drift down the corridor


Senior Member
In the following passage, there is a corridor leading to the waiting room. I have a question about the sentence "voices of people speaking Chinese drifted down the corridor." From this sentence (and in this context), can you native speakers know for sure the direction of the sound? I assume that the sound of the Chinese voices should be transmitted from (the other end of) the corridor to the waiting room, as the waiting room is the focus of the narration here. But I'm not sure if the expression "drifted down the corridor" conveys the same direction of the sound. The expression "drifted down the corridor" seems to me to suggest another possibility: that the sound is generated in the waiting room and is transmitted away from the waiting room to the corridor. Can anyone clarify this for me? Thanks a lot.

"It was 7:30 in the morning. He sat in the waiting room of the Foreigners' Registration Office with his head bent. He didn't read anything to kill time, nor did he bother to look around. Now and then people speaking different languages chitchatted around him, but he didn't know what they were talking about most of the time. Once in a while, voices of people speaking Chinese drifted down the corridor. In the past, he used to lift his head to follow the voices, but not any more."

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