Monday, August 14, 2017


Hypercorrection is the overapplication of a rule of grammar or usage. The result is a form which is considered non-standard. Many speakers commit hypercorrection in an effort to appear educated and sophisticated.

The word regardless has the suffix -less. However, many speakers use irregardless, which is non-standard. The reason is the overapplication of the prefix -ir in words such as irrational and irreparable.

Hypercorrection also occurs in the phrase between you and I. The phrase you and I is correct in subject position, but not as object of the preposition. After between, me is required. The standard phrase is between you and me.

Another example of hypercorrection is octopi. The standard plural is octopuses. The non-standard form occurs because many words derived from Latin such as alumni and fungi end in -i. The word octopus, however, is derived from Greek.

Hypercorrection often occurs in language. It applies to native and non-native speakers of a language. Hypercorrection is the result of the overgeneralization of a particular rule.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Victory in 16

In a game of speed chess, my opponent resigned after my sixteenth move. He was KingMichaelVIII of Japan, who played black. Here are the moves of the game along with my commentary:

1. e4 e5
2. Nf3 Nf6
3. Bc4 Bd6

The most common move for white here is Nxe5, but I choose a different line.

4. 0-0 h6
5. c3 c6
6. d4 Qe7
7. dxe Bxe5
8. Kh1 0-0
9. Nxe5 Qxe5
10. Re1 Re8
11. f3 d5
12. Bd3 dx3

I have a defensive position.

13. Bxe4 Bf5

If I take the bishop, black can mate. (Bxf5, Qxe1, Qxe1, Rxe1#)

14. Nd2 Bxe4
15. Nxe4 Nxe4

Black's move is a blunder. He needs to connect his rooks with Nd7.

16. Rxe4

Black resigns. His queen is under attack, but if he moves his queen, he loses his rook with check. Black's failure to connect his rooks on the backrank leads to his resignation.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

South African English

South African English has considerable social and regional variation. It features the trap-bath split and with the exception of speakers influenced by Afrikaans, is non-rhotic. The main phonological features of the South African dialect are the vowels.

The vowel in kit tends to be more centralized than in other varieties of English. In the word bath, the vowel is more open and retracted than in other dialects. The diphthongs of words such as town and side are often monophthongized.

With respect to consonants, /h/ is often voiced word-initially and voiceless plosives are often unaspirated or less aspirated than in other varieties.

Among South African speakers who don't monophthongize words such as town and side, the first component of the diphthong is more retracted than in standard English. The low front vowel of had is often raised to the vowel of head and the mid front vowel of head is often raised to the high front vowel of hid. This feature is also characteristic of New Zealand English.

Many South African speakers flap the [d] and [t] in intervocalic position. For these speakers, words such as medal and metal sound identical. Flapping is especially common in casual speech.

South African English has vowel retraction in words such as bath, a tendency to monophthongize the diphthongs of words such as town and side, vowel raising and flapping. It has the trap-bath split and is non-rhotic for most speakers. The English of South Africa is far from uniform and reflects the social and ethnic backgrounds of its speakers.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Fried Bread

Fried bread is popular in Hungary. It can be eaten with a variety of toppings such as sour cream and fresh dill, cheese and also chopped onions and garlic. Here is the recipe:

1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons yeast
1/2 cup warm milk
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 cup mashed potatoes
1/2 teaspoon salt
oil to fry

Mix the sugar and yeast into the milk.
Let it stand for 10 minutes.
Place the flour into a large bowl.
Make a well in the centre.
Add the sugar, yeast and milk mixture.
Add the oil, mashed potatoes and salt.
Mix until the dough holds together.
Put on a smooth surface and knead for about 15 minutes.
Cover with a damp cloth and let rise for one hour.
After the dough has risen, flour your hands and divide into 4 portions.
Shape each into a round, flat cake.
Heat the oil to medium in a pan.
Fry for about 3 to 5 minutes on each side.
Serve with your favourite topping.

