Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Most Widely-Spoken Languages

Though many languages are spoken in the world today, the most widely-spoken languages are spoken by a large percentage of the world's population. In certain cases, languages have more non-native speakers than native ones. This is the case with English.

The most widely-spoken languages in the world today are:

1)Mandarin
2)English
3)Spanish
4)Hindi
5)Arabic
6)Bengali
7)Portuguese
8)Russian
9)Japanese
10)Punjabi

Hindi is very similar to Urdu. Besides their different scripts, Hindi is spoken primarily in India and Urdu primarily in Pakistan. Bengali is a language which is spoken not only in India but also in Bangladesh. Other languages with a large number of speakers are Indonesian, a language similar to Malay which is spoken in Malaysia and Singapore, German, French, Vietnamese and Korean.

The most widely-spoken languages in the world have many speakers. Languages such as English, Spanish and Arabic are spoken in many different countries. English, the language of business and science, now has more non-native speakers than native ones.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Ten Famous Cocktails

Cocktails are mixed drinks which often contain alcohol. Here is a list of ten famous cocktails:

1. Singapore Sling
2. Kamikaze
3. Bloody Mary
4. Tequila Sunrise
5. Screwdriver
6. Manhattan
7. White Russian
8. Tom Collins
9. Martini
10. Mai Tai

A Singapore Sling is pink in colour. The ingredients include pineapple juice, gin and cherry brandy.

A Kamikaze is a relatively simple drink to prepare. It has vodka, lime juice and triple sec.

A Bloody Mary is another cocktail prepared with vodka. It also has tomato juice and spices.

A Tequila Sunrise is made with tequila as the name suggests. In addition to tequila, it has orange juice and grenadine syrup. Another version of this drink uses different ingredients such as lime juice and creme de cassis.

A Screwdriver is a simple cocktail prepared with a combination of orange juice and vodka. However, this drink has many variations.

A Manhattan is another famous cocktail. As the name suggests, it was invented in Manhattan. Among the ingredients are whisky, vermouth and bitters.

A White Russian is a cocktail that is white in colour. It is prepared with vodka, coffee liqueur and cream. If cream is not added, it is known as a Black Russian.

A Tom Collins is a cocktail made with gin. In addition to gin, it has lemon juice, sugar and carbonated water.

A Martini is a very popular cocktail. It is prepared with gin and vermouth but has several variations. For example, the Apple Martini or Appletini is prepared with apple brandy.

The last cocktail on the list, the Mai Tai, has rum, Curacao liqueur and lime juice. Despite its name, it is an American invention.

Many of the most famous cocktails have vodka and gin. The ones with vodka are the Kamikaze, Bloody Mary, Screwdriver and White Russian. Other cocktails such as the Singapore Sling, Tom Collins and Martini have gin. These cocktails are undoubtedly among the most popular in the world.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Rhoticity in Jamaican English

All English accents can be classified as rhotic and non-rhotic. Most of the accents of England do not pronounce post-vocalic "r" and can thus be classified as non-rhotic. On the other hand, most of the accents of the United States pronounce post-vocalic "r" and can be classed as rhotic. The Jamaican accent, however, pronounces post-vocalic "r" in certain contexts but not in others. As a result, it is a semi-rhotic accent.

In words such as "father" and "turkey," Jamaican English does not pronounce the "r." In "father," the "r" is part of an unstressed syllable. Unless it is followed by a word that begins with a vowel, the "r" is not pronounced in this context. However, "turkey" is different because the "r" is part of a stressed syllable. The "r" is dropped here because it is followed by a consonant.

In words such as "here" and "occur," the "r" is pronounced. In "here," the "r" is at the end of a stressed syllable. In "occur," the context is the same. The "r" is part of a stressed syllable and is retained.

Jamaican Englsh is a variety of English that illustrates semi-rhoticity. Unlike accents of English which always preserve or drop post-vocalic "r," Jamaican English preserves it when it is the final segment of a stressed syllable but drops it when it is part of an unstressed syllable and when it is followed by another consonant. This occurs in both stressed and unstressed syllables such as "market" and "report." This feature of Jamaican English is known as semi-rhoticity.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Heaven

Here is one of my poems, a sonnet titled "Heaven."

Heaven

Leaves of every dazzling colour abound,
Lush green meadows with fragrant flowers appear,
Birds of various stripes create joyous sound,
Hearts of passion know no evil, no fear.
Heaven is where resplendent love is found,
Loved ones of every age always found near.
Angels on graceful wings leave solid ground,
Unspoiled nature leaves air and water clear.
Heaven is peace, joy, love and compassion,
Souls living in eternal harmony.
Heaven brings worlds of heightened sensation,
Souls nearing perfection eternally.
Heaven opens divine revelation
And fills souls with complete tranquillity.

The rhyme scheme is a,b,a,b,a,b,a,b,c,d,c,d,c,d. Unlike the Shakespearean sonnet, mine does not have a rhyming couplet at the end. The word "heaven" is used four times.