Friday, July 20, 2018

Victory in 24

In a game of speed chess, my opponent resigned after 24 moves. He was ando1893 of the United Kingdom, who played black. Here are the moves of the game along with my commentary:

1. e4 e5
2. Nf3 Nc6
3. Bb5 d6
4. 0-0 Bd7
5. c3 a6
6. Bxc6 Bxc6

Material is even, but the black king is in the centre of the board.

7. Re1 Nf6
8. d4 Bxe4

I sacrifice a pawn to create open files against the black king.

9. dxe5 Bxe3

Black should play dxe5.

10. Qxf3 dxe5

I should play exf6+. This not only captures the knight but puts the black king in check. This allows Qxf3 on the next move.

11. Rxe5+ Be7
12. h3 Rb8

A better move for black is to castle.

13. Qe2 b5
14. Bg5 Rb6
15. Na3 h6
16. Bxf6 gxf6
17. Re4 Rd6
18. Re1 Rd7

If black castles, he loses a piece.

19. Nc2 Kf8
20. Nd4 f5
21. Nxf5 Rd2
22. Qg4 Rg8

Black should play Bg5.

23. Qxh6+ Kg8
24. Nxe7+

Black resigns because he will lose his queen. In this game black fails to castle and is on the defensive for much of the game. I establish strong control of the e-file.

Word-Final Schwa Deletion in Danish

A study from 2012 showed that word-final schwa in Danish is more likely to be deleted in verbs than in adjectives. The schwa is very common in Danish and is often deleted. However, the schwa is also likely to undergo a process called schwa assimilation.

The schwa is often deleted in the first posttonic syllable. Examples include husene (the houses), rimelig (reasonable), menneske (human), tjeneste (service), klosteret (the cloister). Deletion can also occur in pretonic syllables such as litteratur (literature), which is stressed on the final syllable.

In words such as  pige (girl), schwa deletion is possible, but schwa assimilation is common. The result is two adjacent syllabic nuclei. With schwa assimilation, pige is pronounced [pi:i].

Schwa deletion is common in Danish. Also common is schwa assimilation. Schwa deletion often occurs in the first posttonic syllable and to a lesser extent in pretonic.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

The Storm

Sara Teasdale wrote The Storm. Here is the poem:

The Storm

I thought of you when I was wakened
By a wind that made me glad and afraid
Of the rushing, pouring sound of the sea
That the great trees made.

One thought in my mind went over and over
While the darkness shook and the leaves were thinned--
I thought it was you who had come to find me,
You were the wind.

The poem has two stanzas with four verses each. The rhyme scheme is a b c b d e f e.  The second and fourth verses of each stanza rhyme. The narrator is woken by the sound of the wind. The wind rushing by trees sounds like the sound of the sea. The wind brings back memories, but the narrator realizes that no one has found her. Only the wind is present.

Monday, July 16, 2018

German Adjective Declension

German adjectives are invariable in predicate position, but before nouns they are declined. The endings of the adjective vary. Let us look at examples with masculine, feminine, neuter and plural nouns in nominative and accusative.

The word nett means nice. In predicate position it is invariable:

Der Mann ist nett. (The man is nice.)
Die Frau ist nett. (The woman is nice.)
Der Kind ist nett. (The child is nice.)
Die Kinder sind nett. (The children are nice.)

In attributive position, however, different endings are needed.

Der nette Mann ist hier. (The nice man is here.)
Die nette Frau ist hier. (The nice woman is here.)
Das nette Kind ist hier. (The nice child is here.)
Die netten Kinder sind hier. (The nice children are here.)

Hast du den netten Mann getroffen? (Have you met the nice man?)
Hast du die nette Frau getroffen? (Have you met the nice woman?)
Hast du das nette Kind getroffen? (Have you met the nice child?)
Hast du die netten Kinder getroffen? (Have you met the nice children?)

Unlike English, German adjectives are declined before nouns. In certain positions, however, the same endings are used. This is the case for masculine, feminine and neuter nouns with definite articles in the nominative. The endings for adjectives following indefinite articles and no articles are different. German uses more inflection than English.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Irish English Apico-Alveolar Fricative

Many speakers of Irish English have an apico-alveolar fricative. This sound is not used in other varieties of English. It occurs word-finally and intervocalically, but not syllable-initially in stressed position. The sound can occur in Italy but not in Italian.

The apico-alveolar fricative is produced with the tongue tip, and the tongue is placed near the alveolar ridge. The /s/ is the same as in other varieties of English, a lamino-alveolar fricative. It is produced with the blade of the tongue.

The words tea, eat and thought have an alveolar plosive, apico-alveolar fricative and dental plosive in the English of many Irish speakers. The dental plosive is an interdental fricative in other varieties of English.

Speakers with the apico-alveolar fricative produce it in words such as butkit and yet. They contrast with buss, kiss and yes, which have a lamino-alveolar fricative. In Irish English the orthographic t can have different manners of articulation. In words such as tea, time and two the t is always realized as a plosive.

The apico-alveolar fricative is associated with Irish English. It can occur syllable-initially, but only if the syllable is unstressed. The apico-alveolar fricative often occurs intervocalically and word-finally. 

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Slovenian and Croatian

Slovenian and Croatian are both South Slavic languages. They are similar, but not as closely related as Czech and Slovak. Here are the numbers from one to ten in both languages:





The numbers for three, five, six, nine and ten are the same in both languages. With the exception of the number one, the other numbers only vary a little. The numbers for one to ten are similar in Slovenian and Croatian.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Czech and Slovak

Czech and Slovak are similar languages. They are Slavic languages with a high degree of mutual intelligibility. Here are the numbers from one to ten:





The numbers for one and two are identical, and the others are similar. The numbers five, six, nine and ten end with palatal plosives in Slovak but not in Czech. The list of numbers indicates that Czech and Slovak are closely related.

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