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The best of the blog

Gennaio 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!

Nurture or Nature
Ciao Alex! L’articolo sulla disuguaglianza di genere (pubblicato su Speak Up di dicembre) mi ha fatto pensare. L’ho trovato molto utile e coinvolgente, ma mi ha fatto riflettere su una cosa: ritieni che il fatto che l’inglese non abbia una distinzione di genere (ovvero non esistono il maschile e il femminile), come in italiano, influisce in qualche modo sui cervelli anglofoni?

A complex and fascinating question! English words may have no gender but perhaps we still think the objects they refer to are more associated with male or with female qualities, and we should be aware of this! For example, we might assume dolls or are a ‘feminine’ thing, even though many boys play with them. Alternatively, we might think motorbikes are ‘masculine’ even though many women ride them. The question is then whether choosing to write about a particular subject is based on such assumptions, which then influences our confidence in writing about them. As a female, would I assume dolls to be a more appropriate subject to write about than motorbikes? I hope not! But we must keep asking ourselves these questions!

English’s Elasticity
Caro Speak Up, ho pensato a una parola per descrivere il 2017, ma non è facile. Mentre sono ancora indecisa, mi sono resa conto che l’inglese sembra più aperto ad accettare parole nuove rispetto ad altre lingue, sia che si tratti di parole straniere sia di parole totalmente inventate. Addirittura gli emoji! C’è una ragione per questo?

You’re absolutely right, Silvia. English seems to actively embrace new words rather than seeing them as a threat to the purity of the language. There is no institution in the English language equivalent of the Accademia della Crusca, for example. Historically, I think this relaxed attitude comes from English being such a hybrid of different languages already: Anglo Saxon, Latin, French etc. Now, given that it is such a huge global language, English speakers know that having some fun with their language won’t damage it.
Best regards,

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