Spanish Adjective Order

In English adjectives are placed before the noun. This adjective order also occurs in Spanish, but Spanish adjectives usually follow the noun. In this post I will examine Spanish adjective order.

The adjectives bueno (good) and malo (bad) can be placed before or after nouns. Here are examples:

un libro bueno/un buen libro (a good book)
una idea mala/una mala idea (a bad idea)

Notice that the adjective bueno drops the o before the noun libro.

Certain adjectives must be placed before the noun. Here are examples:

el mejor actor (the best actor)
la peor clase (the worst class)

tres opciones (three options)
mi vida (my life)

In certain cases both orders are possible, but the meaning changes:

un amigo viejo (an elderly friend)
un viejo amigo (a longtime friend) 

un coche nuevo ( a modern car)
un nuevo coche ( a car that was recently bought)

Spanish adjectives usually follow the noun. However, certain adjectives can precede or follow the noun without a change in meaning and a few must precede the noun. With a few adjectives, the two adjective orders are possible, but the meaning changes.

Names of Major Cities in Esperanto

Esperanto, a language invented by Ludwig Zamenhof, is unique because all nouns must end in an o. This doesn't apply to all nouns, i.e., the names of people, but it applies to the names of major cities. Here is a list of major cities with their names in Esperanto:

Atlanto Atlanta
Berlino Berlin
Bruselo Brussels
Bonaero Buenos Aires
Detrojto Detroit
Filadelfio Philadelphia
Frankfurto Frankfurt
Hamburgo Hamburg
Jerusalemo Jerusalem
Manilo Manila
Montrealo Montreal
Moskvo Moscow
Novjorko New York
Osako Osaka
Oslo Oslo
Parizo Paris
Pekino Beijing
Prago Prague
Romo Rome
Seatlo Seattle

Many of the cities listed are very similar to their English counterparts. Cities such as Berlin, Hamburg and Jerusalem merely add an o. However, the Esperanto equivalents of certain cities such as Buenos Aires and New York may not be immediately recognized.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Plum Soup

Plum soup is popular in Hungarian cuisine. Here is the recipe:

2 1/2 cups plums
3 cups water
3 tablespoons sugar
six whole cloves
1 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind

Halve the plums and remove the pits.
Boil the plums, water, sugar and cloves for ten minutes.
Add the flour to the sour cream.
Slowly add to the soup.
Boil for five more minutes.
Add the cinnamon and lemon rind.

Plum soup can be served hot or cold. It's easy to prepare and very tasty.

Pronunciation of -ed in Adjectives

Many English adjectives have the ending -ed. They are formed from verbs as in cooked, processed and typed. However, a few adjectives have a different pronunciation in which the -ed ending is a separate syllable. 

These adjectives are relatively few. Here are five common ones:


When these words are used as verbs, the -ed ending is pronounced [d] or [t]. The pronunciation [Id] only applies when they are used as adjectives, and in most cases, as attributive adjectives. Here are examples where the [Id] pronunciation is used:

The aged leader announced his resignation.
My beloved grandparents are visiting tomorrow.
The baptism was a blessed moment.
They left the cursed home.
This is a learned journal.

In the case of They left the cursed home, cursed can also be pronounced with the ending [t]. Many speakers consider the pronunciation [Id] a bit archaic.

The adjective learned is pronounced with the pronunciation [d] in certain cases such as learned behaviour.

If the adjective aged has the meaning of age, the ending is pronounced [d]. For example, All high school-aged students will take part in the field trip uses the ending [d].

The ending [d] or [t] is used when these words function as verbs. Here are examples:

This cheese has been aged for 10 years.
They are dearly beloved by everyone.
Everyone felt blessed. (The spelling blest can also be used here).
The enemies cursed one another.
We have learned so much in the past year.

