Friday, March 16, 2018

Greek Alphabet

The Greek alphabet is the ancestor of the Latin and Cyrillic scripts. The Latin script is used in various languages such as Spanish, German and Vietnamese. Cyrillic is used in languages such as Russian, Bulgarian and Mongolian. The Greek alphabet is the source of technical symbols in many fields of math and science. The Greek alphabet has 24 letters.

The word alphabet is derived from the first two letters of the Greek alphabet, alpha and beta. The first four letters of the Greek alphabet are alpha, beta, gamma and delta and the final letter is omega. These are probably the most familiar letters of the Greek alphabet.

Originally there was only one symbol for each letter. In the modern era, however, Greek developed a distinction between lower case and upper case. This development also occurred with the Latin script. The Greek alphabet is very old. It was developed around 800 BC.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Days in Afrikaans and Dutch

Afrikaans and Dutch are related languages. In fact, Afrikaans is derived from the Dutch of the settlers who lived in South Africa from the seventeenth century. The similarity of the two languages can be seen in the days of the week from Monday to Sunday.





The days of the week are nearly identical in the two languages. The days for Saturday and Sunday begin with an s in Afrikaans but a z in Dutch. The vocabulary for the days of the week illustrates the similarity of Afrikaans and Dutch.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Oat Cakes

Oat cakes are delicious and easy to make. This Danish recipe has only seven ingredients. Here it is:

7 tablespoons butter
1 1/4 cups oats
3/4 cup flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1/3 cup boiling water
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Mix the butter and sugar.
In another bowl pour the water over the oats.
Add the flour, salt and baking powder to the water and oats.
Add the butter and sugar.
Knead until smooth.
Put in the fridge for one hour.
Take out and roll on a flat surface.
Add flour as needed.
Use a glass to cut shapes.
Put the oatcakes on a baking sheet and prick with a fork.
Bake in a preheated oven at 180 degrees for approximately 15 minutes.


Thursday, March 8, 2018

Double Letters in English

Many English words have doubled letters. They occur in words such as apple, letter and summer. However, English makes no distinction between long and short consonants. In Norwegian, the word sommer (summer) is pronounced with a long m. This is not the case in English, but English once maintained a distinction between long and short consonants.

In Middle English the words sune (son) and sunne (sun) were pronounced with distinctive consonant length. The former was pronounced with a short nasal and the latter with a long nasal. This distinction is no longer maintained. The words super and supper are pronounced differently, but the differently is in vowel quality, not in consonant length.

English once had distinctive consonant length, but now double consonants merely serve to indicate the quality of the preceding vowel. Other Germanic languages have also lost this distinction. They include Danish, Dutch and German.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Pronunciation of z in Italian

The letter z has two pronunciations in Italian. It can be pronounced as a voiced or voiceless alveolar affricate. Here are examples with the two pronunciations:

voiced alveolar affricate [dz]

pranzo (lunch)
romanzo (novel)
zanzara (mosquito)
zebra (zebra)
zero (zero)

voiceless alveolar affricate [ts]

dizionario (dictionary)
grazie (thanks)
marzo (March)
negozio (business)
zucchero (sugar)

No universal rule can be given for the pronunciation of z in Italian. In fact, regional pronunciation can vary from the standard. The word zio (uncle) is pronounced with a voiceless affricate in standard Italian, but can be pronounced with a voiced one in regional dialects. However, the voiceless alveolar affricate is more common than the voiced.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Napoleon Bonaparte

Napoleon Bonaparte had many famous quotes. Here are ten:

1) "A true man hates no one."

2) "A leader is a dealer in hope."

3) "Imagination rules the world."

4) "Truth alone wounds."

5) "You become strong by defying defeat and turning loss and failure into success.

6) "Never interrupt your enemy when he is mistaking a mistake."

7) "Until you spread your wings, you'll have no idea how far you can fly."

8) "A society without religion is like a vessel without compass."

9) "To extraordinary circumstances we must apply extraordinary remedies."

10) "Riches do not consist in the possession of treasures, but in the use made of them." 

Friday, March 2, 2018


Albanian is a language of the Indo-European family, but it is classified as a language isolate. The language has approximately seven million speakers. It is official in both Albania and Kosovo.

Like Bulgarian, Romanian and Swedish, Albanian has postnominal articles. For example, mal (mountain) has the form mali (the mountain) and zog (bird) has the form zogu (the bird).

The Albanian language has seven vowels. They include the five vowels of Spanish as well as the schwa and the high front rounded vowel, which is written y. The schwa in Albanian has a great deal of variability from retracted to advanced articulation.

Relatively rare among languages, Albanian has voiced and voiceless interdental fricatives. They are spelled dh and th. Albanian also has an alveolar tap and alveolar trill as in Spanish.

Though a language isolate, Albanian is an Indo-European language. It has interdental fricatives and postnominal articles. Albanian has a relatively free word order, but the most common is SVO.

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