Thursday, December 29, 2016

Linking R

English has a phenomenon known as linking R. This only occurs in non-rhotic varieties of English  They pronounce the /r/ when it is in the syllable onset and occurs before a vowel. In the case of linking R, however, the /r/ is word-final.

Non-rhotic varieties of English pronounce word-final /r/ when the following vowel begins with a vowel sound and there is no pause between the segments. For example, the /r/ of winner can be pronounced in the phrase the winner is. However, in the English of many non-rhotic speakers of the southern USA, linking R fails to apply.

Non-rhotic varieties of English often apply linking R. This /r/ always occurs across word boundaries. It isn't categorical, however, because it's blocked if there's a pause between the two segments.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Broccoli Gratin

Broccoli Gratin is a delicious French recipe for broccoli. Here is the recipe:

1 head of broccoli, stalk removed
1 tablespoon butter
4 tablespoons flour
1/3 cup milk
2 tablespoons cream
1/2 cup grated cheese

Cook the broccoli in salted water.
Put the broccoli in cold water and drain.
Make the white sauce by melting the butter.
Add the flour and then the milk.
Mix and remove from the heat.
Add  and stir the cream, nutmeg, salt and pepper and half the cheese.
Chop the broccoli and mix into the sauce.
Put in an ovenproof dish and sprinkle the rest of the cheese over the top.
Bake in the oven at 200° Celsius for approximately 15 minutes or until the top is browned and crisp.

Broccoli Gratin is very tasty and easy to prepare. I hope you'll try the recipe.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

English Contractions

English uses many contractions. They're words which reduce two words to one. Contractions are especially common in casual speech and writing.

Many contractions include personal pronouns and the negative adverb not. Examples include I'm, you're, we're, aren't and can't. With negative contractions, two forms are often possible. For example, you aren't and you're not are both acceptable. The verb might, however, never contracts.

Contractions are very common in English. However, they're avoided in formal language. Many contractions include a personal pronoun and verb.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Creamed Carrots

Creamed carrots make a great side dish. Known as carottes a la concierge in French, they also have onion and garlic. Here is the recipe:

2 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 onion, sliced
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove of garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon flour
1/4 cup vegetable or beef stock
1/2 cup boiled milk
1 teaspoon sugar
2 egg yolks
4 tablespoons whipping cream
2 tablespoons parsley

Cook the carrots and onion slowly in a covered pan for approximately 30 minutes.
Make sure to stir occasionally.
The vegetables should be tender but not browned.
Add the garlic for the last five minutes of cooking.
Mix the flour and cook for three more minutes.
Take the pan off the heat and add the boiled stock, boiled milk, sugar and seasonings.
Simmer uncovered for about 20 minutes.
In a bowl blend the egg yolks and cream.
Remove the carrots from the heat and use a spatula to fold the egg yolks and cream.
Shake the pan over low heat until the egg yolks have thickened.
Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

Creamed carrots can also be served as a main dish. They're a nice alternative to mashed potatoes.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Assimilation in English

Assimilation is a common phonological process in which a sound becomes more similar to a nearby sound. Assimilation can be classified into two types, progressive and regressive. Let's look at a few examples of assimilation in English:

The word ten is pronounced with an alveolar nasal. However, in the word tenth the nasal is dental. The reason is that it is followed by an interdental fricative. The nasal becomes more similar to the following sound. This is an example of regressive assimilation.

The words kiss and cool are both pronounced with a velar plosive. However, they aren't identical. The /k/ in kiss has an advanced articulation. This is because the vowel in kiss is a front vowel. In cool the vowel is back. The front vowel of kiss triggers the advanced articulation of the plosive. This is an example of regressive assimilation.

The words happy and home have the same initial consonant, but they're pronounced a bit differently. The glottal fricative of home is produced with lip rounding. As a result, the /h/ is labialized. This isn't the case in happy. The /h/ of  home is labialized because it is followed by a rounded vowel. This is an example of regressive assimilation.

In the words hand and hat, the vowel is the same. However, the vowel of hand is nasalized. The reason is that it's followed by a nasal in the same syllable. The nasal triggers nasalization of the vowel. This is also an example of regressive assimilation.

However, assimilation can also be progressive. The phrase Let's go has a word-final consonant in let's and a word-initial consonant in go. When the two words are articulated quickly, the /g/ of go becomes a /k/. This is a voicing asssimilation. The voiceless alveolar fricative of let's devoices the velar plosive of go. This is an example of progressive assimilation.

English has many examples of assimilation, a phonological process which causes one speech segment to become more like another. Assimilation can happen within a word or even across word boundaries. Assimilation can be further divided into two types, regressive and progressive. Of these two types, regressive is more common.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Apple Pudding

Apple pudding is delicious. Though this French recipe takes time to prepare, the result is worth the effort. Here is the recipe:

4 apples, peeled, cored and sliced
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon potato flour
2 tablespoons butter
2 eggs
2 tablespoons breadcrumbs

Place the apples in a pan with the sugar, cinnamon and lemon juice.
Cook over medium heat until the apples start to soften.
Lower the heat and stir the apples until they become a puree.
Add the flour and butter.
Reduce the puree over low heat until it is quite thick.
Allow to cool.
Beat the eggs into the puree and pour into a buttered mold.
Sprinkle with breadcrumbs.
Bake in a preheated oven at 180 degrees Celsius for about 40 minutes or until firm to the touch.

This is a very tasty pudding. Enjoy!

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 example, 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.

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