Coming and going in Korean and English
May 27, 2008 2:35 AM Subscribe
Languages: 'I'm coming' versus 'I'm going' in response to 'Come here!'
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken to Writing & Language (33 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
So one of my students and I were talking about this, and I didn't have a good answer. In English, when your Mom says 'Come here!' the normal response is 'I'm coming'.
In Korean, the response translates directly to 'I'm going'. There's an interesting shift in perspective there (in English, I'm coming to you from your POV, in Korean I'm going over there from my POV), or interesting to me, at least, and one that I can't really explain, even by pulling explanations out of my butt, which is, I admit, my wont sometimes.
It's odd, because given the individual/group-centric cultural tendencies in play, I would have expected the opposite result. I expect that it may just boil down to English's tendency to respond to a question (unless it's 'do') or command using the same verb previously used, but I wonder if there's more happening.
So, yeah, two part question. Anybody have any ideas what's going on here, and for our speakers of other languages, which way do the languages you know express the motion in this situation?