Saturday, June 24, 2017

Chicken Marengo

Chicken marengo is a famous French dish. It's prepared with white wine. Here's the recipe:

8 pieces chicken, skinned
salt and pepper
1/4 cup flour
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1 cup dry white wine
3 chopped tomatoes
1 bouillon cube
1 teaspoon thyme
10 mushrooms, sliced
1 tablespoon cognac
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parley or basil

Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper, and then coat in the flour.
Melt the butter with the olive oil in a heavy skillet on medium heat and gradually add the chicken.
Brown the chicken pieces on all sides and remove from the pan.
Add the onion and garlic  to the pan and cook on medium heat, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes.
Add the white wine. Add the tomatoes, bouillon cube and thyme, and then add the chicken.
Cover and simmer on low heat for about 30 minutes.
Add the mushrooms and continue cooking for 15 minutes.
Stir in the cognac 5 minutes before the end of the cooking time.
Stir in the chopped parsley or basil just before serving.

Chicken marengo is a popular French chicken dish. It's not complicated and well-worth the effort!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Resignation after 24 moves

In a game of speed chess against Francibrezner of Slovenia, I forced a resignation after 24 moves. Actually, I had mate in 22, but I missed it. In this game my opponent played black. Here are the moves of the game with my analysis:

1. e4 e5
2. Nf3 f5

My opponent decides to play a relatively unusual move.

3. exf Bc5
4. d4 exd
5. Nxd4 Nf6

Black is down a pawn, but ahead in development.

6. Be3 d6
7. Bc4 Bxd4

Bd3 protects the extra pawn, but Bc4 prevents castling.

8. Bxd4 Bxf5
9. 0-0 Nc6
10. Re1+ Ne7
11. Bxf6 gxf6
12. Qh5+ Bg6
13. Qe2 c6

Black is in a very defensive role. The queen protects the knight on e7.

14. Be6 Bf7
15. Bxf7+ Kxf7

The black king is exposed.

16. Qh5+ Ng6
17. Nc3 Qb6

I must decide whether to protect the pawn or generate offence.

18. Ne4 Qxb2
19. Nxd6+ Kg7
20. Nf5+ Kf8
21. Qh6+ Kf7

Black's move is forced. Here I have mate with Qg7, but I miss it.

22. Nd6+ Kg8

Again black's move is forced.

23. Rab1 Qc3

My original idea is to play Rxb7, which threatens mate on g7. I can't play this, however, because if I do black plays Qxe1#. I then notice a very strong move.

24. Nf5

Black resigns because he can't prevent mate on g7.

Black plays an unusual second move for quick development. However, I prevent his king from castling and keep him on the defensive. In the end, his king is too exposed to prevent defeat.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Borrowed Words in English

English has borrowed many words from other languages. In addition to Greek and Latin, English has words from many languages in every corner of the world. Here's a list of ten words borrowed from ten different languages:

ballet (French) -this is a dancing style which originated in France

coleslaw (Dutch) -in Dutch the word is koolsla, which means cabbage salad

dim sum (Chinese) - a style of Chinese cuisine especially popular in Hong Kong

karate (Japanese) -the literal meaning for this martial art is empty hand

kindergarten (German) -the literal translation is children's garden

paparazzi (Italian) -the singular of this word is paparazzo

paprika (Hungarian) -the spice and the fruit are very common in Hungarian cuisine

plaza (Spanish) - an open public area sometimes called a square

sheikh (Arabic) - a leader or ruler

taekwondo (Korea) - this popular martial art originated in Korea

This short list illustrates that English has many loanwords. In addition to languages such as French, Greek and Latin, English has also borrowed from languages such as Arabic and Japanese. This is partly due to the fact that at its height, the British Empire was the largest in history.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Words with a Silent h

The h in English is usually pronounced. There are some words, however, where it's silent. Here's a small list of words where the h is silent:

hors d'oeuvres

In Cockney English the h is regularly dropped. In this dialect of English, the h isn't pronounced in words such as happy, hat and hotel. The word herb is pronounced with an h sound in British English but not in American English. The h is usually pronounced word-initially and word-medially, but certain words are exceptions.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017


The circumfix is a type of affix with two parts. It has one placed at the beginning of a word and another at the end. English doesn't have circumfixes, but they occur in other languages such as Dutch, German, Georgian, Hungarian and Malay.

The circumfix is often seen in the German past participle. For example, the infinitive sagen (to say) has the past participle gesagt. The two parts of the circumfix are ge- and -t. Dutch has a similar system. For example, the Dutch equivalent of sagen is zeggen. The Dutch participle is gezegt. As in German, the two parts of the circumfix are ge- and -t.

In Hungarian the superlative of adjectives is formed with a circumfix. The Hungarian word for big is nagy. The comparative is nagyobb, but the superlative is legnagyobb. Here the two parts which form the Hungarian circumfix are leg- and -obb.

Thoiugh the circumflix isn't used in English, it is in other languages. German and Dutch often use the circumfix to form past participles and Hungarian uses it to form superlatives. It's a type of affix that is less known than the prefix, suffix and infix.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Types of Doctors

Doctors specialize in many different areas of treatment. The number of different types of doctors is extensive. Here's a small list of doctors with different specializations:

allergist allergies
anesthesiologist pain relief
cardiologist heart
dermatologist skin
endocrinologist hormones
geriatrician elderly
gynecologist female reproductive system
hepatologist liver
immunologist immune system
nephrologist kidney
neurologist nervous system
oncologist cancer
opthalmologist eye
orthodontist teeth
orthopedist musculoskeletal system
otolaryngologist ear, nose and throat
pediatrician children and adolescents
podiatrist foot and ankle
trichologist hair and scalp
urologist urinary tract

Doctors treat many different parts of the human body. The list given here only identifies a few types of doctors. The list is restricted to those who treat humans. Of course doctors who treat animals are known as veterinarians.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Poached Eggs With Sherry Cream Sauce

Poached eggs with sherry cream sauce are easy to prepare and taste sensational. The combination of cream and sherry is great. Here is the French recipe:

2 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup cream
2 tablespoons sherry
2 eggs
3 tablespoons grated gruyere cheese
buttered toast

Place a frying pan over low heat.
Add butter.
When it's nearly melted, add the cream and sherry.
Break the eggs nto a saucer one at a time.
Slide them into the pan.
As soon as the egg whites start to set sprinkle with the grated cheese.
Add the seasoning and finish cooking.
Put the eggs on the toast and pour the sauce over them.

Poached eggs with sherry and gruyere are ideal for breakfast. Enjoy!

Monday, April 24, 2017


Clitics are morphemes with the syntactic characteristics of words. However, they must be attached to another word. They have the form of affixes but the distribution of function words.

Clitics are often pronouns and auxiliary verbs. In the phrase my daughter's room, the 's of daughter's is classified as a clitic. It occurs after the host daughter.

In English clitics usually occur after the host. These clitics are classified as enclitics. Examples of enclitis are he's, they've,  and we'll. English has few examples of clitics which occur before the host. However, one example is y'all, a word which is often used in the southern United States.

Clitics are different from affixes. Unlike affixes, clitics always occur at the edges of a word. For example, in the words it's, its and can't, the clitics occur word finally. However, in the word kingdoms, the derivational affix, which is -dom, occurs before the inflectional affix -s. The derivational affix isn't at the edge of the word kingdoms. This is different from the behaviour of clitics.

Bound morphemes with the form of affixes but the distribution of words are known as clitics. They always occur at the edges of a word and are unstressed. Clitics which attach after their host are enclitics while those which attach before their host are proclitics.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Barley Porridge

Barley porridge is delicious and easy to make. It takes time to prepare, but is well worth the effort. Here's the recipe for this Finnish dish:

1/2 cup barley
1 cup water
3 cups milk
1 teaspoon salt

Combine all the ingredients in a buttered oven dish.
Bake the porridge for about 2 hours at 125 degrees Celsius.
Serve with milk or fruit sauce.


Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Spice Cake

Spice cake is very tasty and easy to make. This French cake has many variations. Here is the recipe:

3/4 cup milk
3/4 cup honey
6 tablespoons butter
3 cups flour
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup chopped candied orange peel

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
Butter and flour a pan.
Heat the milk over low heat until warm.
Stir in the honey until blended.
Stir in the butter until it completely melts.
Remove from the heat and allow to cool until just warm.
In a separate bowl add the flour, sugar, baking powder and spices.
Mix with the egg and candied orange peel.
Add the milk mixture and mix well.
Pour into a pan and bake for about 30 minutes.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Sound Correspondence between Dutch and English

Dutch and English are Germanic languages. They have many similar words and sound correspondences. Many English words which begin with an s have a z in Dutch. Here is a list:

salmon zalm
sand zand
Saturday Zaterdag
sea zee
seven zeven
sick ziek
sight zicht
singer zanger
sister zuster
six zes
so zo
soap zeep
soft zacht
son zoon
soul ziel
south zuid
summer zomer
sun zon
sweet zoet
sword zwaard

One of the sound correspondence which Dutch and English exhibit is with the s and z. In many instances Dutch words with an initial z have an initial s in English. This provides evidence of the close relationship between Dutch and English.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Verbs with the -en Suffix

Many English verbs consist of the suffix -en. This suffix usually combines with adjectives, but in certain cases with nouns. Here is a list of verbs:


The suffix -en usually combines with adjectives, but in a few cases the root is a noun. This is the case with strengthen and threaten.

The root never ends in a nasal or in a vowel. For example, the roots of blacken, deepen and deafen all end with consonants. The root often ends with the sound [t] as in bright, flat, fright, light, short, straight, sweet, threat and white.

In many cases only one word in a pair of opposites occur. For example, the word sick combines with the suffix -en to form sicken, but the suffix doesn't combine with healthy. Wide combines with the suffix to form widen, but not with the word narrow.

The colours black, red and white combine with the suffix to form blacken, redden and whiten, but this isn't the case with other colours such as green, pink and yellow.

The suffix -en combines with adjectives and nouns to form verbs. The root always ends in a consonant to the exclusion of nasals. Opposite pairs can be formed such as darken and lighten, but in certain cases such as thicken, only one word in the pair combines with the suffix -en.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Cardamom Cake

Cardamom is a very popular spice in Scandinavian baking. This Swedish recipe is delicious and easy to make. Here's the recipe:

7 tablespoons butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tablespoon cardamom
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup milk

Preheat the oven to 175 degrees Celsius.
Blend the butter and sugar together. Add the egg and cardamom.
Mix the flour and baking powder.
Gradually add to the mixture with the milk so that all the ingredients are well blended.
Coat a baking dish with butter and breadcrumbs.
Bake for about 45 minutes or until done.


Sunday, April 9, 2017

Planetary Phrases

The planets from nearest to farthest from the sun are Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. Pluto was considered the ninth planet in our solar system until it was declassified as a planet. To remember the planets many phrases have been composed.

A popular phrase to remember the planets in order from proximity to the sun is My very educated mother just served us noodles. When Pluto was considered a planet, a popular phrase was My very educated mother just served us nine pizzas. 

Phrases have been constructed to remember the planets of the solar system. The phrase My very educated mother just served us nine pizzas was once popular. However, with the changed status of Pluto, it's now more popular to use My very educated mother just served us noodles.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Gypsy Steak

Gypsy Steak is a Hungarian recipe that's very easy to prepare. It combines pork with paprika, garlic and bacon. Here's the recipe:

4 pork chops
1 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons salt
4 pieces garlic cloves
1 teaspoon paprika
vegetable oil

Chop the garlic finely and put it in a pan with a few tablespoons of oil, salt and pepper.
Cut a few strips of bacon into thin slices.
Fry the bacon and sprinkle paprika on top.
Remove the bacon and add the pork chops.
Add a little oil if necessary and fry the pork over medium heat.
Fry on both sides until done.
Garnish each pork chop with bacon.
This is often served with french fries.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Oatmeal Cake

This Swedish recipe for oatmeal cake has an oatmeal topping. Here's the recipe:

7 tablespoons melted butter
1 cup sugar
3 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/4 cups milk
1 teaspoon cardamom
1 teaspoon vanilla sugar


3 1/2 tablespoons melted butter
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup oatmeal
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Mix all the cake ingredients.
Coat a pan with butter and breadcrumbs.
Pour the batter into the pan.
Mix the ingredients for the topping and spread over the batter.
Bake at 200 degrees Celsius for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Adjectives with the -ive Suffix

A number of adjectives with the suffix -ive are derived from verbs. The verbs end with the sound /d/. This changed to /s/ as a result of spirantization.

Here is a list of adjectives formed from verbs:


The adjectives exhibit spirantization:

comprehend + ive = comprehensive
conclude + ive = conclusive
decide + ive = decisive
defend + ive = defensive
divide + ive = divisive
expand + ive = expansive
explode + ive = explosive
offend + ive = offensive
persuade + ive = persuasive
respond + ive = responsive

Many adjectives with the suffix -sive are derived from base verbs which have final syllable stress and end in /d/. The /d/ later changed to /s/, a sound change known as spirantization. Spirantization is a type of palatalization, one in which a plosive changes into a fricative before a high vowel. This sound change is one of many in English.

Oven-Baked Omelette

This Danish recipe for an oven-baked omelette is very tasty and easy to prepare. It can be prepared in a minimal amount of time. Here's the recipe:

5 strips bacon
1 tablespoon flour
3/4 cup milk
4 eggs
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Fry the bacon until crispy.
Whisk the flour, milk and eggs.
Add the spices and put in a pan.
Bake at 200 degrees Celsius for approximately 30 minutes.
When the omelette is ready, sprinkle some chives on top.

Thursday, March 30, 2017


Intonation is the variation of spoken pitch. It's used for a wide variety of functions. They include the attitudes and emotions of the speaker, the difference between statements and questions and emphasis given to different parts of the spoken message. In many languages the intonation of questions and statement is very different.

Contrastive stress can be expressed with intonation. In the sentences He didn't finish. I did. the emphasis on the pronouns he and I serves to create contrast between the two. It's also common to put extra stress on I to give greater emphasis.

Wh-questions in English have rising intonation on the wh-word and falling intonation at the end of the question. English yes-no questions, however, have rising intonation at the end of the question. The question Where are you from? ends with falling intonation and Do you agree? ends with rising intonation.

Dependent clauses often have lower pitch than independent clauses. For example, in the sentence Mr. Howe (the former hockey player) was born in Canada, the information in parentheses is often uttered with lower pitch. This serves to distinguish the two clauses.

Intonation also has a psychological function.  It organizes information into units that are easy to perceive. For example, you can have it in red, blue or black has pauses between the colours and falling intonation on black. This helps to communicate the message clearly and makes it easier to remember.

Intonation serves a number of different functions. The variation of spoken pitch in English differentiates sentences and questions. Intonation also helps to distinguish dependent clauses from independent ones, organizes information into units which aid perception and gives emphasis to different parts of the message.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017


Adpositions include prepositions and postpositions. They are used to express spatial and temporal relations. Languages such as English have prepositions, words which are placed before nouns. In other languages such as Finnish, Hungarian, Korean and Japanese, however, postpositions, words placed after nouns, are used. As a result, adpositions refer to both types.

English uses prepositions to create phrases such as in Vancouver and in Toronto. In Hungarian, though, the phrase in Vancouver is expressed with Vancouverben. The suffix -ben is a postposition. The phrase in Toronto is expressed in Finnish with Torontossa. The suffix -ssa is the Finnish postposition which corresponds to the English preposition in.

