Date: Fri, 8 Mar 1996 10:16:09 -0800 From: Peter McGraw Subject: Re: Inter-variety miscommunication I'm probably crossing a line here in sharing an anecdote involving a miscommunication across national as well as dialect boundaries, but I'll use Dennis's story involving a Polish friend as a tenuous precedent. In 1959-1960 our family lived for six months in Howth, Co. Dublin, Ireland. One day I was sent to the neighborhood grocery store to buy two cans of something (I no longer remember what). So I walked in and asked for "a couple of cans of (whatever it was)" The young woman behind the counter obviously didn't comprehend the totality of my request, and the following exchange took place: Her: "How many?" (with rising intonation indicating request for repeat of information rather than falling indicating request for additional information) Me: "A couple." Her: "We only have them in tins!" Peter McGraw Linfield College McMinnville, OR