"can I get a..."

Lynne Murphy m.l.murphy at SUSSEX.AC.UK
Sun Jun 4 11:34:44 UTC 2006

Can anyone tell me if anything's been written about "can I get a" as a
request form, as in "Can I get a double decaf cappuccino?"?

It's one of those things that's derided here as Americanism--with two
Englishmen I've talked to saying that it sounds like the customer is asking
to come to the other side of the counter and make themselves a coffee.
It's stereotypically associated with Starbucks culture and revival meetings
("Can I get a witness?" "Can I get an 'amen'?")--both pretty American

I ask because I've just started a blog about US/UK dialectal differences
that I run into on a daily basis.  If you're interested, it's at:



Dr M Lynne Murphy
Senior Lecturer in Linguistics and English Language
Arts B133
University of Sussex
Brighton BN1 9QN

phone: +44-(0)1273-678844

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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