The word ago is usually analyzed as an adverb, but can also be considered a postposition. The reason is that it follows rather than proceeds the complement as in ten weeks ago. In addition to prepositions and postpositions, languages also use circumpositions. These consist of two parts and are placed before and after the complement. The Norwegian phrase for tre uker siden (three weeks ago) is an example of a circumposition with one word before tre uker (three weeks) and another after.

Adpositions are words which indicate spatial and temporal relations. These are usually expressed with prepositions, but they also include postpositions and circumpositions. Prepositions are more common than postpositions.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Carrot Casserole

This Finnish recipe is a great way to use carrots. It's simple and makes an excellent side dish. Here's the recipe:

1 cup rice, cooked
2 cups milk
5 carrots, peeled and shredded
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 eggs
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1/3 cup breadcrumbs

Preheat the oven to 190⁰ C.
In a bowl combine the rice, milk, carrots, salt, brown sugar and eggs.
Butter a casserole.
Pour the carrot mixture into the casserole.
Combine the breadcrumbs with the melted butter.
Sprinkle over the carrot mixture.
Bake for 40 minutes or until the top is light brown.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Cinnamon Cake

Cinnamon cake is very popular in Norway. It tastes great and is easy to make. Here's the recipe:

3 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
7 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup water
butter and breadcrumbs to coat the pan

Mix the eggs and the sugar.
Add the flour, baking powder and cinnamon.
Melt the butter and water, add to the mixture and mix.
Bake for approximately 40 minutes at 175 degrees Celsius.

Cleft Sentence

A cleft sentence is a complex sentence with a meaning that could be expressed by a simple sentence. This type of sentence puts a particular constituent into focus. In conversation, this focus is often accompanied by special intonation.

Here are examples of cleft sentences:

It's you I love.
It's Leonard who we're looking for.
That was the prince you were talking to.
What she wanted to buy was a new house.
A new house is what she wanted to buy.

In the cleft sentence a specific element is emphasized by placing it in a separate clause. This element is often introduced by the pronoun it. The cleft sentence divides a single message into two clauses.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Potatoes a la Landaise

Potatoes a la landaise is the name of a French potato dish. It's simple and very tasty. Here's the recipe:

3 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions finely chopped
1 cup chopped ham
6 potatoes peeled and diced
3 cloves of garlic finely chopped

Heat the oil in a large frying pan with a lid.
Fry the onions and the ham until they are well browned.
Add the potatoes and season with salt and pepper.
Cook with the lid on for 20 minutes.
Stir from time to time.
When the potatoes are cooked add the garlic and mix well.
Serve warm!

Sunday, March 19, 2017


Ellipsis refers to the omission of words from a phrase. They can be omitted because they're understood from the context. Ellipsis is especially common in verb phrases. Here are examples of ellipsis:

Carl can play the violin and Rose can play the harp.
Carl can play the violin and Rose the harp.

Should I call you or should you call me?
Should I call you or you me?

The employee who wanted to quit did quit.
The employee who wanted to quit did.

When does the tournament start? The tournament starts tomorrow.
When does the tournament start? Tomorrow.

I saw Peter's house and you saw Julie's house.
I saw Peter's house and you saw Julie's.

Ellipsis helps to avoid redundancy. It's possible because context clues clarify the meaning. Ellipsis is very common in all languages.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Cherry Clafoutis

A clafoutis is a traditional French dessert. It can be many with many different fruits, but the most traditional is cherry. Here is the recipe:

butter to coat the pan
2 cups cherries, stemmed and pitted
3 eggs at room temperature
1 cup milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup flour
powdered sugar

Heat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius.
Coat a pan with butter and arrange the cherries in a single layer.
Combine the eggs, sugar, milk, almond extract and vanilla extract.
Add the flour and whisk until the ingredients are well blended.
Pour over the cherries.
Bake until set (about 30 minutes).
Cool for 10 minutes and then add powdered sugar.

Cherry clafoutis is one of my favourite desserts. Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Mate in 23

In a game of speed chess I mated my opponent in 23 moves. My opponent, sammy2017 of the USA, played white. Here are the movies of the game along with my commentary:

1. d4 Nf6
2.Nf3 g6
3. e3 d5
4. Nbd2 Bg7
5. Bd3 0-0
6. h4 Bg4

White decides to push his h-pawn instead of castling. This is aggressive but leaves the king in the centre.

7. Nf1 c5

White wants to free his dark-squared bishop, but his knight isn't well-positioned. A better move is b3.

8. c3 cxd
9. cxd Ne4
10. N1h2 Be6

I decide to keep my bishop.

11. h5 Nc6
12. hxg fxg

I play fxg to open the f-file for my rook.

13. Bxe4 dxe4
14. Ng4 Bc4
15. Nxh7 Kxh7

White sacrifices his knight for a pawn. Nxe4 is safer.

16. Ng4+ Kg8
17. Nh6+ Bxh6
18. Rxh6 Kg7
19. Rh3 Bd3

My bishop is now very strong.

20. Qg4 Rd8

I offer to exchange rooks.

21. Rg3 Rh1+

Maybe black expects me to defend g6, but I go on the offensive.

22. Kd2 Qa5+

I have mate in one.

23. b4 Qxb4#

Whtie plays aggressively with moves such as h4 and Nxh7, but his attack is premature. His king isn't adequately defended. I take advantage to win the game.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Prefixes -ex and -in

The prefixes -ex and -in combine with roots to form many English words. In many cases the word pairs with these two prefixes have opposite meanings. Here's a list of ten words:

ejection injection
emigration immigration
exception inception
excitement incitement
exclusion inclusion
excursion incursion
exhalation inhalation
explosion implosion
expression impression
exportation importation

The word pairs ejection/injection, exclusion/inclusion, excursion/incursion, exhalation/inhalation, explosion/implosion and exportation/importation truly reflect the meaning of the prefixes. For example, exhalation is the action of breathing out and inhalation is the action of breathing in.

In the word pair emigration/immigration, the first word focuses on the point of departure and the second on the point of arrival. The word pair exception/inception doesn't appear to be so closely related. The word exception refers to a circumstance that doesn't conform to a particular rule and inception means beginning. In the case of expression/impression, the former communicates thoughts and ideas and the latter is an idea or feeling formed without conscious thought. The word incitement refers to the action of provoking unlawful behaviour and excitement is the feeling of pleasure.

The prefixes -ex and -in changed in certain words because of assimilation and deletion. We can illustrate the changes as follows:

ex + jection = ejection
ex + migration = emigration
in + migration = immigration
in + plosion = implosion
in + pression = impression
in + portation = importation

English has many words with the prefixes -ex and -in. These prefixes have variants because of assimilation and deletion. The prefix -in becomes -im before a p and -ex becomes -e before an m.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Creme Anglaise

Creme Anglaise is a French custard that's easy to prepare. This recipe uses milk, but it can also be made with cream. Here's the French recipe:

4 egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups milk, hot

In a saucepan whisk the egg yolks, sugar and vanilla.
Gradually add hot milk while whisking.
Cook over low heat.
Stir constantly until the mixture thickens.

This can be served alone or with fruit and crepes.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Greek Cucumber Salad

Greek cucumber salad is healthy. It's also delicious and very easy to prepare. Here's the recipe:

1 cucumber
2 cups plain yoghurt
1/2 cup olive oil
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 teaspoon dried mint

Peel the cucumber and chop into small pieces.
Mix the yoghurt, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper.
Add the cucumber and stir.
Refrigerate for at least one hour before serving.

Friday, March 10, 2017

English Schwa Deletion

English has optional schwa deletion in words such as desperate, differentfamily, interesting and memory. In these words the optional schwa occurs immediately after a stressed vowel. However, English also has words in which schwa deletion is obligatory. This is indicated by the spelling.

