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Dicembre 2018
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!


Hi Speak Up!
I was reading the article “White Teeth”, in the section “Classic Books” .
Are you sure the right Italian translation for “bangers and mash“ is “le macchine e la birra”? In my opinion the phrase is referring to sausages and mashed potatoes, that is a traditional British dish, as the context suggests.
I’d be pleased if you could explain this to me!
PS: Speak Up reader since 1986.

Dear Luca,
You are right! Zadie Smith is referring to the typical British dish, but the Italian translator decided to liberally translate it. He replaced the cultural reference with one that Italian men typically talk about when they get together. Speak Up


Dear Speak Up,
in the November issue of Speak Up, in the article “Letter from Buckingham Palace”, Geoffrey Howe writes: “(...) I asked Her Majesty to remember Britain’s former enemies too, and to put flowers on the graves of Italian and German victims from both world wars.” Could you please tell Mr. Howe that Italians were not Britain’s enemies in the First World War?
Best regards, Italo

Dear Italo,
That’s true. Before WWI, Italy was allied with the German, and the Austria-Hungary Empires, but in 1914 declared neutrality. In 1915, Italy signed a treaty with Britain, France and Russia. Geoffrey’s point is that Italy’s involvement in both wars caused terrible suffering and that this should be recognised irrelative of which side the soldiers fought on. Speak Up


Good morning,
As far as the “London’s Beefeaters” article, I’d like to add a curiosity (from the internet): on March 2017 Amanda Clarke, a Lancashire soldier, was appointed as Yeoman Warder; so she is the second woman in history to get that role (your article, in the caption, mentioned only a woman so far). Best regards,

Dear Vittorina,
Great research! You are correct, in 2017 Amanda Clarke, a retired female member of the Armed Forces became the second woman in history to become a Yeoman Warder. Speak Up

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