/ Can I get..

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WyeValleyClimber - on 15 Jun 2012
When I go into a shop to buy something that needs to be handed over to me by a sales assistant I usually prompt the transaction with words along the lines of...

'Could I have a ...... please?'

Now it has not escaped my attention that many younger folk (I'm in my forties) tend to use the (to my ears) rather clunkier ...

'Can I get a ..... please?'

I remember first hearing this phrase in Australia 20 years ago and therefore suspect the influence of Ozzy soaps has affected our British youth in respect to shop etiquette.

My question is this...

What is the cut-off age separating the two shop request paradigms?
My guess is somewhere between the ages of 29 and 32.

Could you please respond with your age and preferred approach?

I'm also interested in the cut-off age of using the word 'uni' in reference to further education and, for males employed in office environments, the wearing of absurd, long (oh so long!) pointed slip-on shoes not dissimilar to the comedy footwear of yesteryear so beloved of the clown.
deepstar - on 15 Jun 2012
Blue Straggler - on 15 Jun 2012
In reply to WyeValleyClimber:

Widespread use of "uni" in the British vernacular predates "can I get a..." by at least a decade in my estimation. I reckon 39 years old is the cut-off age for "uni"

That said, "Can I get..." probably originates in bars in American movies (going way way back at least into the early 70s) rather than in Australian soap opera imports of the late 80s and early 90s. I used to watch such programmes and I don't remember that turn of phrase being used all that much in them.
WyeValleyClimber - on 15 Jun 2012
Actually 'uni' is a funny one because no one of my generation seems (at least at the time) to have used this perfectly natural and obvious contraction.
How foolish we were!
If only I could get back the time spent uttering all those unnecessary 'versity's!
Damn you father time and your wicked twin retrospection! damn your eyes!
alps-john on 15 Jun 2012
In reply to WyeValleyClimber:
Whilst reading this I pondered what phrase I would use and think I alternate between could I get or can I have. I don't think I have ever used can I get but obviously use a mix of the two. Always preceded by please and followed by a thanks.

Aged 36 and scouse to add another twist.

Blue Straggler - on 15 Jun 2012
In reply to alps-john:

How is being "scouse" a twist?
birdie num num - on 15 Jun 2012
In reply to WyeValleyClimber:
I normally say 'Giz a .....(insert required product)
ollieollie - on 15 Jun 2012
In reply to WyeValleyClimber:

'Could I have a ...... please?' for me every time, 30 yrs old
Mrs_the_Dog on 15 Jun 2012
In reply to WyeValleyClimber:

I would go one step further and say "May I..." to be honest :)

I was however taught and brought up by persons who make Miss Trunchbull look like a big pussycat...

In all seriousness, It is disturbing that the 'kids' are choosing to ignore the conditional tense of 'could' and are in no doubt that they will be able to obtain the item in question.

Hmmmm.
alps-john on 15 Jun 2012
In reply to Blue Straggler: Coz we have many ways of saying things....... arr kid.
blurty - on 15 Jun 2012
In reply to Mrs_the_Dog:

Me too.

'May I .....' is what I was taught
andy - on 15 Jun 2012
In reply to WyeValleyClimber: I'm a "could i have a..." man.

I'm also bemused by the increasingly prevalent use of a completely unnecessary "So..." in front of sentences by the young folk - including, I've noticed, in threads on here (as in "So, I have a job interview tomorrow...". Why?

And (and this really gets on my tits) people prefacing everything they say with "D'you know what?" which, as far as I can recall, comes directly from Simon bloody Cowell. I interviewed a woman today who must have said it five or six times in a one hour conversation.
Helen R on 15 Jun 2012
In reply to WyeValleyClimber:

I don't think it's modern, it's more likely to be an older form of language that went to the 'colonies' and then developed it's own way. It's a very common usage in Ulster Scots, which might be one reason for it's usage prevalence in Aus/NZ.

Why you think younger people are using it more and more, i'm not sure - maybe they are, maybe it's confirmation bias. It's certainly a form of words I use a lot (i'm from the south of scotland) and always have done, except when corrected by the 'old skool' teachers, who tried to iron any hint of an accent/language form/alternative grammar out of us, with mixed success. Different dialects are more than just different vocab - the grammar and accepted forms of usage are different, not just lazy forms of 'proper' english. I'm in my mid-30s, but 'can i get' is way more common with the older generation from where I grew up.

I"m not sure if I used 'uni' when i was at uni nearly 20 years ago. Maybe I did. I certainly use it now.



WyeValleyClimber - on 15 Jun 2012
In reply to andy:
Yes I've also noticed the 'so..' thing becoming increasingly prevalent
Particularly so amongst American academics.
Ben Sharp - on 16 Jun 2012
In reply to WyeValleyClimber: I prefer:

'ight pal, gee us a wee slant at tha will ya"

Ben, 24
stonemaster - on 16 Jun 2012
In reply to Mrs_the_Dog: One agrees with "May I..." :)

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