Student or Learner
If some native English speaker asks me 'What are you?" does this mean how are you?
One of my mexican collegue asked me this question, expected me to say i am fine. Is this some lkind of slang?
He probably meant to say How are you?
What are you would imply something like What kind of creature/animal/being are you? and as bhaisahab said, it does sound impolite..
Thankyou for explaining teacher. I think this collegue is not native english speaker.
You certainly can say "what are you" but you need context. For example, "I am a teacher, what are you?", "I am English, what are you?".
If someone said it as a opener, there is no context. They would be asking what kind of object I am. I would probably say "I am a horse", or some such silly answer to indicate that the question is silly.
:) i thought the same and i was going to say 'i am a woman' but i dint want to offend my collegue. With this regard, if my conversation started as
Hi, how are you?
i am fine. What are you?
Does this means that the other person is asking about my well being?
"What rare you" is kind of old fashioned and means "what's your job", and definitely not appropriate to start a conversation