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.

Featured Post

Finding the Proto-Form

Related languages have a number of words which are similar to one another. In the branch of linguistics known as historical linguistics, the...