For my dissertation, I'm looking at the recent increase of young Brits using 'can I get' for requests, rather than 'can I have..', which old-school speakers like me use. I'm assuming that the 'can I get..' form is American, but I'm not sure if Americans see the two forms as having any difference in meaning. To me, and older British speakers, 'can I get a glass of water?' means 'do you mind if I help myself to...' if I'm in someone's house. It therefore seems odd to use it in a cafe or a pub, unless you plan to go behind the counter and help yourself.So, please help her by discussing in the comments. Here's my posting on 'Can I get a latte grande?' from some time ago.
A quick look at an American corpus seems to suggest that American usage of 'can I have...' is used more for questioning if you are allowed something. Is this really the case? I'd be really interested to hear what Americans with an interest in linguistics have to say!
Thanks very much.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
'can I get' redux
This is for an MA student at our university. Here's her plea: