query: Where are you going?

Hannu Tommola Hannu.Tommola at UTA.FI
Thu Jun 2 17:04:37 UTC 2011


in Finnish, it's usual to say first Hei/Terve/Morjens (i.e. 'hallo' or  
the like), then you often "ask" Miten menee? 'How goes?'.

Possible equivalents in Estonian and Swedish are:

Est: Tere! -- Kuidas läheb?

Swd: Hej! -- Hur går det?

Hannu Tommola

Quoting David Gil <gil at EVA.MPG.DE>:
> 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/

Hannu Tommola, Professor of Russian Language (Translation Theory and Practice)
School of Modern Languages and Translation Studies
FIN-33014 University of Tampere, Finland
Phone: +358-(0)3-3551 6102

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