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Where abouts?

Posted by Word Camel on March 04, 2002

Why is it that no matter what a person's background, or what side of the pond they hail from, when confronted by someone from the same region, they ask "Where abouts?". As far as I can work out, this is either an archaic way of asking where, or an affectation of a pseudo down-home-in-the-Bayou way of speaking. Any thoughts?