English adjectives formed from verbs which have the ending -ed are usually pronounced with a word-final [d] or [t]. However, certain adjectives are pronounced with the ending [Id] when they are used as attributive adjectives. The adjective learned is an exception and retains the pronounciation [Id] in predicates as in She is very learned. The pronunciation [Id] reflects an earlier pronunciation of the English language.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Icelandic Oatmeal Pancakes

Oatmeal pancakes are popular in Iceland. They are flavoured with cardamom. Here is the recipe:

1 1/2 cups cooked oatmeal
1 cup flour
2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 eggs
1 teaspoon cardamom
2 cups milk
1/3 cup raisins (optional)

Stir the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder into the oatmeal.
Add the eggs and cardamom.
Add the milk.
If desired, add the raisins.
Add butter to a hot frying pan and prepare like pancakes.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Pronunciation of Swiss German

The pronunciation of Swiss German differs from that of standard German in several respects. Swiss German has many dialects with differences of pronunciation among them. However, certain pronunciation features pertain to all Swiss German dialects.

Unlike in standard German, which devoices word final obstruents, Swiss German maintains an opposition between words such as Rat (advice) and Rad (wheel). In Swiss German the plosives /p/, /t/ and /k/ are usually unaspirated. For example, Tee (tea) is unaspirated.

Swiss German lacks the palatal fricative of standard German. The velar fricative is used extensively. In addition, the /r/ is pronounced as an alveolar trill in many dialects, though certain dialects, especially in the northeast of the country, have a uvular trill.

Many words are stressed differently in Swiss German. First-syllable stress is used more than in the standard language. For example, Kaffee (coffee) is stressed on the first syllable in Swiss German and not on the second as is the case in standard German.

Swiss German is very different from standard German. With respect to pronunciation, Swiss German has no palatal fricative and no devoicing of word-final obstruents. More words are stressed on the first syllable than in the standard language and plosives are usually unaspirated. Many dialects pronounce the /r/ as an alveolar trill. Swiss German has a distinct pronunciation.

Consonant Mutation in English

Consonant mutation is the change in a consonant of a word due to the morphological or syntactic environment. It is evident not only in English but in languages all around the world. Consonant mutation provides evidence of sound change.

In Old English velar plosives were palatalized in certain environments. This resulted in alternations. This can be seen in the doublet ditch/dike.

Consonant mutation occurs in the past tense of certain verbs. These include seek/sought and think/thought. Consonant mutation also occurs in loanwords from Latin. Compare confess/confession and fuse/fusion.

The palatalization of velar plosives before front vowels results in forms such as induce/induction and produce/production. In act/action the word-final alveolar alveolar plosive of act is replaced with an alveopalatal fricative in action. 

Consonant mutation provides evidence of sound change. In English consonant mutation is often observed in verbs and in loanwords from Latin. Though consonant mutation can occur in all parts of the world, it usually occurs word-finally.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Compensatory Lengthening

Compensatory lengthening refers to the lengthening of a vowel sound due to the loss of a consonant. This usually occurs in the syllable coda.  This phonology process is common in English and many other languages.

The word night provides an example of compensatory lengthening. It used to be pronounced with a velar fricative. The phonetic transcription is thus [nixt]. However, the velar fricative was later lost. To compensate for the loss of the fricative, the vowel lengthened to compensate. The word was then pronounced [ni:t]. As a result of the Grent English Vowel Shift, the pronunciation of the word night later changed to [naIt].

In non-rhotic dialects of English, words such as her and service have a long schwa. This compensates for the loss of the consonant. In words such as here and tour, however, many speakers have a schwa which replaces the rhotic consonant.

An example of compensatory lengthening can also be observed in Spanish. The word dos [two] is realized as [do:] in certain dialects. The word-final s isn't pronounced. To compensate, the vowel is lengthened.