Here is a list which compares words with and without a schwa. The words on the right exhibit schwa deletion:

actor actress
ancestor ancestral
carpenter carpentry
centre centrist
emperor empress
enter entrance
metre metrical
theatre theatrical
waiter waitress
wonder wondrous

In nine of the words with schwa deletion the preceding syllable is stressed. The exception is carpentry. Here the first syllable of the word is stressed rather than the syllable immediately preceding the one with the deleted schwa. The words on the right have suffixes attached to the root. The roots and the derivations have the same stress with the exception of two word pairs: ancestor/ancestral and theatre/theatrical. In these pairs the root has first syllable stress and the derivation has second syllable stress.

Many English words have a schwa which can be deleted. However, words such as actress and entrance don't have the schwa which is preserved in the root. This schwa was deleted and is evidence of language change.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Salmon in Foil

Salmon in foil is a simple and delicious way to prepare salmon. This French recipe uses thyme, parsley and bay leaf. Here is the recipe:

4 salmon steaks
olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon parsley
1 teaspoon thyme
3 tablespoons butter

Brush the foil lightly with oil.
Place the salmon on the foil.
Add the lemon juice, bay leaf, parsley, thyme, salt and pepper.
Put a bit of butter on each salmon steak.
Seal the salmon well.
Transfer to a baking sheet.
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
Place in the oven and cook for 20 to 25 minutes.

This dish is excellent with salad, rice or potatoes. Enjoy!

Prefix -De

The prefix -de is of Latin origin. It's used before verbs and often has the meaning of negation or descent. Here's a short list of words with the prefix -de:


In the words decrease and deflate the opposite meaning is expressed with increase and inflate. In the case of descend, the opposite is ascend. The roots crease, flate and scend are bound morphemes because they never occur in isolation.

Many verbs can be combined with the prefix -de. The prefix corresponds to other English prefixes such as -in and -un which derive the opposite meaning. It only occurs in loanwords from Latin.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Oatmeal Cookies

Oatmeal cookies are easy to make. This Danish recipe produces crispy ones. Here is the recipe:

1 1/2 cups oats
5 tablespoons butter
1 egg
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon baking powder

In a saucepan melt the butter over low heat.
Place the oatmeal in a small bowl and pour in the butter.
Leave it to cool for 10 minutes.
Cream the sugar and egg.
Add the flour and baking powder.
Stir well.
Blend in the oatmeal.
With two teaspoons drop 1 teaspoon of the oatmeal mixture onto a greased cookie sheet.
Leave a large space between the cookies because they will spread.
Place in a preheated oven at 180 degrees Celsius for 8-10 minutes.

These cookies are tasty and quick to make. Enjoy!

Friday, March 3, 2017

New York City English

New York City English is a regional dialect of American English. It's spoken by many in the city of New York and the metropolitan area. Sociolinguist William Labov considers it the most recognizable dialect in North America. The dialect is known for a number of pronunciation features.

The pronunciation of New York City English is also heard in western Long Island and in northeastern New Jersey. Non-rhoticity is a feature of this dialect, but in many speakers this is variable. Another feature that is associated with this dialect is l-vocalization in words such as milk, sell and twelve.

The traditional New York City dialect is non-rhotic. In other words, the r isn't pronounced at the end of a syllable as in car, park and word. However, the r is now variably rhotic. This makes the dialect more similar to other American dialects.

New York City English has th-fortition. The interdental fricatives are often realized as alveolar plosives. The result is that through and true sound the same. However, this alternation varies by class. It appears more regularly in working-class speech.

The dialect has a feature known as intrusive g. When this feature is applied, Long Island is pronounced with a velar plosive at the end of the first word. This is popularly written Lawn Guyland.

New York City English has h-reduction in words such as huge, human and humour.  This is different from the h-dropping heard in England because the New York dialect only drops the h in a restricted environment. It's always followed by /ju/.

In New York City English the vowels of cot and caught are distinguished. The vowel of cot is higher than the vowel of caught. Many other American dialects don't make this distinction.

The New York City dialect maintains a three-way distinction in Mary, marry and merry. The first vowel of the first word is low, the first vowel of the second word is a mid lax vowel and the first vowel of the third word is a mid tense vowel. The vowels in furry and hurry are also distinct. The first vowel of furry is a lower mid central vowel, and the first vowel of hurry is an upper mid central vowel.

Words such as forest, horrible and orange are pronounced with the same stressed vowel as in part. In most of the rest of the United States, they are pronounced with the vowel of port.

New York City English also has a short-a split system Words such as badge, pan and class are pronounced with a low tense vowel, and words such as bat, map and patch are pronounced with a low lax vowel. The words bat, map and patch have the vowel of other American dialects.

The dialect known as New York City English is spoken not only in New York City, but also in the metropolitan area and New Jersey. The dialect is well-known for distinctive features of pronunciation. They include non-rhoticity, the short-a split system and h-reduction.

English Word Palindromes

A palindrome is a number, phrase, sentence, word or character sequence that is the same backwards and forwards. The number 3553 is a number palindrome because it's the same when read in both directions. Here is a list of 20 English word palindromes:

1) civic
2) dad
3) deed
4) did
5) ewe
6) eye
7) huh
8) kayak
9) level
10) madam
11) mom
12) noon
13) nun
14) pop
15) radar
16) refer
17) sagas
18) sees
19) solos
20) wow

Most of the words are monosyllabic (12 out of 20). Besides word palindromes, English also has sentence palindromes. A famous sentence palindrome is Was it a car or a cat I saw? In this sentence palindrome, word boundaries are ignored. The first two words of the question occur in the last three words when it's read backwards.

A palindrome is the same when read from left to right and right to left. It's identical in both directions. Palindromes can be found not only in words but also in phrases and sentences. Malayalam, a language spoken in India, is also a palindrome.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Roussillon Omelette

The Roussillon Omelette is a French omelette with green pepper, tomato and ham. It's easy to prepare. Here is the recipe:

3 eggs
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 green pepper, chopped
2 medium tomatoes peeled and chopped
1/3 cup ham

Season and beat the eggs.
Heat the butter in an omelette pan.
Add the green pepper and ham.
Cook for 1-2 minutes.
Add the tomatoes and then the egg mixture.
Shake the pan occasionally.
When the omelette is cooked, fold in half.
Serve immediately.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Pro-Drop Language

A pro-drop language is a language which allows pronouns to be omitted when they can be inferred. In pro-drop languages, the use of the subject pronoun is considered unnecessary. However, languages such as Japanese and Korean also allow the deletion of other classes of pronouns. Languages which only allow the deletion of subject pronouns can be classified as partially pro-drop languages.

Besides Japanese and Korean, Chinese, Russian and Hungarian exhibit frequent pro-drop features. Italian and Spanish are classified as partially pro-drop because they only allow the omission of subject pronouns. Finnish doesn't allow the deletion of all subject pronouns. Third person singular and plural subject pronouns are never deleted.

In languages which allow the omission of pronouns, use of the pronoun is often for cases of emphasis and formality. For example, the Spanish sentence Yo no canto bien (I don't sing well) may be considered more formal than No canto bien, which omits the subject pronoun. The use of the pronoun also makes the sentence more emphatic. In response to the question Who doesn't sing well? it's natural to include the subject pronoun in the reply.

Languages which allow the omission of pronouns which can be inferred are pro-drop languages. They include Chinese, Japanese and Korean. Those which don't allow it are non-pro-drop languages. English, French and German belong to this group.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Lemon Ice Cream

Lemon ice cream is delicious and easy to make. This French recipe uses lemon juice and peel. Here is the recipe:

juice and grated peel of 1 lemon
1 1/2 cups light cream
3 egg yolks, well beaten
1/2 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt

Pour the cream into a medium saucepan.
Grate the lemon into the cream.
Add the egg yolks, sugar and salt.
With a whisk stir over low heat for 7 minutes, or until the mixture has the consistency of custard.
Remove from the heat and stir occasionally until it cools.
Add the lemon juice and stir to blend.
Pour the mixture into a bowl, cover with foil and freeze for a minimum of 4 hours.

