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:

exhausted
exhibition
exhume
heir
honest
honour
hors d'oeuvres
hour
shepherd
silhouette
spaghetti
vehicle

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

Circumfix

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.