Compensatory lengthening is a common phonological process. It usually occurs in the syllable coda and exemplifies sound change. The loss of the syllable-final consonant results in the lengthening of the preceding vowel. As a result, the language preserves the rhythmical quality of the word.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Semolina Porridge

Semolina porridge is very easy to prepare. It makes a great breakfast dish. This Norwegian dish is lightly sweetened. Here is the recipe:

4 cups milk
1/2 cup semolina
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons sugar

Boil the milk.
Gradually add the semolina.
Cook for about 10 minutes.
Add butter and sugar.
Serve with cinnamon if desired.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Chocolate Soup

Chocolate soup is very popular in Iceland. This soup can be served hot or cold and as an appetizer or a dessert. It's very easy to prepare. Here is the recipe for this Icelandic soup:

3 tablespoons cocoa powder
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups water
3 cups milk
1 tablespoon potato starch
salt to taste

Mix the cocoa powder, sugar and cinnamon in a saucepan.
Gradually add the water and stir.
Bring to a boil and simmer for five minutes.
Add the milk and simmer for another two minutes.
Mix the potato starch with a little cold water and add.
Serve with salt to taste.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

French Liaison Rules

French liaison refers to the linking of a word-final consonant with the first segment of the following word. The word-final consonant is usually silent. The second segment is a vowel or a glide. Liaison sometimes changes the pronunciation of the consonant. The /s/ in les (the) is pronounced /z/ as a result of liaison.

The pronunciation of liaison follows specific rules. They can be divided into three categories: 1) required liaison; 2) prohibited liaison; 3) optional liaison. Let's look at examples of each.

In the noun phrase un homme (a man), the /n/ of the indefinite article must be pronounced. This is also the case in the verb phrase vous avez (you have). Here the /s/ must be pronounced and it is realized as /z/.

The phrase un homme et une femme (a man and a woman) provides an example of prohibited liaison. The word et retains the silent pronunciation of the word-final consonant. In the phrase les haricots (the beans), the article les is pronounced without liaison. This is because the word haricots has an asprirated h.

In the sentence L'enfant prend un bonbon (The child is taking a candy), liaison is optional. The final consonant of prend can be pronounced. In this case, the word-final consonant is realized as /t/. It can also remain silent. The absence of liaison is more common in formal situations.

Liaison is a common phonological process in French. It can be categorized into three groups: required, prohibited and optional. In certain cases liaison alters the pronunciation of the affected consonant.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Clipping in English

Clipping refers to the shortening of a segment. The segment is usually a vowel. Clipped vowels have a shorter duration than other vowels and often occur in unstressed syllables. Two types of clipping which occur in English are pre-fortis clipping and rhythmic clipping.

English has many examples of clipping in a stressed syllable before a voiceless consonant. This consonant is also known as a fortis consonant. For example, the vowel of hat is shorter than the vowel of had. Pre-fortis clipping fails to apply to vowels which precede voiceless consonants in an adjacent syllable. For example, the vowel of sea in seashell remains long.

Another kind of clipping is rhythmic clipping. This occurs in polysyllabic words. The vowels become shorter in words with a greater number of syllables. For example, the first vowel of leadership is shorter than the first vowel of leader, and the first vowel of leader is shorter than the vowel of lead.

English has many examples of clipping. They can be classified into two types, pre-fortis and rhythmic. Clipping is a common phenomenon not only in English but in many languages. The most common form of clipping shortens and centralizes vowels in unstressed syllables.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Guatemalan Spanish

Guatemalan Spanish refers to the variety of Spanish spoken in Guatemala. It is spoken by approximately 13.7 million of the country's 16 million inhabitants. In addition to Spanish, 23 other languages are spoken in the country. 21 of these languages are Mayan. 60% of the population speaks Spanish as a mother tongue.

The pronunciation of Guatemalan Spanish is characterized by a glottal fricative in words such as joya (jewel) and gemelo (twin). The intervocalic [j] in words such as silla (chair) and tuyo (yours) is often deleted.  The word-final [n] in words such as en (in ) and con (with) is pronounced as a velar.

A number of words used in Guatemala have Mayan origins. The words chucho (dog), chumpa (jacket) and shuco (dirty) are examples. In standard Spanish these words are perro, chaqueta and sucio.

