In Australian English we often say ‘Where are you going?’ as a greeting, but it’s not a very serious question and a simple ‘good’ or ‘not bad’ is enough to reply politely, even if you’ve had a really bad day. Similarly, Koreans use 어디 가? (Eodi ga = Are you going somewhere?) as a greeting. You don’t need to give a specific answer and can just say 응, 어디 좀... (Eung, eodi jom… = Yeah, just somewhere...)
Different ways of saying “Are you going somewhere?” in Korean are shown below :
Note that the intonation pattern changes for 어디 (Eodi = Where) depending on whether you are using it as “where?” or “somewhere” as shown in the diagram below :
When we use 어디 가? (Eodi ga?) as “Where are you going?”, the intonation of the last syllable ‘가 (ga)’ rises slightly and then falls. On the other hand, when we use 어디 가? (Eodi ga) as “Are you going somewhere?”, the intonation of the last syllable ‘가 (ga)’ rises steeply.
If you can’t differentiate between these two questions, the best strategy is to just reply 어디 좀... (Eodi jom… = Just somewhere...) because someone who is not very close to you will not ask “Where are you going?” in Korean.
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