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    • Join Date: Jan 2008
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    #1

    what does it really mean?

    Hello everbody,
    Could you tell me what does the question, where are you from, really mean culturally?
    I am a native Chinese speaker and ESL. According to the Chinese culture, the answering of where are you from will be one's birthplace, but I heard a conversation which has been confused me. A woman said, " I am from originally Pennsylvania, but now from manhattan." What does she really mean? Does the sentence " where are you from?" equal to " where is your birth place?"
    Thank you very much.


    YouTube - Real English Lesson 2 (From) - CC Double

    I'd be very gald if you could watch the original situation.
    Last edited by vincent@20n110e; 30-Jul-2008 at 09:27. Reason: wrong typing


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    #2

    Re: what does it really mean?

    The interviews were being recorded somewhere in the US, probably Manhatten.

    Did you notice that when somebody from Canada, or France replied, it was in terms of the country where they were born or are now living (and apparently just visiting the US.); whereas Tracey, who was born and did live in the US, did not reply something like, "The good ol' U.S.A.", but the State where she was born or had lived most of her life before moving to New York); and adds that now she lives "in Manhatten".

    If a person regards themselves as a visitor to the US., then they will respond by saying the country where they actually live. As well, if asked that question in the US., the context might be that he can tell from my accent that I am not an American, and that is why he is bothering to ask - I guess he knows I am from overseas and wants to know whereabouts in the world, so I say, "From the UK."

    When Tracey was asked, she presumed he meant 'whereabouts in the US". She may be living in Manhatten now, but seems still tied emotionally to Pennsylvania, so says 'originally from Pennsylvania and now living in Manhatten."

    When asked that question in Western culture, you can never be sure that the reply will indicate exactly where they were born. They are more likely to respond in terms of where their home is currently - unless they are very nationalistic: a Scot living in England and visiting the US.. when asked, would still say, "I'm from Scotland" !
    Last edited by David L.; 30-Jul-2008 at 11:36.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Chinese
      • Home Country:
      • China
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    #3

    Re: what does it really mean?

    Hi David,
    I appreciate your answering. I hope you don't mind my asking for more, but I'd like to know if a person who was born in London, live in the city all his or her life. when he/she is asked somewhere in London where he/she is from? If you were the person, what would be your reply?

    Imagine that the person was born at 100 Downing street, and live there continually. If he were asked in the above situation, what are the proper replies? Should he say, I'm from Downing street?

    Further more, would you please check my all writing here grammatically? Thank you again.

    Best regard

    Vincent Wang

    ps: Everyone's comments are welcome.
    Last edited by vincent@20n110e; 31-Jul-2008 at 04:05. Reason: grammaticall error

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