The Spanish language isn't spoken by all of the inhabitants of Guatemala. 23 other languages are spoken besides Spanish. The Spanish of Guatemala features a glottal fricative, velar nasal and many words borrowed from the indigenous languages spoken in the country.

Language Change

Language change refers to the variation of a language over time. This can be observed in morphological, phonological, semantic and syntactic features. Language change can be caused by many factors.

Among the factors involved in language change are the principle of least effort, language contact, geographic separation, migration and social prestige. The principle of least effort states that speakers tend to make sound changes that require less articulatory effort. For example, the weak pronunciation of for replaces the back vowel with a schwa, a sound which is reduced. Languages often borrow words from other languages they come into contact with. For example, English has borrowed many cooking terms from French. As a result of migration, speakers change and create languages such as pidgins and creoles. Geographic separation has resulted in different forms of English in Britain and the United States. In the case of social prestige, language may not only change towards a prestigious accent, but away from one which is viewed negatively. In British English, non-rhotic accents are more prestigious than rhotic ones, but this is the opposite from the United States, which favours rhotic ones.

Language change occurs for a variety of reasons. German is a language with many dialects. As a result of early German Bible translations, High German is very prestigious today. Language change is inevitable and affects all languages.

Brown Penny

The Irish poet William Butler Yeats wrote Brown Penny. Here is the poem:

I whispered, 'I am too young.'
And then, 'I am old enough';
Wherefore I threw a penny
To find out if I might love.
'Go and love, go and love, young man,
If the lady be young and fair.'
Ah, penny, brown penny, brown penny,
I am looped in the loops of her hair.

O love is the crooked thing,
There is nobody wise enough
To find out all that is in it,
For he would be thinking of love
Till the stars had run away
And the shadows eaten the moon.
Ah penny, brown penny, brown penny,
One cannot begin it too soon.

The poem Brown Penny consists of two stanzas with eight verses each. The rhyme scheme is irregular. In the first and second stanzas, the sixth and eighth verses rhyme. The seventh verse of both stanzas is identical. William Butler Yeats tells the reader that nobody has sufficient wisdom to understand love fully. However, one doesn't need to know everything about love and must decide the age at which love might begin.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Analysis of Stress in English Words

The majority of English words are stressed on the first syllable. This is true for many words such as city, grammar and airplane. However, since English stress can appear on any syllable, it is largely unpredictable. I analyzed 20 English words to determinine the distribution of English stress. I chose the words from four categories: fruits, nature, literature and school.

The 20 words I chose are the following:


Of these 20 words, 16 have sentence-initial stress. They are orange, apple, mango, lemon, mountain, forest, river, jungle, poem, story, character, setting, author, student, teacher, and pencil.

Three words have penultimate stress. They are banana, volcano and assignment. One word has sentence-final stress. The word is exam.

From the list the distribution of stress is as follows:

syllable-initial 80%
penultimate 15%
syllable-final 5%

Of course this list is to small to determine the distibution of stress in English syllables. A larger list is needed to derive a more accurate analysis. Nevertheless, the list appears to show that syllable-initial stress is definitely the most common in English.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Cardamom Ice Cream

This Swedish recipe for cardamom ice cream is simple and well worth the effort. Here is the recipe:

2 teaspoons cardamom
1 egg
6 tablespoons sugar
1 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Whisp the egg in a bowl for about two minutes.
Whisk in the sugar a little at a time.
Add the cream, milk, cardamom and vanilla extract.
Blend all the ingredients together.
Continue to whip for about three minutes.
Transfer to a container.
Cover and freeze for three hours.

Cardamom ice cream is popular in Sweden. This ice cream is very good with berries and pancakes and is also wonderful on its own.

Canadian Literature

In the world of literature written in English, British and American are famous. British Literature has writers such as Charles Dickens, William Shakespeare and J.K. Rowling. American Literature has contributed writers such as Emily Dickinson, Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald. Canadian literature is undoubtedly not as well known, but has made important contributions to the world of literature.

