query: Where are you going?

"NAïM Samia" snaim at VJF.CNRS.FR
Thu Jun 2 16:07:00 UTC 2011

>In lebanese arabic, it is in the answer to the question "How are you"
that you have the motion verb "to walk":

ki:f-ak/ik or ki:f ha:l-ak/-ik ?
how -2sgm/f (or) how state-2sgm/f.
How are you ?

me:shi "I am OK" lit. "walking"

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
> --
> David Gil
> Department of Linguistics
> Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
> Deutscher Platz 6, D-04103 Leipzig, Germany
> Telephone: 49-341-3550321 Fax: 49-341-3550119
> Email: gil at eva.mpg.de
> Webpage:  http://www.eva.mpg.de/~gil/

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