query: Where are you going?

Christopher P. Wilde chris_wilde at SALL.COM
Sun Jun 19 04:43:45 UTC 2011


A common greeting in Nepali (Indo-Aryan) is:

	खाना खानुभयो?
	[khana khanubhayo]
	lit. "Have you eaten?"

-Chris Wilde, Pokhara Nepal

>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: Discussion List for ALT [mailto:LINGTYP at LISTSERV.LINGUISTLIST.ORG 
>> ] On
>> Behalf Of David Gil
>> Sent: 2-Jun-11 9:25 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
>> --
>> 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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