Cerca Articolo

Share |

The best of the blog

Giugno 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!

Hello Speak Up,
I have an existential doubt: Cabify, Spotify, Housfy... What is ‘fy’, exactly? It is a new symbol of friendship?
Is it something between colleagues? Regards, M.

Dear Reader,
‘Ivy’ or ‘defy’ as a suffix usually means something like ’to render’ or ‘to make more’. For example: ‘liquefy’ means ‘to make more liquid’; ‘humidify’, ‘to make more humid’, ‘justify’, ‘to make more just’ or ‘correct’ (in other words, to give a good reason for), ‘pacify’, ‘to make more peaceful’, etc. Cabify, Spotify and so forth are just invented words that play on that theme. Housfy doesn’t quite fit the pattern, but the intention was probably similar (more cabs, more music, more houses).
Best regards, Speak Up

Gentile redazione,
sono da qualche anno un assiduo lettore del vostro giornale.
Sul numero di aprile, nell’articolo “The (Real) Big Bang Theory” mi ha colpito la diversa pronuncia delle parole “finite” /fain-nait/ e “infinite” /in-fi-nit/. Come si è originata, nel tempo, una simile divergenza di pronuncia tra una parola ed il suo contrario, partendo evidentemente dalla stessa radice? Grazie

Dear Reader,
As you quite rightly point out, English pronunciation is full of anomalies, and it seems impossible to make a fixed rule of it. In this particular case, I think it is probably a question of stress. In the word ‘finite’ both syllables have the long /ai/ sound and even though the first syllable is stressed, the second is quite long. If we maintained this stress pattern, ‘infinite’ would became a real mouthful and so, as English people always prefer to simplify things, /in-fi-nit/ rolls off the tongue more easily.
Best regards, Speak Up

Torna all'inizio
submitting your vote...
Hai già votato per questo articolo