Sunday, November 19, 2017

Latest Poem

Here is my latest poem. I wrote it for my wife's birthday.

My Wife

It was cloudy, it was rainy,
Nearly dinner time when we met.
From this moment began our story
With background weather grey and wet.

Who knew what would come from this encounter?
Who could say that marriage was near?
But after our first day together
My heart told me to reappear.

With every moment spent with you,
In conversation and adventure,
Every moment felt so new
And our love deepened further.

I remember well our time together.
You are my day, my night, my life.
Days with you are filled with wonder.
I am proud to call you my wife.

My poem has four stanzas with four verses each. The rhyme scheme is abab cdcd efef ghgh. The second stanzas begins with two questions. The title of the poem appears in the final two words.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Distribution of English Phonemes

The distribution of English phonemes varies. Many phonemes can occur word-initially and word-finally, but others only occur word-initially or word-finally. Let us look at the distribution of various phonemes in English.

The velar nasal of sing only occurs word-finally. Unlike the bilabial nasal of me and the alveolar nasal of now, the velar nasal never occurs word-initially. It is the case that this phoneme never occurs word-initially in European languages.

The glottal fricative of house never occurs word-finally. English once had a velar fricative in words such as night, but this is no longer the case. In German, Dutch, Swedish, Danish and Norwegian, glottal fricatives are also restricted to word-initial position.

The voiced interdental fricative of the can occur word-initially and word-finally, but it is more common in word-initial position. An example of the voiced interdental fricative in word-final position is bathe.

The lax vowels of end and it occur word-initially and word-medially, but not word-finally. However, this is not true for all dialects of English because in certain dialects, the high front unrounded lax vowel occurs in words such as happy,

The lax vowel of good never occurs word-initially or word-finally. It occurs after a word-initial consonant such as look and should. It has a much more restricted distribution than the tense vowel of boot.

The examples illustrate that English phonemes occur in different environments. The phonemes with restricted environments are marked. Thus the lax vowel of look is a marked vowel, but the vowel of boot is unmarked. The distribution of phonemes varies not only in English but in fact in all languages.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Resignation after 11 moves

In a game of speed chess, my opponent resigned after my eleventh move. I forced his bishop to retreat, which took away the escape square for his rook. When it was clear he couldn't save his rook, he resigned. My opponent was Starianovea of South Korea, who played white. Here are the moves of the game along with my commentary:

1. e4 c5
2. Bc4 e6

White develops the bishop early. I play e6 so that I can later play d5.

3. e6 Nc6

Black prevents d5.

4. Nf3 a6
5. a4 f6

Black prevents b5.

6. exf Nxf6
7. d3 Be7
8. Bg5 0-0
9. Bxf6 Bxf6

Black's move is very commital. My bishop now has control of the f6-a1 diagonal.

10.  0-0 d5

I can play Bxb2, but I want to drive back the bishop so that the rook loses its only escape square.

11. Ba2 Bxb2

White blunders. He should play Bb3 to give his rook an escape square. By playing Bb3, he loses his rook.

Down a pawn and unable to save his rook, white resigns. His eleventh move leads to the loss of his rook and his ninth move gives me control of an important diagonal. In a difficult position, white decides to resign early.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Strawberry Cake

There are many recipes for strawberry cake. This Swedish recipe is easy and very tasty. Here is the recipe:

8 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon lemon peel
2 cups strawberries
2 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons vanilla sugar
1 cup flour

Melt the butter.
Butter a pan and coat with breadcrumbs.
Chop the strawberries into small pieces.
Mix the eggs and the sugar.
Add the baking powder and vanilla sugar.
Now add the flour, melted butter and lemon peel.
Mix well.
Put in the pan.
Place the chopped strawberries on top.
Bake at 175 degrees Celsius for 35 minutes or until the cake has a golden colour.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

French Influence Of English

The French language has strongly influenced English. During the Norman occupation, around 10,000 words were incorporated into English and more than half of them are still in use today. This influence extends not only to vocabulary, but also to pronunciation and word order.

Many French words and words of French origin are used in English. Here is a small list:

carte blanche
cordon bleu
deja vu
double entendre
haute cuisine
je ne sais quoi
joie de vivre
noblesse oblige
nouveau riche

French has also influenced English pronunciation. Words such as vol-au-vent have a nasalized vowel not present in native English words. Old English had the voiceless fricatives of for, she, sit and three, but French added the voiced counterparts of mirage, the, valley and zone. 

Another area of French influence is word order. The compounnds secretary-general and surgeon general retain the word order typical of French rather than the adjective + noun sequence used in English.

The English language exhibits many signs of French influence. These can be seen in many words as well as word order and pronunciation. Despite this reality, many English speakers are not fully aware of the extent to which French has influenced English.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Italian Words with a Final Consonant

Most Italian words end with a vowel. However, this is not the case for all words. Here is a list of Italian words which end with a consonant:

ananas (pineapple)
con (with)
est (east)
film (film)
in (in)
non (not)
nord (north)
ovest (west)
per (for)
sud (south)

Word-final consonants also occur as a result of apocope. For example, the word bello means beautiful, but in a beautiful dream, this becomes un bel sogno. The word for sea is mare, but in Mediterranean Sea, this becomes Mar Mediterraneo. Apocope is also common in poetry.

Italian has few words that end in a vowel. In the list, the words are prepositions or borrowed words such as ananas and film. The Italian language has fewer words with a final consonant than the other Romance languages.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Lenition of /k/ in Liverpool English

The accent of Liverpool is a distinct English accent. Of the features associated with the accent, one is lenition of the /k/. This occurs word-finally and in certain speakers also word-medially.

An example of lenition of the [k] occurs in the word back. In standard English the final sound is [k] but in Liverpool English this becomes either [kx] or [x]. Lenition can also occur word-medially. For example, the word chicken has a word-medial [kx] or [x] in the English of many speakers of Liverpool English.

The word-final /k/ lenition of Liverpool English bears resemblances to German. For example, the German words for book and cook are Buch and Koch. Lenition is a weakening process and is common in many languages. In the Liverpool accent, the /k/ never lenites word-initially but it can lenite word-medially and categorically lenites word-finally.

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