Eight Canadian writers who deserve attention are Roch Carrier, Robertson Davies, Margaret Laurence, John McCrae, Lucy Maud Montgomery, Farley Mowat, Alice Munro and Gabrielle Roy. Roch Carrier and Gabrielle Roy represent French-Canadian writers. Alice Munro is Canada's only Nobel Prize winner in literature. She won the Nobel Prize in 2013.

One of Roch Carrier's most famous short stories is The Hockey Sweater, a story which illustrates the tensions between English-Canada and French-Canada. Robertson Davies wrote The Rebel Angels, a story which takes place in a fictional college.

Margaret Laurence's most famous novel is probably The Stone Angel, a story about an elderly woman who reflects on her life. John McCrae is best known for his poem about war, In Flanders Fields. He served in World War I and died of pneumonia at the end of the war.

Lucy Maud Montgomery is best known for the series Anne of Green Gables. The Green Gables farm is now a tourist attraction in Prince Edward Island. She also wrote many poems. One of the most popular is Come, Rest Awhile. Farley Mowat wrote many novels about nature. One of the most famous is Never Cry Wolf, which takes place in the north of Canada.

Alice Munro has written many short stories. She has been compared to the great Russian writer Anton Chekhov. One of her earliest novels is titled The Shining Houses. Gabrielle Roy wrote a French novel which was translated into English as The Tin Flute. It tells the story of a waitress in Montreal who struggles with poverty while searching for love.

Compared to American and British literature, Canadian literature isn't so famous. Nevertheless, Canada has many writers who have gained recognition both at home and abroad. One of them, Alice Munro, won the Nobel Prize in 2013.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Lemon Bread

This Hungarian recipe for lemon bread is very simple to make. Here is the recipe:

3/4 cup butter
1 1/4 cups sugar
3 eggs
2 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup lemon juice
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel

Preheat the oven to 175 degrees Celsius.
Grease and flour a baking pan.
Cream the butter and sugar.
Add the eggs and blend.
Combine the flour, baking powder and salt.
Add to the wet mixture alternating with milk and lemon juice.
Mix well.
Add the lemon peel.
Pour into the pan.
Bake for about one hour.

This is a light dessert that is really nice after a heavy meal.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Love and Patience

This is my latest poem. It's dedicated to my father, who lost his life on July 9, 2016.

Love and Patience

Though you have gone, we remember.
You were quiet but spoke through action.
Your words of wisdom endure forever.
You exemplified dedication.

Those who knew you called you humble,
Diligent, kind and full of humour.
Life took you far from your cradle.
Canada became your future.

You experienced hardship and war in your early years,
But your words and actions bore no trace.
You were respected by your peers.
They recognized your kind face.

As time passes we miss you more.
Your love and patience are in your name.
Values of generosity and kindness we all adore.
You sought neither power nor fame.

We remember your love of family,
Hospitality offered to every guest.
Your words and actions are our memory,
As we strive to do our daily best.

Adjectives Ending With -ic and -ical

No rule can be given for the formation of adjectives with -ic and -ical. In certain cases -ic words are preferred over their -ical counterparts and in other cases, -ical words are preferred. A number of -ic and -ical pairs have differentiated themselves over time and now have distinct meanings.

Today the pair botanical is more common than botanic. Metaphorical is used more than metaphoric, but ironic and problematic are more common than their counterparts ironical and problematical. The word polemic is a noun and polemical is an adjective.

The word pairs classic/classical, comic/comical, economic/economical, electric/electrical, historic/historical and periodic/periodical have different meanings. The word classical is often used for well-defined historical periods of culture and science as in classical music. The word classic has a broader meaning. It has the meaning of great significance as in classic literature. The word comic relates to comedy and comical has the meaning of funny. The adjective economical relates to the economy and economics while economic means thrifty. The word electrical relates to electricity, for example, electrical outlets. Devices that run on electricity are electric such as electric cars and electric heaters. The word historical relates to the past as in a historical document. However, historic means historically signficiant as in a historic battle. The adjective periodic is used for situations that take place at regular intervals or are intermittent. The word periodical has a narrower meaning and means published at regular intervals.

