Friday, December 9, 2016

L-Vocalization in Dutch

Many Dutch words with the letters ou have an l in English. The Dutch words used to have an l, but this l changed into the diphthong ou. The process in which a consonant changes into a vowel is called vocalization.

Here are Dutch words which are examples of l-vocalization:

Arnold Arnoud
bolt bout
cold koud
fault fout
gold goud
malt mout
old oud
salt zout
shoulder schouder
Walter Wouter

This sound correspondence is also found in other Germanic languages. For examples, the English word salt is the same in Danish, Norwegian and Swedish and is Salz in German. The word shoulder is skulder in Danish, Norwegian and Swedish and Schulter in German.

The phonological process of l-vocalization is common. In the English dialect of Cockney, syllable-final l is vocalized. Words such as bottle, hole and shelf replace the l with a vowel sound. Many speakers of Brazilian Portuguese also vocalize syllable-final l.

Many Dutch words used to be pronounced with an l. As a result of l-vocalization, this l became ou. This ou often corresponds to an l in English.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Palatalization in English

Palatalization is the term for a sound change in which a consonant becomes a palatal consonant or becomes palatalized. This is a common phonological process in not only English but in fact all languages. The term palatal vowel is often used to refer to front vowels. Palatal consonants and vowels are articulated near the palatal region of the oral cavity.

Palatalization in English exhibits three alternations that are types of palatalization. They are coronal palatalization, velar softening and spirantization. 

Coronal palatalization involves an alternation between alveolars and alveopalatals. The alternation involves changes in both the manner and place of articulation. Here are examples:

perpetuity perpetual
please pleasure
residue residual

Velar softening exhibits alternations between velar plosives and coronals. This alternation also involves changes in both the manner and place of articulation. Here are examples:

analogue analogy
critic criticize
medication medicine

Spirantization exhibits alternations between the voiceless alveolar plosive and either the voiceless alveopalatal fricative or voiceless alveolar fricative. This alternation involves a change in the manner of articulation, i.e., secret secrecy or both the manner and place of articulation, i.e., part partial. Here are examples:


Palatalization is a common phonological process. The sound change usually applies to consonants but can also apply to vowels articulated near the palatal region. English palatalization can be exemplified by three phonological alternations.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Restrictive and Non-Restrictive Clauses

Restrictive and non-restrictive clauses are also known as adjective clauses. They modify the noun which they follow. Restrictive noun clauses are essential to the meaning of the sentence. If they were eliminated, the meaning would change. However, non-restrictive clauses are not essential. They give additional information, but if omitted, the meaning of the sentence doesn't change. Here are examples of the two types of clauses where the first is restrictive and the second non-restrictive:

I have a sister who lives in Miami.
I have a sister, who lives in Miami.

Besides the difference in punctuation, the two sentences have different meanings. In the first sentence, the speaker has more than one sister, and one of his sisters lives in Miami. In the second sentence, he has only one sister, and she lives in Miami.

My brother whose name is Jack is a scientist.
My brother, whose name is Jack, is a scientist.

In the first example, the speaker has more than one brother, and one of them is named Jack. In the second example, the speaker has only one brother and his name is Jack.

Let's look at two more examples.

We had to wear a uniform which I didn't like.
We had to wear a uniform, which I didn't like.

The first sentence tells us that the speaker didn't like the uniform that she had to wear. In the second sentence, the speaker tells us that she had to wear a uniform, and she didn't like the policy. In other words, the speaker didn't like the uniform (sentence one) and the speaker didn't like having to wear a uniform. (sentence two)

Restrictive and non-restrictive clauses differ in meaning and punctuation. Restrictive clauses are essential to the meaning of the sentence and are thus never separated by commas. Non-restrictive clauses, on the other hand, provide extra information and are punctuated with commas.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Lemon Mead

Lemon mead is very popular in Finland. Known as sima in Finnish, it is often drunk during May Day celebrations. Here is the recipe for this tasty drink:

