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Dicembre 2017
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!

American v. British
Cara Sarah, mi è piaciuto molto il tuo articolo sulle differenze tra l’inglese britannico e quello americano. Hai menzionato Noah Webster come un riformatore che ha cercato di semplificare l’inglese americano ma, al di là di questi cambiamenti, secondo te qual è la ragione di queste differenze? Gli americani hanno voluto differenziarsi dalla vecchia madrepatria oppure ha contato di più l’influenza degli altri pellegrini europei?
Grazie mille!

There are so many fascinating theories as to why American and British English have diverged. Part of the reason is the influence of other immigrants from Europe - Italy and Ireland in particular - who brought their own language traditions with them. But one intriguing thing to consider is that sometimes American English has actually stayed closer to the language of the British Pilgrim Fathers than British English has! One great example is the word ‘gotten’. It’s an archaic form of the past participle got, still used in American English but dropped long ago in Britain.

Guy Fawkes Night
Ho letto nell’articolo di novembre dedicato a Guy Fawkes che durante Bonfire Night si bruciava l’effigie del papa. Ma è ancora così? Inoltre si dice che il 5 novembre è “a day of thanksgiving”: ma ha qualcosa a che fare con il giorno del Ringraziamento americano?

Guy Fawkes Night, or Bonfire Night, was indeed once a celebration of the defeat of a Catholic plot against the King and Parliament. In the early 17th century, religion had a far greater significance than it does today. Differences over religion often resulted in violence and even wars. However, over the years, and especially during the last century, the religious element to Guy Fawkes Night has been largely lost. The only effigy burnt on bonfires is that of Guy Fawkes. Now the day is basically an excuse for firework displays. American Thanksgiving originated as a harvest festival.

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