Monday, July 24, 2017

Analysis of Stress in English Words

The majority of English words are stressed on the first syllable. This is true for many words such as city, grammar and airplane. However, since English stress can appear on any syllable, it is largely unpredictable. I analyzed 20 English words to determinine the distribution of English stress. I chose the words from four categories: fruits, nature, literature and school.

The 20 words I chose are the following:

banana
orange
apple
mango
lemon
mountain
forest
river
jungle 
volcano
poem
story
character
setting
author
student
teacher
assignment
exam
pencil

Of these 20 words, 16 have sentence-initial stress. They are orange, apple, mango, lemon, mountain, forest, river, jungle, poem, story, character, setting, author, student, teacher, and pencil.

Three words have penultimate stress. They are banana, volcano and assignment. One word has sentence-final stress. The word is exam.

From the list the distribution of stress is as follows:

syllable-initial 80%
penultimate 15%
syllable-final 5%

Of course this list is to small to determine the distibution of stress in English syllables. A larger list is needed to derive a more accurate analysis. Nevertheless, the list appears to show that syllable-initial stress is definitely the most common in English.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Cardamom Ice Cream

This Swedish recipe for cardamom ice cream is simple and well worth the effort. Here is the recipe:

2 teaspoons cardamom
1 egg
6 tablespoons sugar
1 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Whisp the egg in a bowl for about two minutes.
Whisk in the sugar a little at a time.
Add the cream, milk, cardamom and vanilla extract.
Blend all the ingredients together.
Continue to whip for about three minutes.
Transfer to a container.
Cover and freeze for three hours.

Cardamom ice cream is popular in Sweden. This ice cream is very good with berries and pancakes and is also wonderful on its own.


Canadian Literature

In the world of literature written in English, British and American are famous. British Literature has writers such as Charles Dickens, William Shakespeare and J.K. Rowling. American Literature has contributed writers such as Emily Dickinson, Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald. Canadian literature is undoubtedly not as well known, but has made important contributions to the world of literature.

Eight Canadian writers who deserve attention are Roch Carrier, Robertson Davies, Margaret Laurence, John McCrae, Lucy Maud Montgomery, Farley Mowat, Alice Munro and Gabrielle Roy. Roch Carrier and Gabrielle Roy represent French-Canadian writers. Alice Munro is Canada's only Nobel Prize winner in literature. She won the Nobel Prize in 2013.

One of Roch Carrier's most famous short stories is The Hockey Sweater, a story which illustrates the tensions between English-Canada and French-Canada. Robertson Davies wrote The Rebel Angels, a story which takes place in a fictional college.

Margaret Laurence's most famous novel is probably The Stone Angel, a story about an elderly woman who reflects on her life. John McCrae is best known for his poem about war, In Flanders Fields. He served in World War I and died of pneumonia at the end of the war.

Lucy Maud Montgomery is best known for the series Anne of Green Gables. The Green Gables farm is now a tourist attraction in Prince Edward Island. She also wrote many poems. One of the most popular is Come, Rest Awhile. Farley Mowat wrote many novels about nature. One of the most famous is Never Cry Wolf, which takes place in the north of Canada.

Alice Munro has written many short stories. She has been compared to the great Russian writer Anton Chekhov. One of her earliest novels is titled The Shining Houses. Gabrielle Roy wrote a French novel which was translated into English as The Tin Flute. It tells the story of a waitress in Montreal who struggles with poverty while searching for love.

Compared to American and British literature, Canadian literature isn't so famous. Nevertheless, Canadian has many writers who have gained recognition both at home and abroad. One of them, Alice Munro, won the Nobel Prize in 2013.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Lemon Bread

This Hungarian recipe for lemon bread is very simple to make. Here is the recipe:

3/4 cup butter
1 1/4 cups sugar
3 eggs
2 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup lemon juice
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel

Preheat the oven to 175 degrees Celsius.
Grease and flour a baking pan.
Cream the butter and sugar.
Add the eggs and blend.
Combine the flour, baking powder and salt.
Add to the wet mixture alternating with milk and lemon juice.
Mix well.
Add the lemon peel.
Pour into the pan.
Bake for about one hour.

This is a light dessert that is really nice after a heavy meal.


Thursday, July 20, 2017

Love and Patience

This is my latest poem. It's dedicated to my father, who lost his life on July 9, 2016.

Love and Patience

Though you have gone, we remember.
You were quiet but spoke through action.
Your words of wisdom endure forever.
You exemplified dedication.

Those who knew you called you humble,
Diligent, kind and full of humour.
Life took you far from your cradle.
Canada became your future.

You experienced hardship and war in your early years,
But your words and actions bore no trace.
You were respected by your peers.
They recognized your kind face.

As time passes we miss you more.
Your love and patience are in your name.
Values of generosity and kindness we all adore.
You sought neither power nor fame.

We remember your love of family,
Hospitality offered to every guest.
Your words and actions are our memory,
As we strive to do our daily best.

Adjectives Ending With -ic and -ical

No rule can be given for the formation of adjectives with -ic and -ical. In certain cases -ic words are preferred over their -ical counterparts and in other cases, -ical words are preferred. A number of -ic and -ical pairs have differentiated themselves over time and now have distinct meanings.

Today the pair botanical is more common than botanic. Metaphorical is used more than metaphoric, but ironic and problematic are more common than their counterparts ironical and problematical. The word polemic is a noun and polemical is an adjective.

The word pairs classic/classical, comic/comical, economic/economical, electric/electrical, historic/historical and periodic/periodical have different meanings. The word classical is often used for well-defined historical periods of culture and science as in classical music. The word classic has a broader meaning. It has the meaning of great significance as in classic literature. The word comic relates to comedy and comical has the meaning of funny. The adjective economical relates to the economy and economics while economic means thrifty. The word electrical relates to electricity, for example, electrical outlets. Devices that run on electricity are electric such as electric cars and electric heaters. The word historical relates to the past as in a historical document. However, historic means historically signficiant as in a historic battle. The adjective periodic is used for situations that take place at regular intervals or are intermittent. The word periodical has a narrower meaning and means published at regular intervals.

In many cases adjectives with -ic and -ical are interchangeable as in botanic/botanical and ironic/ironical. Though these word pairs are identical in meaning, one of the two pairs is often more common than the other. With certain words pairs such as economic/economical and historic/historic, they were once identical but now have different meanings.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Red Currant Cake

Red currant cake is delicious to make and doesn't take so long to prepare. This Swedish recipe is flavoured with cardamom. Here is the recipe:

2/3 cup butter
3 tablespoons milk
3 large eggs
2 cups flour
1 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cardamom
1 cup red currants
1/2 cup red currants

Preheat the oven to 175 degrees Celsius.
Melt the butter and add the milk.
In another bowl whisk the eggs and the sugar.
Add the butter and milk to the egg mixture.
Add the cardamom.
In a separate bowl mix the flour, vanilla sugar and baking powder.
Add the dry ingredients.
Pour into a pan coated with butter and breadcrumbs.
Sprinkle the red currants on top.
Bake for about 30 minutes.

Here are the ingredients for the icing:

3 tablespoons cream
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup cream cheese

Melt the butter in a pan and add the cream.
Now add the sugar and cream cheese.
Stir for a few minutes until the mixture thickens.
Let cool.

Spread the icing over the top of the cake.
Decorate with the remaining red currants.

This is a cake that combines the flavours of cream cheese, red currant and cardamom. Enjoy!