Thursday, November 13, 2008

Americanisms

You all know I love America, especially now that Barack Obama is heading for the White House. Its music and movies and its poetry have had a huge influence on my life. But it does make me laugh when I'm in Sosta Coffee on Abington Street in Northampton and I hear a procession of people in clothing combinations obviously copied from Sunday newspaper fashion supplements saying, to the congenial Greek chappie behind the counter, "Can I get a Latte?" or "Can I get a mochachocachino and two blueberry muffins, buddy?" or "Can I get an hour on the internet?" Since when was "get" an adequate or even necessary substitute for the word "have"? Since when was it even accurate? Obviously he can get a Latte, he's in a coffee shop, not an aquarium.

4 comments:

l.c. said...

That's great. Not only do we shove our bad politics, business practices, and style on the rest of the world, but we top it of with our bad English. I don't know why the Anthropology classes call it "Globalization," because it's clearly "Americanization." If it were truly Globalization you'd think that America would be obtaining a higher level of cultural integrity and diversity. But no, we're just becoming more bland too.

Anonymous said...

Get = obtain. It sounds like your real objection is to using "can" in place of "may."

All This Trouble... said...

I'm greatly offended by the "Can vs. May" tradeoff.

And I think the use of "get" rather than "have", although permissible, isn't very proper.

Thank you, Mother. May I have another?

Bruce Hodder said...

I don't know why I don't like it really. Maybe because it makes people sound like they're imitating television programmes.