Volume 2, Issue 1  April 2019, pp. 32–46          Download PDF

Regular Articles
An investigation of learners' use of CAN and COULD

Lauren Whitty https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9279-98461

1 Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand lauren.whitty@yahoo.com

DOI: https://doi.org/10.29140/ajal.v2n1.116


Abstract

CAN and COULD have multiple uses and multiple interpretations which can be difficult for learners of English to understand. For example, the difference of Can you help me? and Could you help me? may go unnoticed to an English language learner, but a native speaker of English would recognise a difference in politeness. The current paper reports on an investigation of learners' use of the modal auxiliaries CAN and COULD, including their negative counterparts (cannot/can't and could not/couldn't), in an English Proficiency Program (EPP) classroom at a New Zealand University. Through first examining the learners' use of CAN and COULD in spoken and written contexts, comparisons are made to their use in the British National Corpus, which results in the identification of areas in which learners' use could be strengthened.



Copyright

© Lauren Whitty

CC  4.0
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.


Suggested citation

Whitty, L. (2019). An investigation of learners' use of CAN and COULD. Australian Journal of Applied Linguistics, 2(1), 32–46. https://doi.org/10.29140/ajal.v2n1.116


Related Articles:

Introduction to the special issue
Julie Choi, Mei French, Sue Ollerhead
Australian Journal of Applied Linguistics Published: 30 April, 2020, Volume 3(1), 1–10. Download PDF

Translanguaging as a boundary crossing mechanism: A Turkish-American Youngster and her linguistic negotiation of three discursive spaces
Tuba Yilmaz, Ester de Jong
Australian Journal of Applied Linguistics Published: 30 April, 2020, Volume 3(1), 11–25. Download PDF

Mediating communication - ELF and flexible multilingualism perspectives on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages
Constant Leung, Jennifer Jenkins
Australian Journal of Applied Linguistics Published: 30 April, 2020, Volume 3(1), 26–41. Download PDF

Translanguaging as transmediation: Embodied critical literacy engagements in a French-English bilingual classroom
Sunny Man Chu Lau
Australian Journal of Applied Linguistics Published: 30 April, 2020, Volume 3(1), 42–59. Download PDF

Translanguaging for and as learning with youth from refugee backgrounds
Saskia Van Viegen
Australian Journal of Applied Linguistics Published: 30 April, 2020, Volume 3(1), 60–76. Download PDF

"Writing like a health scientist": A translingual approach to teaching text structure in a diverse Australian classroom
Sue Ollerhead, Isobel Crealy, Rebecca Kirk
Australian Journal of Applied Linguistics Published: 30 April, 2020, Volume 3(1), 77–90. Download PDF

Eroding the monolingual monolith
Mei French, Janet Armitage
Australian Journal of Applied Linguistics Published: 30 April, 2020, Volume 3(1), 91–114. Download PDF

Creating translingual teaching resources based on translanguaging grammar rules and pedagogical practices
Corinne A. Seals, Vincent Olsen-Reeder, Russell Pine, Madeline Ash, Cereace Wallace
Australian Journal of Applied Linguistics Published: 30 April, 2020, Volume 3(1), 115–132. Download PDF

A developmental framework for online language teaching skills
Ursula Stickler, Regine Hampel, Martina Emke
Australian Journal of Applied Linguistics Published: 30 April, 2020, Volume 3(1), 133–151. Download PDF

Language ideologies at work: Examining the linguistic landscape in public spaces of Coventry, England
Zeena Faulk
Intercultural Communication Education Published: 22 April, 2020, Volume 3(1), 4–21. Download PDF