Monday, June 27, 2016

Comparison of Romance Languages

The Romance languages are related to one another. Spanish, Italian, French and Portuguese reveal many similarities in vocabulary. Here is a list of ten words in each language:

milk leche (Spanish) latte (Italian) lait (French) leite (Portuguese)

white blanco (Spanish) bianco (Italian) blanc (French) branco (Portuguese)

world mundo (Spanish) mondo (Italian) monde (French) mundo (Portuguese)

cat gato (Spanish) gatto (Italian) chat (French) gato (Portuguese)

flower flor (Spanish) fiore (Italian) fleur (French) flor (Portuguese)

eye ojo (Spanish) occhio (Italian) oeil (French) olho (Portuguese)

person persona (Spanish) persona (Italian) personne (French) pessoa (Portuguese)

love amor (Spanish) amore (Italian) amour (French) amor (Portuguese)

peace paz (Spanish) pace (Italian) paix (French) paz (Portuguese)

flour harina (Spanish) farina (Italian) farine (French) farinha (Portuguese)

Spanish and Portuguese share the greatest similarity in vocabulary. Of the ten words from this list, Spanish and Portuguese have the same word in five instances. In contrast, Spanish and Italian have the same word in one instance and French shares no words with the other Romance languages listed here. The word for flour starts with an f in every language except Spanish, where it starts with an h. The word for cat starts with a g in every language except French, where it starts with a ch. In all other cases, the words begin with the same letter. This indicates that the Romance languages are closely related to one another.

Friday, June 24, 2016


Coffee is the third most popular drink in the world. Only water and tea are consumed more. Despite the many flavours of coffee, there are two main beans: arabica, which accounts for about 70% of coffee production and robusta, which is cheaper and easier to grow.

These were the top ten producers of coffee in 2015:

1) Brazil
2) Vietnam
3) Colombia
4) Indonesia
5) Ethiopia
6) India
7) Honduras
8) Uganda
9) Mexico
10) Guatemala

Brazil is the undisputed leader in coffee production. Most of the coffee plantations of Brazil are located in the southeast.

Vietnam has a relatively small area, but is a major coffee exporter. Coffee is a very important part of the Vietnamese economy. It is the second main export after rice.

Colombian coffee is world-famous. Colombia was once the second exporter of coffee, but has moved to third place because of the increase in coffee production by Vietnam.

Coffee production was introduced to Indonesia by the Dutch colonists. The robusta bean accounts for most of the coffee production in Indonesia.

Ethiopia is the top African producer of coffee. The arabica bean is the most common in Ethiopian coffee production. Coffee is a very big part of the Ethiopian economy.

Though tea is undoubtedly more popular than coffee in India, it is a top ten producer of coffee. Most of the coffee produced in India comes from the south. About 80% of Indian coffee is for export.

Honduras is the top Central American producer of coffee. Coffee is a very important part of the Honduran economy.

Coffee is the top export in the central African nation of Uganda. The country produces both arabica and robusta beans.

Mexico produces mostly arabica beans. The majority of Mexican coffee production is in coastal areas near the Guatemalan border.

Guatemala produces an amount of coffee which is not so far behind that of Mexico. It is the second biggest producer in Central America.

Coffee is a very important commodity and an important export for many countries. In fact, it is a vital part of the economies of Vietnam, Ethiopia, Honduras and Uganda. Of the top ten coffee producers, three are in North America, three are in Asia, two are in Africa and two are in South America.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Syntactic Dislocation

In syntax, dislocation refers to a sentence structure in which a constituent occurs outside of its usual boundaries. The dislocated constituent is often accompanied by a pause in speech and a comma in writing. Two types of dislocation occur: left dislocation and right dislocation.

In the sentence "John A. MacDonald, he was the first prime minister," we have an example of left dislocation. The meaning is the same as in the sentence "The first prime minister was John A. MacDonald," but in the first sentence emphasis is given to John A. MacDonald. In left dislocation the topic is advanced. It occurs earlier in the sentence than is usually the case.

With right dislocation, the constituent is postponed. Consider the following sentence: She won the election, Angela Merkel. She won the election is a good sentence, but Angela Merkel is added to clarify who the subject of the sentence is.

