Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Redundancy in English

English has many examples of redundancy. This can be defined as a repetition of information. In fact, redundancy occurs in all languages.

In the plural two carrots, the plural marker -s is redundant. The reason is that the number two already indicates that the noun is plural. This is different from the sentence I see the carrots where the plural marker is necessary to indicate plurality.

In the double possessive a friend of my father's possession is indicated by the preposition of. The form father's is unnecessary. It is sufficient to say a friend of my father. However, the double possessive is sometimes necessary. Compare a picture of my mother with a picture of my mother's. In the first instance we have a picture of a person's mother, but in the second we have a picture which belongs to a person's mother.

In the question Do you like fish? the verb do is redundant. In the sentence You like fish it fails to appear, and in the question it adds no meaning. In informal language You like fish? conveys the same information.

Redundancy is sometimes used for emphasis. This can be exemplified in ha,ha, oh, oh and no, no. This type of emphasis is also often used to indicate surprise (oh, oh), laughter (ha,ha) and refusal (no,no).

Redundancy is common in language. It can be both grammatical and lexical. In the phrase three houses the redundancy is grammatical, but in free gift it is lexical. Lexical redundancy can be avoided, but grammatical redundancy such as three houses is an inherent and necessary part of the English language.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Oatmeal Pancakes

Oatmeal pancakes are delicious and easy to make. Here's a Danish recipe:

1 egg
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup oats
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Beat the egg until it is fluffy.
Stir in the remaining ingredients.
Grease a heated pan.
Pour about 3 tablespoons of batter onto a hot pan.
Cook the pancake until it is puffed and dry around the edges.
Turn and cook the other side until it is golden brown.

These pancakes are best served warm. Enjoy!

Sunday, August 7, 2016


Galician is a language which is spoken in northwestern Spain. Though similar to Portuguese, it's a separate language. Here is a list of words to illustrate the differences:

eye Spanish ojo Portuguese olho Galician ollo
person Spanish persona Portuguese pessoa Galician persoa
today Spanish hoy Portuguese hoje Galician hoxe
game Spanish juego Portuguese jogo Galician xogo
leaf Spanish hoja Portuguese folha Galician folla
make Spanish hacer Portuguese fazer Galician facer
four Spanish cuatro Portuguese quatro Galician catro
yesterday Spanish ayer Portuguese ontem Galician onte
one Spanish uno Portuguese um Galician un
good Spanish bueno Portuguese bom Galician bo

The Galician words are closer to Portuguese than they are to Spanish. However, Galician has less nasalization. Compare the words for good and yesterday: bom vs. bo and ontem vs. onte. Another difference is that an lh in Portuguese often corresponds to an ll in Galician. Notice the words for eye and leaf: olho/ollo and folha/folla. Nevertheless, Galician and Portuguese are similar.

Friday, August 5, 2016


Sangria is a popular drink with many versions. It can be made with red or white wine. Here is a recipe for this famous drink:

1 apple, chopped into small pieces
1 orange or lemon, sliced into small pieces
1 peach, chopped into small pieces
1 cup orange juice
1 cup sparkling water
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup orange liqueur
3 cups red wine

Add the fruit and sugar to a pitcher.
Add the orange juice and orange liqueur.
Add the red wine and stir.
Add the ice and chill.
It is advisable to chill sangria for at least 30 minutes. For a full fruit flavour you can chill it in the refrigerator overnight. Enjoy!

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Differences in British and American English with Transportation Terminology

British and American English have a number of differences in vocabulary. This is especially true in transportation terminology. Here is a list with the British word on the left and the American on the right:

aerial antenna
bonnet hood
boot trunk
caravan trailer
car park parking lot
diversion detour
dual carriage way divided freeway
estate car station wagon
flat battery dead battery
fly-over overpass
give way yield
glove box glove compartment
high street main street
hire car rental car
indicator blinker
lorry truck
metalled road paved road
motorway freeway
number plate license plate
pavement sidewalk
petrol gasoline
silencer muffler
windscreen windshield
wing mirror rear view mirror
zebra crossing crosswalk

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

French Onion Soup

French Onion Soup is a famous dish. Though it takes time to prepare, this is such a delicious soup that it's well worth the effort. This recipe serves four. Here it is::

4 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 onions, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/3 cup flour
1/2 cup dry sherry
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup  beef stock
1 1/4 cups water
French bread
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Heat the butter and olive oil in a frying pan.
Add the onions and cook for about 20 minutes until brown.
Add the garlic and sugar and cook until sugar has browned.
Add the vinegar and cook for 2 minutes.
Sprinkle the flour over the onions and cook for 1 minute.
Stir in the sherry, white wine, beef stock and water.
Continue stirring until the mixture boils and thickens.
Reduce the heat and simmer the soup uncovered for about 25 minutes.
Toast slices of bread in an oven until crisp and golden.
Place the bread in the soup and add Parmesan cheese so that it melts.

If you wish, you can garnish the soup with parsley. Enjoy!

Fireflies In The Garden

The poem Fireflies In The Garden was written by Robert Frost. Though it is a short poem, it is very descriptive. Here is the poem:

Fireflies In The Garden

Here come real stars to fill the upper skies,
And here on earth come emulating flies,
That though they never equal stars in size,
(And they were never really stars at heart)
Achieve at times a very star-like start.
Only, of course they can't sustain the part.

The poem has one stanza with six verses. The first three and last three verses rhyme.  Each verse has ten syllables with five feet and a stress pattern of weak and strong. The poem is in iambic pentameter.

In the first verse the poem tells the reader that it is dark and stars are in the skies. Now fireflies appear and because they are small and fly, they resemble flies. Though they are far smaller than stars and they have no desire to be stars, in the beginning of their flight they give the appearance of stars. However, they don't burn with the intensity and heat of stars. In other words, they have a much shorter duration.

The powm Fireflies In The Garden describes the resemblance of fireflies to stars. Though the two are very different, in a certain sense they resemble one another. Fireflies also resemble flies, small insects capable of flight. Fireflies resemble stars in the beginning of flight, but only for a moment.

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