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Unformatted text preview: and are close enough for their
voices to be heard by one another (the volume of the parties' voices being
adjusted proportionally to the physical distance between them), they may
engage in what I will call the "where are you going?" greeting:24
(13) Scheme of "Where are you going?" greeting
B: Where are you going?
I'm going to [goal]. This goal may be either a place or a task.
First, we must recognize that the adjacency pair in the scheme in (13)
conforms to the criteria introduced earlier for greetings. It is typically used
when party B is seen moving along the road or a nearby path by party A,
who is stationary (e.g., inside a house, in front of a store), but it can also be
found in cases in which A and B pass each other on the road. Under these
circumstances, the initiator usually stops to address the other (moving
party), who may or not also stop to respond. (This is different from the
Mehinaku greeting discussed in Gregor 1977.)
The greeting may continue with a leave-taking exchange of the following
kind: 84 Journal of Linguistic Anthropology (14) Leave-taking after "where are you going" greeting
B: Then go.
I/we go. The existence of "where are you going?" greetings in Samoa and other
societies (see Firth 1972; Gregor 1977; Hanks 1990) suggests that we cannot
easily extend to other speech communities Searle's analysis of English
greetings as an expressive type of speech act (see above). As may be
gathered by an examination of its content, the "where are you going?"
greeting is more than an expression of a psychological state. It is a n attempt
to sanction the reciprocal recognition of one another's presence with some
specific requests of information that may or may not receive satisfactory
response. Although they are highly predictable and conventional, "where
are you going?" greetings force participants to deal with a wide range of
issues including an individual's or group's right to have access to information about a person's whereabouts, culture-specific expectations about the
ethics of venturing into public space, the force of questioning as a form of
social control and hence the possibility of withholding information as a
form of resistance to public scrutiny and moral judgment (Keenan 1976).
As in the neighboring language of Tokelau (Hoem 1993:143, 199559),
Samoan speakers who greet with the "where are you going?" question feel
that they have the right to an answer, and the question itself is a form of
social control. With the last part of the exchange, shown in (14), the questioner formally grants the other party permission to go. The speech act
analysis proposed for English greetings, then, cannot be easily extended to
these greetings, given that to initiate a "where are you going?" greeting is
definitely more than (or different from) a "courteous indication of recognition" (Searle and Vanderveken 1985:216) or a conventional expression of
pleasure at the sight of someone (Bach and Harnish 1979:51-52). To ask
"where are you going?" is a request for an account, which may include the
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This note was uploaded on 01/16/2014 for the course ANTHRO 33 taught by Professor Wertheim during the Spring '08 term at UCLA.
- Spring '08
- The Bible