For a lighter dessert, milk can be used instead of cream. If you desire a creamier texture, allow the dessert to sit for 5 to 10 minutes at room temperature before serving.

Monday, February 27, 2017


Scots is a language spoken in the Scottish Lowlands and parts of Northern Ireland. The language developed during the Middle English period. It has approximately 1.5 million speakers.

Scots is classified as a regional language by the government of the United Kingdom. It's now included in the national school curriculum of Scotland. However, the use of Scots in the media is very limited.

Scots is similar to English but is nevertheless a separate language. Many English plurals are different in Scots. Here are examples:

calf/calves cauf/caur
cow/cows cou/kye
eye/eyes ee/een
horse/horses horse/horse
shoe/shoes shae/shuin

The sentence She's awfully tired  is She's awfu fauchelt in Scots. The first word of the sentence is identical and the second is almost the same, but the third is different. The negative not is na in Scots. This illustrates a few of the differences between the two languages.

Scots is a language spoken in parts of Scotland and Northern Ireland. It developed into a distinct language during the Middle English period. It's one of three native languages spoken in Scotland along with English and Scottish Gaelic.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Baked Cod with Lemon

Baked cod with lemon is a Norwegian dish. It's simple to prepare and tastes great. Here's the recipe:

4 cod fillets
4 tablespoons butter, melted
2 tablespoons lemon juice
4 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon white pepper

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
Cut the cod into serving size pieces.
Mix the butter and lemon juice.
In a separate bowl mix the flour salt and white pepper.
Dip the cod in the butter and lemon and then roll in the flour mixture.
Place in an ungreased pan.
Pour the remaining butter on top.
Sprinkle with paprika.
Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the fish is ready.
Garnish with lemon slices and parsley.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Prefix Sub-

The prefix -sub has the meaning of under. It comes from Latin and appears in many English words. The prefix has variants with the same meaning.

The prefix can be found in many words. Examples include submarine, substitute, subterranean, subtitle and subway. A submarine travels under the sea, a substitute works under the regular employer, a subterranean river is located underground, a subtitle is text displayed at the bottom of a screen and a subway travels underground.

The prefix -sub also has variants. They're the result of assimilation. Words with variants of the prefix include suffix, suggest, support, suppress, and surreal.

Here is how the words changed as a result of assimilation:

sub + fix = suffix
sub + gest = suggest
sub + port = support
sub + press = suppress
sub + real = surreal

In these examples we see that the second consonant assimilated the first. This consonant is the trigger and the assimilated consonant is the target. The direction of the assimilation is from right to left. This is also known as regressive assimilation.

Words with the prefix -sub are usually words which have been in the English language for a relatively short period of time. However, those words which have variants such as -suf and -sur are usually words which have been in the English language a long time. Words with assimilation tend to be words which have been in the English language longer than words without assimilation.

Many English words contain the prefix -sub. This common prefix also has variants such as -suf, -sup and -sur. The Greek equivalent of the Latin -sub is -hypo.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Butter Steamed New Potatoes

Steaming potatoes in butter is a wonderful way to cook them. New potatoes are ideal because they don't take so long to cook. Here is the Norwegian recipe:

10 new potatoes
4 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh dill

Scrub the potatoes under cold running water.
Pat dry with paper towels.
Melt the butter in a pot.
Add the potatoes and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Coat thoroughly with the melted butter by rolling them in the pot.
Cover the pot tightly.
Cook over low heat for 30 to 45 minutes, depending on the size of the potatoes.
Shake the pot from time to time to prevent the potatoes from sticking.
When the potatoes can be pierced easily with the tip of a knife, they're done.
Arrange on a serving plate and sprinkle with chopped dill.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

English Grammar

The expressions made from and made of are used differently. When objects consist of material which hasn't been changed in any significant way, made of is used. However, when the material is changed significantly in the process of making of a product, made from is used.

The following examples illustrate the use of made from:

Cream is made from milk.
The earliest canoes were made from tree trunks.
Wine is made from grapes.

These examples illustrate the use of made of:

She wore a beautiful necklace made of expensive silver.
The table is made of glass.
This chair is made of wood.

The expression made from is for a material which was transformed in the process of making the finished product. Grapes aren't visible in wine, so made from is appropriate. When the original material is visible in the finished product, made of is required. Silver is visible in a silver necklace, so made of is used. English makes a distinction that is illustrated by the expressions made from and made of. 

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Vocabulary of Catalan

Catalan is a language that is primarily spoken in northeastern Spain. It's the official language of Andorra, a small country between France and Spain. The language is similar to Spanish, but in certain cases the vocabulary is closer to that of French. Here are examples of Catalan words followed by their equivalents in French and Spanish:

one un un uno
two dos deux dos
three tres trois tres
four quatre quatre cuatro
five cinc cinq cinco
six sis six seis
seven set sept siete
eight vuit huit ocho
nine nou neuf nueve
ten deu dix diez

blue blau bleu azul
book llibre livre libro
butter mantega beurre mantequilla
cat gat chat gato
door porta porte puerta
hot calent chaud caliente
kitchen cuina cuisine cocina
nephew nebot neveu sobrino
plum pruna prune ciruela
table taula table mesa

From the vocabulary list it's clear that Catalan words are sometimes closer to Spanish than French. This is the case with dos (two), tres (three) and calent (hot). In other cases the words are closer to French as in quatre (four), vuit (eight) and blau (blue). A few words are similar to both languages such as cinc (five), gat (cat) and porta (door). Thus Catalan has many words which resemble words of both French and Spanish.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Tomato Soup

This French recipe for tomato soup is tasty and easy to make. For best results use fresh tomatoes. Here is the recipe:

2 tomatoes
2 cups beef stock
2 tablespoons semolina flour

Peel the tomatoes.
Chop and puree.
Bring the tomato puree and beef stock to boiling.
Simmer for 30 minutes over low heat.
Season to taste and cover.
Simmer for 10 more minutes.
Sprinkle the semolina over the surface and stir well.

If desired, you can serve this with croutons. I hope you enjoy this soup!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Speech Sounds

Languages use many different speech sounds, but the number of sounds can vary greatly from one language to another. Rotokas, a language spoken in Papua New Guinea, has only 11 phonemes and Hawaiian has only 13. However, a few languages have over 60 phonemes. They include languages spoken in southern Africa, North America and the Caucasus.

The most common consonants are voiced and voiceless bilabial, alveolar and velar plosives, bilabial, alveolar, palatal and velar nasals, the glottal stop, labiodental, alveolar, alveopalatal and glottal fricatives, and also liquids and glides. The most common vowels are the low vowel (central or back), the high front unrounded vowel and the high back rounded vowel.

Languages usually have fewer vowels than consonants. Average vowel inventories consist of five to six vowels. Large vowel inventories are predominantly found in Africa, Asia and Europe. It is often the case that a language with many consonants, i.e., Russian, has relatively few vowels, and a language with many vowels, i.e., Finnish, has relatively few consonants.

The consonant-vowel ratio of a language is calculated by dividing the number of consonants by the number of vowels. The numbers range from a little over 1 to as high as 29. The language of Andoke, spoken in Colombia, has 10 consonants and 9 vowels. The consonant-vowel ratio is thus 1.1. In contrast, Abkhaz, a language spoken in Georgia, has 58 consonants but only 2 vowels which results in a very high consonant-vowel ratio of 29.

Though languages use a great variety of speech sounds, the number and type differ significantly. Most languages use from 30 to 60 sounds. The most common speech sounds are not present in all languages. Many North American languages lack bilabials, and several Australian languages lack fricatives.