1 lemon
1/4 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
12 cups boiling water
1/8 teaspoon yeast
6 raisins

Peel the yellow skin of the lemon and set aside.
Cut away the white membrane of the lemon and discard.
Slice the lemon thinly.
In a bowl, combine the lemon slices, lemon skin, white sugar and brown sugar.
Pour boiling water over the fruit and sugar, stir and let the mixture cool.
When it is warm, stir in the yeast.
Allow the mead to ferment uncovered at room temperature for about 12 hours.
To bottle use two bottles with caps.
Place 1 teaspoon of sugar and 3 raisins in the bottom of each bottle.
Strain the mead and pour the liquid into the bottles.
Close the bottles tightly and let stand at room temperature for one or two days.
When the raisins have risen to the surface, chill the bottles until ready to serve.

This is a very refreshing drink with a low alcohol content. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Resignation in 17

In a game of speed chess, my opponent resigned after 17 moves. He was Rapidmates of the USA, who played white. Here are the moves of the game with my commentary:

1. e3 d5

White chooses an unusual opening.

2. Nf3 Nc6
3. c4 e6
4. cxd exd
5. Nc3 Nf6
6. Bd3 Be6
7. a3 Bd6

White  chooses to push a pawn rather than castle.

8. h4 Qd7
9. b4 Bg4
10. Qb3 Bxf3

I decide to give white doubled pawns.

11. gxf Be7

I retreat with my bishop to protect my d-pawn.

12. b5 Ne5

White plays aggressively but the white king isn't safe.

13. Bb1 Nxf3+

White blunders. Be2 is better.

14. Ke2 Ne5
15. Bb2 Qg4+
16. Ke1 Nf3+

Kf1 is better.

17. Kf1 Nxd2+

I fork the king and queen.  Because he is already down two pawns and about to lose his queen, black resigns.

The keys to victory in this game are my ability to develop my pieces and attack the exposed king. Though my king doesn't castle, it isn't a problem because my attack is stronger than white's. On the other hand, black's failure to castle directly contributes to his downfall.

Monday, November 21, 2016


The syllable is a unit of pronunciation with one vowel sound. It forms part or the whole of a word. The syllable can be classified into three parts.

The three parts of the syllable are the onset, nucleus and coda. The nucleus and coda can be further classified into the rhyme. The onset and the coda are optional, but the nucleus is an essential part of the syllable.

The word pin has an onset, nucleus and coda. The onset is /p/, the nucleus is /I/ and the coda is /n/. In the word in there is no onset. The nucleus is /I/ and the coda is /n/. The word eye has no onset or coda. The nucleus is /aI/.

The syllable can be light or heavy. A light syllable consists of a short vowel. The heavy syllable consists of a long vowel, diphthong or syllable with a coda. If the syllable has a coda, it is closed and if it has no coda, it is open.

Syllable structure differs among languages. English allows the consonant cluster /sk/ in the onset and coda, but Spanish does not. The word school is thus escuela in Spanish.

The syllable is an important unit of phonology. Words with one syllable are monosyllabic. If they have two syllables, they are disyllabic and if they have three, they are trisyllabic. Long words with over three syllables are polysyllabic. The essential unit of the syllable is the nucleus.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Noodles with Bacon and Cottage Cheese

Noodles with bacon and cottage cheese are very popular in Hungary. They're very tasty and so easy to prepare. Here is the recipe for this Hungarian dish:

200 grams bacon, diced
400 grams dried noodles
100 grams cottage cheese

Fry the bacon over moderate heat until crisp.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook until tender, 10 to 12 minutes.
Drain the noodles.
Place in a pan and add the bacon and cottage cheese.
Bake at 225 degrees celsius for 20 minutes.
If you wish, you can also add a bit of sour cream.

Noodles with bacon and cottage cheese are delicious. Enjoy!