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Agosto 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!

Buongiorno, negli ultimi due numeri ho trovato gli articoli letti dal vostro speaker Alex Warner, che non mi sembra parlare con accento britannico standard. Per esempio, nell'articolo "Someone stole my cheese" mi sembra di sentire pronunciare alcuni gruppi di vocali alla maniera irlandese (es. "ai" pronunciato "oi"). Mi piacerebbe avere dettagli al riguardo, dato che nella rivista il tipo di pronuncia degli speaker non è specificato.
Grazie mille e saluti, Ilaria

Dear Ilaria,

well done for noticing the differences in Alex Warner's accent in specific articles! A British accent can be many things, and we'd like to give our readers an authentic idea of what it is like to listen to a native speaker. In most reports Alex uses his own neutral voice, ‘BBC English’ as it is called. In reports in first person, we ask our actors to speak in a mild version of the accent from the region that the author comes from. In the article you mention Alex has an accent typical of South West England. As you have noticed, it has different vowel sounds and a stronger ‘r’.

Gentile Redazione,
sul numero di Giugno 2018 a pag. 45 si legge nell'intervista all’astronauta Scott Kelly: "I'm in space for a year".
Ma non si tratterebbe di un caso di 'duration form', quindi formulato come "I have been in space for a year"? Non so a quale licenza si possa essere ispirato Scott Kelly, ma attendo lumi. Grazie e saluti, Cristina

Dear Cristina,

you are right, normally this would be a duration form and would need the present perfect “I've been in space for a year.” However, it is very common in spoken English to put everything into the present when we are talking about dramatic events, about something funny or strange that happened to us, or for telling jokes. Notice that Kelly says: “I rushed down to the control centre to call her...” (past tense). Then he wants to make clear how dramatic the situation was, so he suddenly jumps to the present: “And I was like ‘What!? Samantha, I'm in space for a year and you're lonely....’” You imagine Kelly acting and gesticulating as he says the words; he's trying to create a dramatic effect! Rachel

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