In many cases adjectives with -ic and -ical are interchangeable as in botanic/botanical and ironic/ironical. Though these word pairs are identical in meaning, one of the two pairs is often more common than the other. With certain words pairs such as economic/economical and historic/historic, they were once identical but now have different meanings.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Red Currant Cake

Red currant cake is delicious to make and doesn't take so long to prepare. This Swedish recipe is flavoured with cardamom. Here is the recipe:

2/3 cup butter
3 tablespoons milk
3 large eggs
2 cups flour
1 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cardamom
1 cup red currants
1/2 cup red currants

Preheat the oven to 175 degrees Celsius.
Melt the butter and add the milk.
In another bowl whisk the eggs and the sugar.
Add the butter and milk to the egg mixture.
Add the cardamom.
In a separate bowl mix the flour, vanilla sugar and baking powder.
Add the dry ingredients.
Pour into a pan coated with butter and breadcrumbs.
Sprinkle the red currants on top.
Bake for about 30 minutes.

Here are the ingredients for the icing:

3 tablespoons cream
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup cream cheese

Melt the butter in a pan and add the cream.
Now add the sugar and cream cheese.
Stir for a few minutes until the mixture thickens.
Let cool.

Spread the icing over the top of the cake.
Decorate with the remaining red currants.

This is a cake that combines the flavours of cream cheese, red currant and cardamom. Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Resignation in 13

In a game of speed chess my opponent resigned after 13 moves. He was Joe 10000 of Serbia, who played white. Here are the moves of the game along with my commentary:

1. e4 c5
2. Nf3 d6
3. Nc3 Bg4
4. Bb5+ Nd7

I decide to develop my knight rather than retreat my bishop.

5. d4 cxd

White's move is aggressive but brings out the queen early.

6. Qxd4 Bxf3

I decide to weaken white's pawn structure.

7. gxf3 a6
8. Bc4 e6
9. Rg1 Ngf6
10. f4 e5

White plays aggressively, but it's safer to castle.

11. fxe Nxe5
12. Bg4 Nf3+

White can prevent my fork with Be2.

13. Ke2 Nd4+

White loses his queen and resigns. The keys to victory in this game are white's weakened pawn structure and the royal fork by my knight on move 12. White plays aggressively, but fails to attend to the safety of his king.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Chemical Symbols

Many elements have chemical symbols which are easily explained. The symbols for oxygen and hydrogen are O and H. Two letters are used for calcium and platinum, Ca and Pt. In the case of certain elements, however, such as iron and lead, the symbols are different. The reason is that the symbols are derived from Latin.

Here are chemical symbols which differ from their English names:

Antimony Sb
Copper Cu
Iron Fe
Gold Au
Lead Pb
Mercury Hg
Potassium K
Silver Ag
Sodium Na
Tin Sn
Tungsten W

The chemical symbols of ten elements are derived from Latin. The chemical symbol for tungsten is derived from German. Here are the names:

Antimony stibium
Copper cyprium
Iron ferrum
Gold aurum
Lead plumbum
Mercury hydragyrum
Potassium kalium
Silver argentum
Sodium natrium
Tin stannum
Tungsten wolfram

The chemical symbols of most elements are clear. The chemical symbols for carbon and hydrogen are C and H. However, a few elements have symbols with no connection to their English names. The reason is that they're derived from Latin and in the case of tungsten, from German.

Lemon Potatoes

Lemon potatoes are a fantastic way to prepare potatoes. This Greek recipe is great with lamb. Here is the recipe:

8 potatoes, peeled
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup olive oil
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup chicken stock

Peel potatoes and cup in half.
Let them stand in water while preparing the sauce.
Combine all the other ingredients in a bowl .
Dry the potatoes and add to the bowl.
Marinate for two hours.
Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
Roast the potatoes for about one hour while turning occasionally.
There should be plenty of sauce left over after roasting.

