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The Best of the Blog

Giugno 2015
The Speak Up blog answers any questions you may have either about the English language or our articles. Write to us (preferably in English) 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!

Why is the word SOCCER pronounced SOKKER instead of SOKSER, like I learnt at school?

SOCCER is pronounced SOKKER and not SOKSER. Whoever taught you otherwise should NOT be teaching English!!!

Ain’t no mountain high enough
In “Work It Out” (April) you translated “Everest is the tallest mountain in the world”. But wouldn’t it be better to use ‘“high” for a mountain? Isn’t “tall” used for people?

Technically, you’re right, but there’s a degree of flexibility: trees and buildings are tall and mountains can be both tall and high, but people can only be tall: if you say someone is “high” that means they are “fatti”!

It’s a long story
When I went to London  last month I noticed that many words are pronounced in a pretty weird way like “Leicester” and “Gloucester”... in both words you don’t hear the “ce”.  Why does it happen?

One possible explanation is this: the -cester bit is from the Old English word ceaster, which in itself is borrowed from Latin castrum (accampamento). Leicester and Gloucester were once pronounced as they’re written, with a /?/ (or perhaps /k/); that consonant was weakened over time and eventually disappeared altogether, leaving the vowels free to contract too.
Having said this, a better approach to English is to just accept that it is not a phonetic language and does not follow the rules Italian speakers expect. That’s just the way it is!

What is the difference between “I can’t forget you” and “I can’t get over you”? Vogliono entrambi dire “non riesco a dimenticarti”? Sono intercambiabili?

They’re similar but not exactly the same. “To get over someone” means coming to terms with emotional loss, whereas forgetting is simply the act of not remembering: it could even be someone you hate!

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