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 refreshing 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 lemon 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 lemon 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, fill the bottles until ready to serve.

This is a 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!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Beautiful Heart

Here is my latest poem. I wish to dedicate this to my wife. Here it is:

Beautiful Heart

In action, thought and example
You reveal your beautiful heart.
You are my eternal candle
Whose flames kindness and love impart.

Your virtue is precious treasure.
Humility and patience last.
These qualities beyond measure
Over decades you have amassed.

Your heart touches in word and deed,
Ready to extend compassion.
Your kindness touches those in need
Through each noble word and action.

Your virtues I will remember
Every day of my life with you.
Your beautiful heart is treasure
And reflects all you say and do.

The poem consists of four stanzas with four verses each. The rhyme scheme is a,b,a,b and each verse has eight syllables. Beautiful Heart is a tribute to virtues such as kindess, love and patience.

Apocopation in Spanish

Spanish has words which are shortened when they come before nouns. This is known as apocopation, the loss of one or more sounds from the end of a word. In Spanish apocopation often applies to adjectives. Here are examples:

David es bueno. (David is good)
David es un buen chico. (David is a good guy)

Este libro es mi primero. (This book is my first)
Es mi primer libro. (It's my first book.)

Francisco es el santo que amaba a los animales. (Francis is the saint who loved animals)
San Francisco es el santo de los animales. (Saint Francis is the saint of animals)

Manuel es mi tercero. (Manuel is my third)
Manuel es mi tercer hijo. (Manuel is my third child)

Quiero uno. (I want one)
Quiero un helado. (I want one ice cream)

A number of Spanish words are shortened when they come before a noun. The unstressed ending of the word is dropped. This ending always has the vowel /o/.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Cod with Egg Sauce

Cod can be prepared in many different ways. This Norwegian recipe is simple and delicious. Here is the recipe:

4 tablespoons salt
4 codfish steaks

Egg Sauce

2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup hot fish stock
2 hard-boiled eggs, finely chopped
1 tomato, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh parsley
1 tablespoon chopped chives
black pepper

Fill a pan with water to a depth of four inches.
Add four tablespoons of salt.
Bring to a boil and reduce the heat.
Gently slide the cod into the water with a spatula.
Lower the heat and simmer for about three minutes.
Do not overcook or the fish will disintegrate.
Remove the fish and serve with egg sauce.
Melt the butter in a pan.
Remove and add the fish stock in which the fish was cooked.
Add the tomato, egg, parsley and chives.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Return to the stove and heat almost to the boiling point.
Serve with the cod.

In Norway this is often served with raw diced carrots served with lemon juice and with steamed potatoes.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Performative Verbs

Performative verbs are verbs which convey a speech act when they are uttered. In other words, they communicate actions which are performed in speech. Examples of performative verbs include apologize, insist, promise, recommend, and quit. 

In contrast, non-performative verbs are independent of speech. The verb run isn't a performative verb. The sentence I run every week doesn't perform the act of running. Other non-performative verbs include dance, sing, sleep, swim and walk.

Here are five sentences with performative verbs:

I apologize for being late.
I insist you come with us.
I promise to read your book.
I recommend a red wine.
I quit.

Many verbs can be classified as performative verbs. When uttered, they perform the action which they convey. Performative verbs are often used in present tense. 

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Food Idioms

Idioms are expressions which cannot be interpreted literally. Many idioms are connected to food. Here are ten:

a piece of cake
a lot on my plate
food for thought
with a grain of salt
you can't have your cake and eat it too
apples and oranges
a lemon
have a finger in every pie
small potatoes

The exam was a piece of cake. This idiom means that the exam was easy.

She has a lot on her plate. This is another way to say she has many issues to deal with.

The question gave me food for thought. The question gave the speaker a lot to think about.

Take my opinion with a grain of salt. This idiom means that the speaker's opinion should not be taken too seriously because it may not be correct.

You can't have your cake and eat it too. This idiom means that we can't have two things that are incompatible. If we eat our cake, we can no longer keep it.

You can't compare high school students with university students- they're apples and oranges. The speaker believes that high school students and university students are very different. In other words, they're incomparable.

This car is a lemon. This is another way to say that the car is defective and doesn't run well.

He has a finger in every pie. This idiom means that he's involved in many enterprises.

My salary is peanuts. This means that the speaker's salary is very low.

This contract is small potatoes. The speaker believes that the contract is insignficant.

English uses a number of food idioms. These are fixed expressions with a meaning distinct from that of the individual words themselves.The ones listed here are common English idioms.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Potato Pancakes

Potato pancakes are a great way to use potatoes. Here is a German recipe:

1 egg
2 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3 potatoes, peeled and grated
1/2 cup chopped onion
vegetable oil

In a bowl beat together the egg, flour, baking powder, salt and pepper.
Mix in the potatoes and onion.
Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat.
In batches put the mixture into a pan.
Press to flatten.
Cook until brown and crisp.

Potato pancakes are an excellent side dish. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Garlic Rice

Garlic rice is a very popular dish in the Philippines. It's easy to prepare and really tasty. Here's the recipe:

1 cup rice, cooked
1 clove of garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons salt
3 tablespoons oil

Heat the pan and add the oil.
When the pan is hot, add the garlic.
Fry until it becomes brown and crispy.
Add the rice and mix well with the garlic.
Fry until the rice is ready.
Add the salt.
Serve hot with your favourite main dish.

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