Peach Cake

This French recipe for peach cake is easy to make. It uses two types of flour, wheat and semolina. Here is the recipe:

can of slice peaches, drained
1/3 cup flour
2 tablespoons semolina flour
1/4 cup sugar
3 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Grease a baking dish and place the peaches in the bottom.
Mix the flours and sugar in a bowl.
Gradually stir in the eggs.
Add the milk and vanilla extract.
Mix to form a smooth batter.
Pour over the peaches and bake at 180 degrees Celsius for about 50 minutes.

If desired, you can serve this with cream or ice cream. Canned peaches can be substituted with fresh peaches.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Finnish Loanwords of Swedish Origin

Though Finnish and Swedish aren't related languages, Finnish has many loanwords of Swedish origin. This isn't surprising if we consider that most of Finland was part of the kingdom of Sweden from the twelfth to seventeenth centuries. I'll provide a list of Finnish words which entered the language from Swedish. The Finnish word is on the left and the Swedish word on the right:

hissi hiss (elevator)
hummeri hummer (lobster)
juusto ost (cheese)
kaneli kanel (cinnamon)
kaniini kanin (rabbit)
katu gata (street)
kinkku skinka (ham)
koulu skola (school)
kruunu krona (crown)
kurkku gurka (cucumber)
lasi glas (glass)
meijeri mejeri (dairy)
nappi knapp (button)
parsa sparris (asparagus)
peili spegel (mirror)
ranta strand (beach)
ritari ridare (knight)
sinappi senap (mustard)
sokeri socker (sugar)
tuoli stol (chair)

All the Finnish words ends with a vowel. In contrast, only seven of the Swedish words do. It's very common for Finnish words to end in a vowel. With the exception of kruunu (crown), none of the Finnish words begin with a consonant cluster. The Finnish words conform to the phonotactics of the Finnish language. Though they're of Swedish origin, many look quite different from their Swedish counterparts.


Kvas is a Russian drink that is also popular in other countries of eastern Europe. It's easy to make and very refreshing. It's similar to beer but has a very low alcohol content. Here is the recipe:

12 cups of water
2 slices of dark rye bread
1 cup of sugar
1/2 tablespoon yeast

Fill a pot with water and boil.
Toast the slices of bread until they are very dark, but do not burn.
When the water starts to boil, remove from the heat.
Add the bread and a few raisins to the pot and cover for at least 8 hours.
Carefully remove the toasted bread and discard.
In a bowl mix the sugar and the yeast and add to the pot.
Stir the yeast and sugar.
Cover the pot and leave for 6 hours.
Take out the raisins.
With a strainer pour the liquid into bottles and leave overnight.

The drink will be ready the next day. Enjoy!

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Interdental Fricative

The interdental fricative is a relatively rare sound in the languages of the world. Most languages lack the sound. In English it is represented by the letters th. The English interdental fricative can be voiced as in the or voiceless as in through. 

Languages besides English which have the voiced interdental fricative include Albanian, Catalan, Danish, Greek, Icelandic, Spanish and Welsh. However, the Danish and Icelandic fricatives are classified as alveolar.

The voiceless interdental fricative is less common than the voiced counterpart. It's found in Burmese, Greek and Icelandic. The Icelandic pronunciation is alveolar. In Spanish it's only found in the dialect spoken in Spain and in Arabic it's only found in a few dialects such as the one spoken in Iraq.

The interdental fricative is a marked consonant. English is rare among the languages of the world because it has both the voiced and voiceless counterparts. This is also true for European Spanish, Greek and Icelandic. The place of articulation of the consonant can also be dental or alveolar.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017


Rice is the staple food of over half of the world's population. It was introduced to Europe from western Asia and to the Americas from Europe. Here are the top ten countries in rice production:

1) China
2) India
3) Indonesia
4) Bangladesh
5) Vietnam
6) Thailand
7) Myanmar
8) Philippines
9) Brazil
10) Japan

Most of the world's rice production is in Asia. Of the top ten countries, only one, Brazil, isn't from Asia. Brazil places ninth on the list. China accounts for approximately 20% of all world rice production. India is close behind. In contrast, Japan, the last country on the last, accounts for approximately 1%.

Macaroni Casserole

The macaroni casserole is very popular in northern Europe. This is a classic Swedish recipe with ham and onion. Here is the recipe:

2 cups macaroni
1 onion
1 cup sliced ham
1 tablespoon butter
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk

Warm the oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
Cook the macaroni according to the instructions on the package.
Chop the onion and ham.
Fry the onion and ham in the butter.
Beat the egg and milk together and add salt, pepper and nutmeg.
Put the onion, ham and macaroni in a baking dish.
Pour the egg mixture over the macaroni.
Bake for 30 minutes or until ready.

This is a very simple and tasty dish. Variations include cheese and substitute bacon or sausage instead of ham.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Spanish Potatoes

This potato dish, known as patatas a la importancia in Spanish, consists of potatoes in an onion and carrot sauce. Here is the recipe:

3 potatoes
3 tablespoons flour
2 eggs
1/2 cup olive oil
2 cups onion and carrot sauce

Peel the potatoes and combine with water to cover.
Bring to a boil over medium heat.
Decrease the heat to low and cook uncovered for about 20 minutes.
Drain and cool completely.
Cut crosswise into thin slices.
Season the slices with salt.
Spread the flour in a shallow dish.
Coat the slices with flour on both sides.
In a small bowl beat the eggs.
In a pan heat the olive oil over high heat.
Dip the slices into the beaten egg.
Arrange in a single layer in the hot oil.
Decrease the heat to medium and fry, turning once for 1 minute on each side.
Transfer to paper towels to drain.
Repeat with the remaining slices.
Layer the potatoes in a pan and cover with the sauce.
Reheat over medium heat until ready.

Here is the onion and carrot sauce:

2/3 cup olive oil
2 onions, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups water
1/2 cup dry sherry or dry white wine
1 1/2 teaspoons salt

Heat the olive oil over high heat.
Add the onions and cook for about 10 minutes.
Add the carrots and flour.
Mix well and cook for 10 more minutes.
Add the water, sherry and salt.
Mix well and cook for 10 more minutes or until sauce thickens.
Remove from the heat and let cool.
Transfer to a blender.
Blend until smooth.

This dish takes time to prepare but is well-worth the effort. Enjoy!

Monday, February 6, 2017

Pronunciation of the Letter S

The letter s represents a voiceless dental or alveolar fricative in most languages. It's a common consonant and is the plural marker in English and other languages. However, the pronunciation of this consonant can vary.

In English this consonant is usually a voiceless alveolar fricative. This is not the case in the word his. Here it's a voiced alveolar fricative. In the word sugar, the s is a voiceless alveopalatal fricative and in treasure, the s is a voiced alveopalatal fricative.

The pronunciation of the letter s also varies in other languages. Between vowels, the s is /z/ in Italian. This is the case in the word casa (house). This intervocalic pronunciation is also used in French, Portuguese and German.

In Hungarian, the s is a voiceless alveopalatal fricative as in the English word sugar.  This is exemplified in the word soha (never). The sound /s/ is spelled sz.

French has many silent letters, and the letter s is no exception. In the word vous (you), the s is silent. However, word-initial s is always pronounced /s/ as in sept (seven).

In many Spanish dialects, syllable-final s is glottalized. For example, the word costa (coast) is pronounced [kohta] in many dialects in addition to the pronunciation [kosta].  Besides these two pronunciations, costa can also be pronounced [ko:ta} in certain dialects. Here the s isn't pronounced at all, but as a result of compensatory lengthening, the vowel [o] becomes long.

