Wednesday, May 27, 2009

What are you doing?

Simple question. But look at how it changes, depending on which word you stress:
WHAT are you doing?
What ARE you doing?
What are YOU doing?
What are you DOING?
Reminds me of our Sister Concetta (age 90 or so; I don't even remember now!). She came to the US from her native Italy when she was around 40, so her English is heavily accented. Plus, she didn't get all of our colloquial expressions quite right. And that tended to make some of our American commonplaces really thought-provoking. For example, "What on earth are you doing?" became (and still is), "What are you doing on earth?"
Makes you stop and think, doesn't it?
So, what are you doing (on earth)?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

When we were kids, we would play a game of "what am I doing", emphasizing each world in turn, such as WHAT am I doing, what AM i doing, What am I doing, What am I DOING in order for us to reply "You are making a fool of yourself". Does your version relate in any way to American sayings?