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:

Intercultural education in times of restricted travel: Lessons from the Gaza Strip
Maria Grazia Imperiale
Intercultural Communication Education Published: 19 April, 2021, Volume 4(1), 22–38. Download PDF

"I don't want to be stereotypical, but..." Norwegian EFL learners' awareness of and willingness to challenge visual stereotypes
Cecilie Waallann Brown
Intercultural Communication Education Published: 20 December, 2019, Volume 2(3), 120–141. 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

(Re)imagining a course in language and intercultural communication for the 21st century
Adriana Raquel Diaz, Paul J. Moore
Intercultural Communication Education Published: 29 December, 2018, Volume 1(3), 83–99. Download PDF

A day in the life: Mapping international students' language learning environments in multilingual Sydney
Phil Benson, Philip Chappell, Lynda Yates
Australian Journal of Applied Linguistics Published: 1 April, 2018, Volume 1(1), 20–32. 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

A systematic review of written corrective feedback research in ESL/EFL contexts
Sin Wang Chong
Language Education & Assessment Published: 31 August, 2019, Volume 2(2), 57–69. Download PDF

Adopting a dual focus to drive forward the fields of language education and language assessment
Heng-Tsung Danny Huang
Language Education & Assessment Published: 25 July, 2018, Volume 1(1), 1–2. Download PDF

Advancing intercultural learning in world language education: Recent developments in pre-service teacher education in the U.S.
Paula Garrett-Rucks
Intercultural Communication Education Published: 29 December, 2018, Volume 1(3), 110–122. Download PDF

An essay on internationalism in foreign language education
Michael Byram
Intercultural Communication Education Published: 22 August, 2018, Volume 1(2), 64–82. Download PDF