The letter /s/ is a common letter of the Roman alphabet. Though usually pronounced as a dental or alveolar fricative, a number of other pronunciations are also possible. The pronunciation of the letter is most uniform in word-initial position and more varied when it's intervocalic and syllable-final.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Norwegian Spelling

Norwegian is a Germanic language closely related to Danish and Swedish. However, the spelling of many words is distinct from that of the other two languages. This is due to spelling reforms.

Here is a list of words with the suffix -tion in Danish and Swedish that have -sjon in Norwegian:

inflation inflasjon (inflation)
introduktion introduksjon (introduction)
kommunikation kommunikasjon (communication)
nation nasjon (nation)
operation operasjon (operation)
organisation organisasjon (organization)
presentation presentasjon (presentation)
produktion produksjon (production)
revolution revolusjon (revolution)
situation situasjon (situation)

The following words have a c in Danish and Swedish and an s in Norwegian:

Danish/Swedish center Norwegian senter (centre)
Danish/Swedish centrum Norwegian sentrum (downtown)
Danish cigar Swedish cigarr Norwegian sigar (cigar)
Danish cigaret Swedish cigarett Norwegian sigarett (cigarette)
Danish/Swedish cirkel Norwegian sirkel (circle)
Danish/Swedish citron Norwegian sitron (lemon)
Danish/Swedish civil Norwegian sivil (civil)
Danish/Swedish cykel Norwegian sykkel (bicycle)
Danish/Swedish december Norwegian desember (December)
Danish/Swedish social Norwegian sosial (social)

Norwegian spelling reforms have made the spelling of Norwegian different from that of Danish and Swedish. Many Danish and Swedish loanwords have retained the original spelling while Norwegian has changed it. This is true for loanwords with the suffix -tion and with s. 

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Carrots Sintra Style

This is a Portuguese recipe for carrots. It comes from the resort of Sintra to the west of Lisbon. For this recipe you need:

5 carrots, peeled and cut
2 1/4 cup boiling beef broth
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3 egg yolks lightly beaten with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
salt to taste
2 tablespoons ground parsley

Boil the carrots in the broth over moderate heat for 30 minutes until tender.
Drain and reserve the broth.
In a small saucepan over moderate heat melt the butter and blend in the flour and pepper.
Reduce to low heat and stir for 3 to 5 minutes.
Pour in the reserved broth and heat until thick and smooth, about 3 minutes.
Blend a bit of the hot sauce into the egg yolks and stir back into the pan.
Cook for 2 to 3 minutes over low heat.
Pour the sauce over the carrots and toss lightly to mix.
Warm for 3 to 4 minutes over low heat.
Add salt to taste and sprinkle with ground parsley before serving.

This is a very nice recipe for carrots. It is an excellent side dish for meat and fish.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Emperor's Crumbs

Emperor's crumbs is the name of an Austrian dessert that is popular throughout central Europe. It has many versions. This one uses semolina flour. Here is the recipe:

3/4 cup semolina flour
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 egg yolks
3 egg whites
pinch salt
1/2 cup sugar
lemon zest of half a lemon
3 tablespoons butter

Mix together the semolina flour and milk.
Let it sit for an hour so that the semolina can absorb the milk.
Mix the egg yolks, sugar, vanilla extract and lemon zest.
Add to the milk and semolina flour mixture.
Whip the egg whites and salt into firm peaks.
Fold into the mixture.
Melt the butter and add the batter.
Stir with a spatula or wooden spoon until it forms crumbs.
Serve hot with powdered sugar, jam  or syrup.

This is a very tasty dish. Enjoy!

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Orthography of Different Languages

Orthography can vary significantly from one language to another. Though the Roman alphabet is widely used and many sounds are represented by the same letter in various languages, many differences also exist. I will give examples.

The vowel sound of moon is u in many languages. In Spanish the word for moon is luna. However, this vowel sound is written oe in Dutch. The Dutch word for group is groep.

The initial consonant sound of cheese is ch in English. In Hungarian, though, this sound is spelled cs. The Hungarian word for bone is csont.

The letter s is spelled sz in Hungarian. The Hungarian word for sandwich is szendvics. In Hungarian, the letter s corresponds to the English sh.

In French the letter s is pronounced as a z in intervocalic position. For example, the s in the word poison (same meaning and spelling as in English) is pronounced as a z because it comes between vowels.

The vowel sound of toy is spelled eu in German. The German word for friend is Freund. In Portuguese this sound is represented by oi as in oito (eight).

The j of English as in juice is pronounced differently in other languages. In Portuguese the j has the sound of the s in treasure as in janela (window). In Spanish the j is similar to the h of English. The Spanish word hijo (son) has a silent h and a j that sounds similar to the h of house. In German the j is pronounced as a y in English. For example, the word ja (yes) is pronounced with the initial sound of yellow.

It is clear that the pronunciation of individual letters varies from one language to another. Though many letters are often pronounced similarly, many also differ. It is thus necessary to learn the rules of orthography of each language.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Rum Pudding

Rum pudding is easy to make. Here's the recipe for this fantastic Danish dessert:

1 envelope unflavoured gelatin
1/4 cup hot water
3 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup hot milk
4 tablespoons rum
1 cup whipping cream, whipped

Lightly oil a dessert mold and set aside.
In a small bowl sprinkle the gelatin over the water.
Set aside to soften, 2 to 3 minutes.
On top of a double boiler beat the eggs.
Slowly beat in the sugar and milk until it is light and lemon coloured.
Place over boiling water.
Stir constantly for 10 minutes or until smooth and creamy.
Stir in the rum and the gelatin mixture.
Fold in the whipped cream.
Pour into the mold.
Cover and refrigerate until the mixture starts to set, about 45 minutes.
Refrigerate until set.

This is a simple and tasty dessert. If desired, you can serve with raspberries or raspberry sauce.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Mate in 16

In a game of speed chess I defeated my opponent in 16 moves. He was Marquestreefrog of the United States, who played black. Here are the moves of the game:

1. e4 e5
2. f4 d6

Black declines the pawn sacrifice.

3. Nf3 h6

Black wants to prevent Ng5, but a developing move such as Nf6 is better.

4. Bc4 Nc6
5. 0-0 exf

Now black accepts my pawn. This allows me to build a strong pawn centre.

6. d4 g5
7. e5 d5
8. Bb5 Bd7
9. c4 a6

If black takes my pawn, I can advance the d-pawn.

10. Bxc6 Bxc6
11. Nc3 Bb4
12. e6 fxe

There are two reasons behind the pawn sacrifice. I clear e5 for my knight and after moving the knight I can check on h5 with my queen.

13. Ne5 Bxc3

Black makes a mistake. He probably expects the recapture bxc3, but I can deliver a devastating check on h5. Here black needs to play Nf6.

14. Qh5+ Ke7
15. Qf7+ Kd6
16. c6#

My c-pawn delivers mate. The keys to victory in this game are my ability to expose the uncastled king and black's failure to play Nf6. This enables me to mate quickly.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Lamb Caldereta

Lamb caldereta, known as caldereta manchega in Spanish, is a wonderful way to prepare lamb. This recipe takes some time to prepare, but it's well worth the effort. Here is the recipe:

1 kg lamb
1/2 onion
4 cloves of garlic
3 tomatoes
1 green pepper
1 lemon
1 bay leaf
1 cup beef stock
1/2 cup fried almonds
black pepper
1/2 cup white wine
1 cup water
olive oil

Chop up the onion and garlic.
Fry in olive oil until golden brown.
Add the tomatoes and green pepper.
Fry until tender.
Add 1 cup of water.
Add the lamb and 1 sliced lemon without seeds.
In a separate pan fry the almonds in olive oil and add.
Add the bay leaf, beef stock and seasonings.
Cook over low heat.
Remove the lemon after 15 minutes.
Add the white wine.
Cook until the sauce thickens and the meat is well-done.
If necessary, add more water.

Lamb caldereta is a fantastic way to cook lamb. Enjoy!

