Sunday, January 14, 2018

Victory With A Knight Sacrifice

In a game of speed chess, I sacrificed my knight to win. My opponent was Tomubone of the USA, who played black. Here are the moves of the game along with my commentary:

1. e4 e6
2. d4 d5
3. Nc3 Bb4
4. e5 Bxc3+
5. bxc3 c5
6. Nf3 c4

All the pawns on the c, d and e files are fixed.

7. Be2 b5
8. 0-0 h6
9. h3 Bd7
10. Ba3 a5
11. Bc5 Na6
12. Re1 Nxc5

Black captures my active bishop.

13. dxc5 Qc7
14. Qd4 Rc8
15. Qg4 g6

I prepare an attack.

16. Nh4 Qxc5

Black wins a pawn, but this is a mistake. A better move for black is Nd7.

17.  Nxg6 fxg6

It is better for black to decline the sacrifice with Rh7.

18. Qxg6+ Kd8

No matter where the king moves, the rook is lost.

19. Qg7 Kc7

Black connects the rooks, but it is too late.

20. Qxh8 Ne7
21. Qxh6

In a difficult position, black decides to resign. He wins a pawns on his sixteenth move, but fails to anticipate the knight sacrifice which leads to the loss of his rook. This is the turning point of the game.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Latin Pronunciation

Latin pronunciation is similar to that of Italian. The vowels can be long or short, and this affects stress. In a trisyllabic word, the stress falls on the second syllable if the vowel is long and on the first syllable if the vowel of the second syllable is short.

Before ae, e, oe and i, a few consonants become soft. The letter c is then pronounced as ch in English, the sc is pronounced as in sheep, the g is pronounced as in gentle, the gn as in onion and ti when followed by another vowel is pronounced as the ts in cats.

The r in Latin is trilled as in Italian and consonants can be short and long. Unlike Italian, Latin has many words which end with consonants and more consonant clusters.

The pronunciation of Latin is regular and can be learned quickly. In fact, it does not differ so much from Italian. However, the grammar of Latin is more complicated.

Banana Cake

Banana bread and banana cake are popular around the world. Here is a Swedish recipe for banana cake:

2 ripe bananas, mashed
3 tablespoons butter
2 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 cup flour
2 cups milk
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons vanilla sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Melt the butter.
Beat the eggs and sugar.
Add the flour, baking powder and cinnamon.
Add the melted butter and bananas.
Pour in the milk and mix.
Butter a pan and coat with oatmeal.
Add the batter and bake for 40-50 minutes at 175 degrees Celsius.



Wednesday, January 10, 2018

German Word Order

German is an SVO language. This is the same as English. However, German word order can be quite different from English. Let us look at a few examples.

In the sentence Ich sehe das Haus (I see the house), the German word order is the same as in English. However, in the question Kannst Du das Haus sehen? (Can you see the house?), the infinitive see is placed at the end. This is also true for past participles as in Ich habe das Haus gesehen (I have seen the house).

In subordinate clauses German verbs are placed at the end. The sentence Sie ist krank (She is sick) has the same word order as English. However, the sentence Sie kann nicht kommen, weil sie krank ist (She can't come because she is sick) places the verb is at the end. Also notice that a comma separates the main clause from the subordinate clause.

German also has V2 movement. This simply means that the verb must be the second constituent of every sentence. The sentence Wir kommen (We're coming) has the same word order as English, but Jetzt kommen wir (Now we're coming) is different. Here the verb comes before the subject.

Though German is an SVO language, many German sentences have a different word order from that of English. This can be seen in subordinate clauses, sentences with infinitives and past participles and in sentences subject to the V2 movement rule. German word order often places verbs, past participles and infinitives in sentence final position.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Cheese Souffle

The souffle is a famous French dish. The egg whites and egg yolks need to be separated, and it's important not to open the oven door during baking. Here's a recipe for a cheese souffle:

4 eggs
1 cup grated cheese (Gruyere, Swiss)
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups milk
salt
pepper
nutmeg

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
Butter the baking dish.
Heat the butter in a pan.
Add the flour and stir quickly for one minute.
Add the  milk and stir for a few minutes over low heat.
Remove the pan from the heat.
Separate the egg whites and egg yolks.
Beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt.
Add the egg yolks to the pan and the grated cheese.
Add a pinch of nutmeg and pepper.
Carefully fold the egg whites into the mixture.
Pour into the baking dish.
Bake for approximately 35 minutes.

Serve immediately. Enjoy!



Sunday, January 7, 2018

Dutch and German Diphthong Correspondence

The Dutch diphthong ij often corresponds to the German ei. In English this diphthong is often spelled i as in ricetime and wine. Here is a list which illustrates the orthographic correspondence between the Dutch ij and the German ei:

bijna beinahe (almost)
fijn fein (fine)
ijs Eis (ice)
rijk reich (rich)
rijst Reis (rice)
schrijver Schreiber (writer)
tijd Zeit (time)
vrijdag Freitag (Friday)
wijn Wein (wine)
Zonneschijn Sonnenschein (sunshine)

Most of the words in the list are similar to the English ones. Unlike in Dutch, German words are always capitalized. The Dutch diphthong is similar to the German one, but the first component of the Dutch diphthong has a more advanced articulation than in German.

Wine-Whine Merger

In the dialects of English which have the wine-whine merger, the two words are pronounced the same. In those which lack the merger, wine has a voiced labiovelar glide and whine has a voiceless one. The pairs Wales/whales, weather/whether, wear/where and which/witch are  homophones for those speakers who have the merger and distinct for those who do not.

The merger is present in the English of Australia, England, Jamaica, New Zealand, South Africa and Wales, and is widespread in the English of Canada and the United States. The merger is not found in Scotland and with the exception of Dublin, not found in Ireland.

The wine-whine merger is common in English. However, speakers of Scottish English lack the merger as well as most speakers of Irish English. In Canada and the United States, most speakers have the merger. Speakers with the wine-whine merger lack the voiceless labiovelar glide. This is an example of simplification.

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