Revision: Cellular Structure and Function

This post was written for my biology students as revision for the unit on cellular structure and function.  Definitions for keywords were adapted from Biology (Glencoe, 2008).

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Notes of Passivization

One construction students of the English language inevitably encounter in their course of study is the conversion of an active sentence into a passive one (passivization), e.g.:

John bought a car. (active) –>  A car was bought by John. (passive)

Passivization is basically the shift in focus from the agent (the performer or doer) and his actions to the patient (the receiver or doee) and the actions done onto her. In this post, I briefly explore passivation in Cantonese, English, Japanese, Standard Chinese (Mandarin) and Thai.

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Mahjong Seating, Rotation Problem

About two months ago, I was invited to join a Mahjong party that involved three square game tables and twelve players (four players per table). After each (of the six) round(s) the seating assignment changes: the goal being to maximize the diversity of players at each table per round.

During the party, one of the participants shared with me a yet-to-be resolved quandary faced by the group ever since the inception these parties:  What pattern(s) of seating rotation are necessary so that all twelve players are able to play with the other eleven players by the end of the sixth round? In this post, I discuss in some detail the problem and my attempt at the solution.

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[b]/[p]/[ph]-Series and [d]/[t]/[th]-Series in Thai and English

When touring around Thailand, it isn’t uncommon to encounter attractions with a most disagreeable double pricing system (higher admission cost for non-Thai nationals, you would never find this in Europe… Anyway…).  I imagine three categories of non-Thai tourist: those who pay the awful higher price (the majority); those who start arguing with the ticket agent (some); and those who get away with paying the Thai price (the minority).  Frequently, I’m in the minority category. If only they knew!  Usually when the agent gets suspicious they say as me something like เป็นคนไทยใช่มั้ย “You are Thai, right?” But then guilt sinks in and I say no.  My passing as a Thai national might have to do with my looking the part and having the ability to speak Thai quite fluently, especially in conversation. Being a non-native speaker of the language, I occasionally mess up by pronouncing a word funny, stuttering or making a syntactically ill-formed utterance.  I’m sure if I were to speak slower (careful speech), the ticket agent could more easily detect that I’m not from these parts.  In this post, I discuss some sounds in Thai that I (and I’m sure other learners) have trouble perceiving and reproducing, especially in careful speech.

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Thai Pradesh

ประเทศไทย or [prà.thê:t.thai] (Thailand) is probably one of the first words a student of Thai would memorize.  In this post, I explore the ประ [prà] and เทศ [thê:t] of Thailand.

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Usage of เผื่อ and เพื่อ

In this post, I’ll be discussing the usage of เผื่อ /phɯ̀a/ and เพื่อ /phɯ̂a/, which is often confused by learners of Thai due to their similar phonological and semantic values.

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Apollonius’ Theorem

An interesting relationship found in geometry involves the measurements of the sides of a triangle and the measurement of the triangle’s median.  In the following diagram the median of the triangle (with sides X and Y) is indicated by Z.  The median bisects the opposite side yielding measurements of a1 = a2 = a.

20130807 Triangle Def 0

In this post, I derive the following relationship, called Apollonius’ Theorem:

20130807 eqApollonius Theorem

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The Plural(s) of Asparagus

In a recent post, I had originally mentioned asparagus/asparagi as an example of hypercorrection due to the common Latin pluralization rule of –us –> –i .  However, from further investigation I’m not so sure that asparagus/asparagi is actually so “wrong” after all.

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