If the potatoes are very large, you can quarter them. The chicken stock can be replaced with lamb stock.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Tuscan Liver

This Italian recipe for liver is simple to prepare. Here is the recipe:

4 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
400 grams beef liver
1/4 cup flour
salt and pepper
3 tablespoons lemon juice

Heat the oil and butter over medium heat.
Coat the liver on both sides with flour.
Cook the liver for 30 seconds a side and remove.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Do not overcook.
The liver should be pink and moist.
Add the lemon juice to the pan.
Return the liver to the pan to heat briefly.
Transfer to a serving juice.
Pour the pan juices over the liver.
Serve immediately.

This is a great way to serve liver. If you really like lemon juice, you can add more.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Resignation After 12 Moves

In a game of speed chess, my opponent resigned after only 12 moves. He was Muyambokamdigare of Zimbabwe, who played black. Here are the moves of the game along with my commentary:

1. e4 e5
2. Nf3 Nc6
3. c3 Nf6

My third move isn't so common. Bb5 is often played here.

4. Bc4 Bc5
5. 0-0 Ng4

Black's move is aggressive, but not so effective. A better move for black is to castle.

6. d4 exd
7. cxd Bb6
8. h3 h5

Black sets a trap. I can't take the knight. If I do, he opens the h-file for his rook and queen.

9. Nc3 d6
10. Nd5 Be6

Black's move is a mistake. Here a better move is to castle.

11. Nxb6 axb6
12. d5

Now the reason black's tenth move is a mistake becomes clear. My pawn forks the black knight and bishop. Black resigns.

In this game black postpones castling because he doesn't see the need. However, his tenth move is a critical mistake which allows me to win a piece. For this reason he resigns early.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Ten Tricky Words To Spell

English spelling is irregular. The result is that many people misspell words. Here are ten words considered tricky to spell:

accommodate (this is spelt with a double c and double m)
collectible (the third vowel is an i)
inoculate (this word has only one n)
liquefy (unlike liquid, this has an e in the second syllable)
maelstrom (the ae sequence is unusual in English)
millennium (this is spelt with a double l and double n)
minuscule (the second vowel is a u)
possession (this word has four occurrences of the letter s)
privilege (the third vowel is spelt with an e)
threshold (this word has only one h)

Since English isn't a phonetic language, the spelling is often very irregular. The result is that many people misspell English words such as the ones in the list. Mastery of English spelling can certainly be a challenge.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Strawberry Snow

Strawberry snow is the name of a Finnish dessert. It's delicious and easy to make. Here's the recipe:

2 cups strawberries
1/2 cup sugar
4 egg whites
pinch of salt
3/4 cup heavy cream, whipped
12 strawberries

Press the strawberries through a sieve into a small mixing bowl.
Stir 1/2 cup of sugar, a little at a time.
Beat the egg whites and salt in a large bowl until stiff.
Fold the strawberry puree and then the whipped cream into the egg whites.
Pour the strawberry snow into an attractive serving bowl.
Decorate with the whole strawberries..

This can be served at once or it may be refrigerated and served later in the day. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Consonant Length

Many languages have distinctive consonant length. This feature is also known as gemination. In English consonant length is only distinctive across morpheme boundaries but never within a word.

In Finnish the words kuka and kukka are distinguished by consonant length. The former means who and the latter means flower. In English such a distinction never occurs within a single word, but it can occur across word boundaries. An example is night train and night rain. The first compound has a long consonant and the second has a short one. With affricates, consonant length isn't distinctive. For example, orange juice is pronounced with a single affricate.

Consonant length is distinctive in many languages. They include Arabic, Finnish, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese and Swedish. English has distinctive consonant length across word boundaries but not within a single word.

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 correspondences 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.

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