Last week someone at work said to me: “Are you alright?” and I said “Why?”. This was the wrong response. The guy went into “I’m only asking” mode. I’ve since been paying attention and people in England are saying this all the time. I am listening to Any Answers on BBC RAdio 4 as I write. The show is hosted by Johnathan Bumble Bee and a woman just called in and the first thing she said to him was “Are you alright”. It turns out that, yes, he was alright. Thanks God for that!
I think that “Are you alright” must be replacing the phrase “How are you?”. Come to think of it I have been saying “Awright?” to people for a long time.