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Maggio 2019
The Speak Up blog answers any questions you may have either about the English language or our articles. Write to us at: http://blog.speakuponline.it. The most interesting questions will be published on this page. A word of warning, though: our blog is not a translation or homework service!

Dear Staff,
In the 407 issue, on page 30, on the article about Lady Gaga there are these two sentences in a row: “I have always loved to transform. I always loved to shape-shift ...” Are both of them correct? And in this case is there a shade of meaning?
And still one more question: on page 38 of the same issue, in the left column at the end of Vishvapani Blomfield’s words he says: “Meditation turns out be quite a helpful tool.”
May he in his meditation have forgotten about “to” before “be”? Or have I forgotten something about English grammar?
Speak Up is more and more interesting: congratulations!
Regards from Claudio

Dear Claudio,
Both transform and shape-shift are correct. If anything, perhaps shape-shift, which draws on the idea of shape-shifting creatures from folklore, such as werewolves and vampires, sounds like a more mysterious and magical transformation, and also may suggest a continual shifting between forms. I think we can agree that Lady Gaga fits well into this category!  
As for Vishvapani Blomfield’s missing ‘to’, you are absolutely right! This essential word should be included in this sentence. We apologise for this error, and well done for spotting it!
Best, Speak Up


Buongiorno, vorrei fare una domanda riguardo l’accento di Mrs. Sheela, intervistata nel numero di febbraio 2019. L’accento viene definito indiano. A me non sembra il tipico accento indiano, piuttosto l’avrei definito un accento misto indiano/tedesco. Ho visto che Mrs. Sheela ha trascorso 39 mesi in una prigione in Germania, ma mi sembra un periodo limitato per aver influenzato l’accento del parlato inglese. Vorrei sapere se la mia percezione è stata corretta o sbagliata.
Grazie e saluti, Ilaria

Dear Ilaria,
Your perception is correct. Ma Anand Sheela has an Indian accent as she was born and raised in India, but she also has German inflections. This is because for the last twenty years she has lived near Basel, in northwest Switzerland, where people speak German.
Best, Speak Up

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