Dislocation is very common in language. Left dislocation serves to emphasize the topic of the sentence and right dislocation provides clarification of the subject. The term dislocation is used because the constituent occurs outside of the regular clause boundaries.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Number of Sounds and Segments

Many English words differ in the number of segments and letters they contain. In linguistics a segment is a unit of speech. When the number of segments and letters differs, it is usually due to silent letters and this results in more letters than segments. Some words, however, have more segments than letters.

The following words differ in the number of segments and letters:

class cough fox laugh music
scene sing unit wrist yacht

Here are the words with the number of letters and segments:

1) class (5 letters and 4 segments) [klæs]

2) cough (5 letters and 3 segments) [kɑf]

3) fox (3 letters and 4 segments) [fɑks]

4) laugh (5 letters and 3 segments) [læf]

5) music (5 letters and 6 segments) [mjuzIk]

6) scene (5 letters and 3 segments) [sin]

7) sing (4 letters and 3 segments) [sIŋ]

8) unit (4 letters and 5 segments) [junIt}

9) wrist (5 letters and 4 segments) [rIst]

10) yacht (5 letters and 3 segments) [jɑt]

In seven of the ten words from this list, the number of letters is greater than the number of segments. Many English words have silent letters. For example, the word scene has a silent and a word-final silent e. Three words have more segments than letters. This is because the letter represents two segments and in many words the letter also represents two segments. The list shows that English spelling isn't very phonetic.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Sour Cream Poundcake

Sour cream poundcake is a delicious cake that's easy to prepare. It's flavoured with cardamon, cinnamon and vanilla. Here's the recipe for this Finnish dessert:

2 teaspoons butter, softened
1 tablespoon bread crumbs
8 tablespoons butter, softened
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 3/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon cardamon
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla

Grease the pan with 2 teaspoons of butter and sprinkle the bottom and sides of pan with bread crumbs.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Cream the butter and sugar together until the mixture is light and fluffy.
Beat in the eggs, one at a time, making sure each one is thoroughly mixed before adding another.
Sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and cardamon, and stir half into the batter.
Beat in the sour cream and vanilla, combine well, and add the rest of the flour.
Pour the contents into the pan.
Bake in the centre of the oven for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the top of the cake is golden brown and the centre of the cake is fully baked.
Cool the cake and serve at room temperature.

The addition of sour cream gives this cake a special flavour. It's very popular in Finland.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Manchester Accent

Though England has a small area, it's a country with many English accents. One of the most famous is the Manchester accent. It has a number of distinct features. Here are a few:

-in words such as city, happy and lucky, the word final y is pronounced as in big

-the words look and luck rhyme (this is because the u of but, must and up has the sound of the u in put)

-words such as castle, dance and fast have the vowel of man

-the diphthong in words such as line, side and time is more advanced than in the London accent

-the vowel of cap, hat, and land tends to be more retracted than in the London accent.

To hear the Manchester accent, visit the following website: You can find the Manchester accent under accents of the northwest.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Mate in 13

In a game of speed chess I mated my opponent in 13 moves. My opponent was dusanmarkovic1989 of Serbia, who played black. Here are the moves of the game:

1. e4 e5
2. Nf3 Nc6
3. c3 Nf6

My third move isn't so common. More common moves are Bb5 and Bc4.

4. d4 Nxe4

I expect black to play exd, but he captures a pawn with his knight.

5.Bd3 exd

Black takes another pawn, but this is a mistake. He needs to save his knight with a move such as Nf6.

6. Bxe4 dxc

Black has three more pawns, but this isn't enough compensation for the loss of his knight.

7. Nxc3 Bb4

8. 0-0 0-0

9. Ng5 Be7

Black fails to stop the loss of the h7 pawn. A better move is h6.

10. Nxh7 Kh8

11. Qh5 g6

Black can't save the game.

12. Qh6 Bf6

13, Nf6#

I win with a discovered check.

The key to this game is black's fifth move, exd. He decides to capture a central pawn, but loses his knight and the game. My eleventh move, Qh5, is an aggressive move which quickly ends the game.