[Air-L] Where Are You?

richard.ling at telenor.com richard.ling at telenor.com
Wed Dec 19 23:29:20 PST 2007


Hi,

I don't know about in terms of spoken interactions, but I do have a
random sample of text messages sent by Norwegians.  (We gathered it by
questionnaire, not by observing traffic just so that is clear).

The actual phrase "Where are you" ("Hvor er du" in Norwegian) was used
in 1.4% of all the SMS messages in the corpus. 

The phrase "where are you" is a type of coordination in many cases.  An
interesting finding is that about one third of all the text messages
were about coordination.  We coded the texts - with two independent
judges coding into categories - and we found that 33% had to do with
coordinating different aspects of daily life.  Another 17% were what we
called grooming (interactions that did not have a direct instrumental
purpose) and then there were a series of other types of interactions.

A link to the article is:
http://www.richardling.com/papers/2005_SMS_socio-linguistics.pdf

Rich L.

-----Original Message-----
From: air-l-bounces at listserv.aoir.org
[mailto:air-l-bounces at listserv.aoir.org] On Behalf Of M. Deanya
Lattimore
Sent: 20. desember 2007 01:55
To: air-l at listserv.aoir.org
Subject: Re: [Air-L] Where Are You?

I like Jerom's thinking, and I'll go a bit futher -- there's something 
in us that wants to know if the person we're talking to is suddenly 
going to be having a side conversation with someone else.  If they don't

immediately identify for us that they're in a grocery store, and then 
they start saying something to the cashier, we may feel a bit of a space

invasion.

By establishing "where" a person is, we're also practically establishing

our potential for "privacy" -- we're establishing the conversation's 
"surrounds" and its "co-presence" with outside others (thanks to
Goffman).

:-)
Deanya


Jerom Janssen wrote:
> Could it be that the question where one is is not geographical in
> nature per se, but contextual in other ways?
> 
> If I call a friend and ask where he is, the answer could be that he
> is at work. That could tell me that I should keep it short, because
> he is probably busy and perhaps scrutinized by colleagues. If I know
> this person well, I might know that he hasn't been happy at work
> lately (and up for a beer later on), or that he has been working on a
> project that is about to be wrapped up (no time for beers).
> 
> In my experience, the question is often a prelude to other questions,
> about mood or planning (social) things. In the case of planning
> social things, it is perhaps not important where one is, but where
> one could be in T-time. Maybe it is a bit like the 20 Questions game,
> and that the question is often put forth so soon could be an
> indicator of its effectiveness in establishing a context update
> quickly. The word "where" in "where are you now" can perhaps be
> interpreted as a form of "how" as in "how are you now" in some cases.
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