Thursday, August 22, 2013

Uncastled Kings

In a game of speed chess, I forced a resignation after fourteen moves. My opponent, Poulantzas of France, played black.  It was unusual that neither side castled- I decided not to castle so that I could focus on my attack, and with a knight check took away my opponent's right to castle.  Here are the moves of the game along with my commentary:

1. e4 e5
2. Nf3 d6
3. Bc4 Be6
4. Bb3 Be7

I retreat with my bishop knowing that if black plays Bxb3, I can open the a-file with axb3.

5. d4 Bxb3

Black allows me to open the a-file.  A better move for black is to develop the knight with Nf6.

6. axb3 exd
7. Nxd4 Bf6

The black bishop seizes control of the diagonal.

8. Be3 c5

I make a bad move.  It is better to play Nc3 to keep b2 protected.

9. Nf5 Bxb2
10. Ra2 Bf6

Black makes a mistake.  Here it is better to play Be5 to protect d6.

11. Nd6+ Ke7

The black king loses the right to castle.

12. Nf5+ Ke8

Here it is better for me to play Bxc5.

13. Nd6 Ke7

The position is the same as on the eleventh move.

14. Bxc5

Black resigns.  I am only up one pawn, but my pieces are better developed than black's.  With his lack of development and exposed king, black decides to concede.

This game is unusual for two reasons- it ends after only 14 moves and neither side castles.  Black loses because he fails to attend to the safety of the king.  Though material is almost even, his position is difficult to defend.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Regional differences in American Pronunciation

The USA is a country which exhibits a number of regional differences in pronunciation.  The regions which often have different pronunciations are found in the northeast and south.  However, it is important to note that not all speakers of a region pronounce all words the same.  Even withone one region there is variation.

In the western USA, caramel is usually pronounced with two syllables and in the eastern USA with three. In the southeast, mayonnaise tends to be pronounced with two syllables and the first one is pronounced man. In the the rest of the country, it tends to have three syllables and the first syllable is pronounced may.

In the southeast and northeast of the country, the second vowel of pyjamas usually has the vowel of jam.  In the rest of the country, the second vowel usually has the vowel of father.  In the northeast of the country, the first syllable of syrup is usually pronounced sear but in the rest of the country it is usually pronounced sir. Finally, the word lawyer is usually pronounced law in the first syllable by speakers of the southeast.  The exception is Florida where it is usually pronounced with the diphthong of boy as in the rest of the country.

American English is far from uniform.  Many of the regional differences occur in the southeast and northeast of the country.  The pronunciation of American English can thus vary significantly from one region to another.

Raspberry Smoothie

A raspberry smoothie is delicious and easy to make.  You need the following ingredients:

1 cup raspberries
1 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup milk
ice cubes

Pour the ingredients into the blender and blend.  Pour into a glass and enjoy.  Other fruits can be substituted for raspberries such as strawberries, blueberries, cherries and peaches.

The Fly

The Fly is a poem by William Blake.

The Fly

Little fly,
Thy summer's play
My thoughtless hand
Had brushed away.

Am not I
A fly like thee?
Or art not thou
A man like me?

For I dance
And drink and sing,
Till some blind hand
Shall brush my wing.

If thought is life
And strength and breath,
And the want
Of thought is death,

Then am I
A happy fly,
If I live,
Or if I die.

In the poem, a little fly loses its life to a hand.  Though a fly and a human may initially seem very different, the author suggests they are similar.  The human is similar to the fly in the sense that they both dance, drink and sing.  Also, they shall both die but will not know the moment.  Death will come blindly.

William Blake also writes that life is to think, to live and to be strong, and the absence of thought is death. Like the fly, the human lives happily and loses all thought at the moment of death.  Though the human and the fly may seem very different, in many ways they are quite similar.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Bread with Tomato

Bread with tomato, known in Catalan as pa amb tomàquet, is a simple dish popular in the Spanish regions of Catalonia and Aragon.  It consists of bread, often toasted, with tomato rubbed over and then seasoned with olive oil and salt.  Sometimes garlic is rubbed on the bread along with tomato.

The dish can be eaten plain, or it can be eaten with sausages, hams, cheeses, fish or marinated vegetables. Similar dishes can be found in France, Malta, Italy and Greece.  These countries all share Mediterranean cuisine, which makes extensive use of tomatoes.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Lateral Approximant of Norwegian

The lateral approximant of Norwegian can be pronounced in different ways.  It can be pronounced as an alveolar lateral, alveolar velarized lateral and even as a retroflex flap.  In southwestern Norway, the alveolar lateral is common.  In the north and east of the country, the retroflex flap is often used.  In the southeastern part of the country, i.e., Oslo, the alveolar lateral and alveolar velarized lateral are both used.

In dialects which use both the alveolar lateral and the alveolar velarized lateral, the two are allophones. The alveolar lateral occurs after a front vowel and the alveolar velarized lateral occurs after a back vowel.  The alveolar lateral occurs in the following words:

mel flour
sill herring
jul Christmas

The vowel in jul is a high central rounded vowel, but phonologically it can be classified as a front vowel.  For this reason, it is followed by an alveolar lateral.

The alveolar velarized lateral occurs in the following words:

ball ball
halv half
tolv twelve

The alveolar velarized lateral occurs after back vowels.  However, the alveolar velarized lateral occurs in the syllable-coda.  If the lateral is in the syllable-onset, it is usually realized as an alveolar lateral.  This is the usual pronunciation of palass palace in which the lateral is in the onset of the second syllable.  Here velarization is not common.

The lateral of Norwegian has different realizations.  In the dialects of southeastern Norway, an area which includes Oslo, the alveolar lateral and the alveolar velarized lateral are common.  The two are in an allophonic relationship.  The alveolar lateral occurs after front vowels and the alveolar velarized lateral occurs after back vowels.

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