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Febbraio 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!

Up or Down?
Sono contento che abbiate inserito alcuni articoli sull’Australia, ma c’è una cosa che ho trovato confusa: pensavo che la speaker Sarah Davison fosse britannica, invece nell’articolo è indicato che ha un accento australiano. Da dove proviene in realtà? Inoltre: l’espressione “Down Under” è veramente usata dagli australiani?

Sarah has lived for many years in the UK but is actually a ’Kiwi’, i.e. from New Zealand, where the accent is similar to the Australian accent (both countries might disagree with this statement but to the European ear, at least, the accents are not dissimilar!) Sarah is also an actress, and therefore has a very good ear for different accents which she can imitate extremely well. As for the expression “Down Under”, it was originally coined by the British convicts who were sentenced to be transported to Australia in the late 18th and 19th century but is in common use by Australians themselves today. Most of them are amused by it, although some Aussies do object to their country being regarded as an ‘outpost’ and at the ‘bottom’ of the world in typical maps showing the globe oriented with the north towards the top.

Total Solar Eclipse
Segnalo che nell'articolo Supermoon di Dicembre c’è scritto: “During a new moon syzygy, the Moon is not visible because it is between the Earth and the Sun. This is a lunar eclipse.” L’errore è che si tratta invece non di un’eclissi di luna, ma di un’eclissi di sole o solar eclipse. Cordiali saluti, Marco

You’re absolutely right, Marco. As you’ve pointed out, during a new moon syzygy the Sun is not visible because the Moon blocks its view from Earth. That is a solar eclipse, the effect being that darkness falls during the day. Total solar eclipses are quite rare (66 per century on average). Lunar eclipses occur when the Earth, Sun and Moon are aligned with the Earth between the Sun and the Moon, blocking the view of the Moon. They are much more frequent.

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