Friday, January 27, 2017


The poet Robert Frost wrote a short poem about devotion. Here is the poem:


The heart can think of no devotion
Greater than being shore to ocean-
Holding the curve of one position,
Counting an endless repetition.

This short poem consists of four verses with nine syllables.  In the poem Robert Frost exemplifies devotion by comparing the ocean and the shore. The two are devoted to one another. True acts of love and devotion aren't always new. Many times they are repetitive acts that persist day after day.

Devotion is like the shore and the ocean. They are inseparable. This can symbolize those whose true devotion to one another is everlasting.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Silent H

The English letter h is usually pronounced, but in a number of words it is silent. This is an example of sound change. The spelling reflects an older pronunciation of the language.

Here is a list of words which begin with a silent h:

hors d'oeuvre

In British English the h is pronounced in herb. However, in American English it isn't. In the name Herb (short for Herbert) the h is pronounced.

The letter h is also silent in other positions in the word. Here is a list:


The h in English is usually pronounced. This is the case in words such as happy, hill, hotel, lightouse and reheat. In certain words, however, the h is no longer pronounced. This is the result of deletion, a common sound change in the languages of the world.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Blueberry Soup

Blueberry soup is very popular in Sweden. This soup can be served hot or cold. It's a very tasty soup and easy to prepare. Here's the recipe:

2 cups blueberries
3 tablespoons sugar
2 cups water
1 tablespoon potato flour

Rinse and drain the blueberries.
Place the berries in a suacepan.
Add the sugar and water.
Bring to a boil while stirring.
Simmer for 15 to 30 minutes until the berries become soft and disintegrate.
Remove from the heat.
Mix the potato flour with a little water.
Pour slowly into the soup and return to the heat.
Stir continuously until the soup thickens.

This soup can be served with whipped cream. Enjoy!

Denasalization in Portuguese

Portuguese and Spanish are similar languages. However, one of the features which serves to distinguish them in denasalization. A number of Portuguese words deleted an earlier intervocalic nasal which Spanish still preserves. Here is a list to illustrate:

arena areia (sand)
cadena cadeia (chain)
ganado gado (livestock)
general geral (general)
luna lua (moon)
moneda moeda (coin)
persona pessoa (person)
sonar soar (sound)
tener ter (have)
venir vir (come)

In the cases of areia and cadeia, we see denasalization followed by diphthongization. In words such as ganado and tener, we see denasalization followed by vowel deletion. The word vir illustrates denasalization followed by deletion of the unstressed vowel. As a result, we can postulate that in words such as ter the unstressed vowel was deleted. In general, both front vowels are unstressed (geral is stressed on the final syllable), but it seems plausible that the second vowel was deleted because it was the least stressed.

Denasalization is one phonological process which is evident in Portuguese. The loss of intervocalic /n/ in Portuguese is not evident in Spanish and other Romance languages. In certain cases, however, Portuguese preserves intervocalic /n/. as in  corona (crown), fonologia (phonology) and telefone (telephone). Thus intervocalic denasalization in Portuguese is variable.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017


Resultatives are forms that express a change in state as the result of the completion of an event. They appear as predicates of sentences.Resultatives usually consist of a verb, a postverbal noun phrase and a resultative phrase.

The following are examples of resultatives:

He painted the fence white.
She wore her hair up.
He made the curry very spicy.
The door swung open.
The dog licked the bowl clean.

In the example The door swung open the structure consists of a verb and a resultative phrase. This structure is also common in resultatives.

Resultatives are used to form a wide range of sentences. The term is commonly used in linguistics. In the sentence He painted the fence white it is understood that the fence was previously a colour other than white. In resultatives the noun phrase undergoes a change of state.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Sour Milk

Sour milk is easy to make. It tastes similar to buttermilk and can be used in baking. Here is the recipe:

1 cup milk
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Mix the milk and lemon juice. Let stand for 15 minutes. Sour milk can be used for baking or as an alternative for buttermilk.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Tinto de Verano

Tinto de Verano is a very popular drink in Spain. It's similar to sangria but simpler. Here's the recipe:

1 part red wine
1 part sparkling water
slice of lemon (optional)

This is poured over ice. For a sweeter drink sugar can be added to the sparkling water. Instead of sparling water, a pop such as Sprite and 7-Up can also be used.

This is a very refreshing drink. It's especially popular in summer. Enjoy!

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Swedish Possessive Adjective

Swedish has a third person possessive adjective which doesn't exist in English. This allows two interpretations for sentences such as Peter spoke to the neighbour about his house. In English it isn't clear whether his refers to the subject or object of the sentence. However, in Swedish it is.

Here is the sentence in Swedish:

Peter talade till grannen om sitt hus. The word sitt indicates that Peter spoke to the neighbour about his own house. If Peter spoke to the neighbour about the neighbour's house, the sentence would be Peter talade till grannen om hans hus.

Swedish has a possessive adjective which refers to the subject of the sentence. This allows a distinction which other languages don't. Besides Swedish, Danish and Norwegian also have this distinction.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Echo Questions

Echo questions repeat all or part of a sentence or question. They are often used when the hearer wishes to verify that the entire utterance was understood. Echo questions can also be used to express surprise and to probe for more information.

Here are examples of echo questions in conversation:

We're flying to Hawaii.
You're flying to Hawaii?

They're coming at six.
They're coming at six?

Paula wants to eat duck.
Paula wants to eat what?

Do you understand me?
Do I understand you?

Wendy needs to go home.
Who needs to go gome?

I have a headache.
A headache?

Echo questions are very common in conversation. They echo all or part of a previous utterance. In many cases echo questions are used to confirm or verify information.

Monday, January 2, 2017


Clipping is a morphological process also known as shortening or truncation. This results in words which have been reduced from their original form. English has many examples of clipping.

In final clipping the final part of the word is removed. Examples include bra (brassiere), gas (gasoline) and photo (photograph).

In initial clipping the initial part of the word is removed. Examples include burger (hamburger), gator (alligator) and phone (telephone).

In medial clipping the initial and final parts of the word are removed. Examples include flu (influenza), fridge (refrigerator) and ma'am (madam). In ma'am, the final part of the word is retained, but it can be regarded as medial clipping because the middle of the word is removed.

Clipping is a process which shortens words. It can be classified into three types- final clipping, initial clipping and medial clipping. Of these three the most common is final clipping.

Word-initial /pf/ in German

The German language allows the affricate /pf/ at the beginning of a word. Though written as two letters, this is one sound. The /pf/ developed from /p/ and in fact often corresponds to a /p/ in English.

Here are ten German words which begin with /pf/:

Pfad path
Pfahl pole
Pfanne pan
Pfirsich peach
Pflanze plant
Pflaume plum
Pflug plough
Pfeffer pepper
Pfeife pipe
Pfund pound

The word-initial /pf/ is pronounced /f/ by certain speakers. This affricate often corresponds to a /p/ in English and other Germanic languages. The word  pepper is also pepper in Norwegian, peper in Dutch, peber in Danish and peppar in Swedish. German is unique among Germanic languages for allowing word-initial /pf/ .  

Sunday, January 1, 2017

French Etymology

French etymology is not very phonetic. The reason is that it's based on old French, spoken from the 9th to 14th centuries. The pronunciation of French has changed significantly since this period.

Here are ten words which reflect the difference between spelling and pronunciation in French:

mot (word) the t is silent
sept (seven) the p is silent
vous (you) the s is silent
fils (son) the l is silent
samedi (Saturday) the e is silent
bras (arm) the s is silent
pied (foot) the d is silent
doigt (finger) the g and t are silent
oeufs (eggs) the f and s are silent
haricot (bean) the h and t are silent

From the examples, we can see that French spelling has many silent letters. They were pronounced in Old French but not today. Thus French spelling reflects the changes in pronunciation which the language has undergone over time.