs?" [accents are not correct in e-mail characters 
> and the inverted interrogative sign is also missing] It.  "come stai?" 
> , lit. 'how do you stay?')
> Prof.Paolo Ramat
> Istituto Universitario di Studi Superiori (IUSS )
> Direttore del Centro "Lingue d'Europa: tipologia, storia e 
> sociolinguistica" (LETiSS)
> Viale Lungo Ticino Sforza 56
> 27100 Pavia
> tel. ++390382375811
> fax ++390382375899
> -----Messaggio originale----- From: David Gil
> Sent: Thursday, June 02, 2011 1:24 PM
> Subject: query: Where are you going?
> Dear all,
> One of the most common greetings in many languages of mainland and
> insular Southeast Asia is a phrase whose literal meaning is "Where are
> you going?", eg. Thai /pai nai?/, Indonesian /mau ke mana?/  Crucially,
> it is not necessarily meant to be taken literally, any more than the
> English "How do you do?", and the most appropriate response will
> typically be something vague and non-committal, such as "just walking"
> I am interested in mapping the geographical distribution of the "Where
> are you going?" greeting.  I would thus be grateful for information from
> as many languages as possible, answering the simple question:
> In language(s) that you are familiar with, is "Where are you going?" (or
> an alternative "Where are you coming from?") used as a common greeting,
> without necessarily being meant to be taken literally as an expression
> of interest in the direction of the addressee's movements?
> I am equally interested in negative data, asserting that your language
> does not have such a usage, as I am in data of a positive nature.
> In addition to confirming the presence of this greeting thoughout
> mainland and insular Southeast Asia, I am particularly interested in
> ascertaining the geographical boundaries of the greeting, to the west in
> the Indian subcontinent, to the north in China and Northeast Asia, and
> to the east and south, in New Guinea and Australia.  I am also
> interested to find out whether it occurs in other parts of the world, or
> whether it unique to Southeast Asia.  (A recent trip to Ethiopia
> suggests that it might also be found there.)
> Looking forward to your responses,
> Thanks,
> David



*Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Schulze *


Institut für Allgemeine & Typologische Sprachwissenschaft

Dept. II / F 13

Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München

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Email: W.Schulze at lrz.uni-muenchen.de 
<mailto:W.Schulze at lrz.uni-muenchen.de>/// Wolfgang.Schulze at lmu.de 
<mailto:Wolfgang.Schulze at lmu.de>

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Personal homepage: http://www.wolfgangschulze.in-devir.com


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