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In Dutch, the city of Amsterdam is often called Mokum. It was given this name by Ashkenazi Jews from Eastern Europe who sought refuge there, starting in the 17th century. Amsterdam was called Big Mokum, as opposed to Litte Mokum, which referred to Rotterdam. They also sometimes used the Hebrew first letter of the name: this page about Yiddish mentions Mokum Alef = Amsterdam, Mokum Resh = Rotterdam, Mokum Beth = Berlin.

Amsterdam is a melodious city

PS. November 2007. I happened to find a Latin word – tabula – that led to four different words in Portuguese.

Pranto and llanto, but not chanto

Later on, I largely abandoned frames, although traces of it can still be seen in my front page and here. (Update 24 October 2012: lingfrm.htm now also completely abolished.)

History of the religion menu

Producing banknotes seems even more profitable than minting coins. Where even modern coins have at least some intrinsic value, because of the metal they are made of, paper money consists almost solely of nominal value: especially in the case of larger denominations, the paper itself is virtually worthless in comparison.

Seigniorage (1)

Paradoxically, granting a credit automatically causes money creation, but now with ‘money’ in a special monetary sense. But this money creation does not make the bank any richer: in terms of value, the net effect is zero.

This is difficult to understand, but it is true. That so many people fail to understand this, is one the underlying causes of a widespread, unjustified mistrust of banks among the general public.

Interest back into circulation

Granting a loan to someone in the public (a person, household or company) entails two entries in the bank’s books:

  1. A debit entry in the client’s loan account.

    This represents the client’s promise (or in fact: obligation) to pay the amount back at some point in time. (When and in how many instalments will vary, as agreed in more detailed arrangements between bank and client.)

    This entry shows an amount that the borrower owes the bank, in other words, a claim of the bank on the borrower, in yet other words: a financial asset owned by the bank.

  2. A credit entry in the client’s current account (checking account, on demand account; various terms exist).

    This represents the bank’s promise (or in fact: obligation) to make the loan sum available to the borrower, so he can use it for payments or set it aside as savings, or take it out as cash, whatever pleases the borrower.

    This entry shows an amount that the bank owes the borrower, in other words a claim of the borrower on the bank, in yet other words: a financial asset owned by the borrower.

Give up commensurable consideration

OK, that’s about the music. What I really wanted to write about is this: life is short and it can be harsh sometimes. Seemingly small things can cheer us up and make life beautiful. This is an example: those smiles by Roberta Sá in the video Mambembe.

One such smile a day

  • Cardinal Vowels:
    Daniel Jones: samples recorded in 1956
    The Cardinal Vowels with Daniel Jones (full set of 18 vowels)
  • Cardinal vowels by John Wells, Susan Ramsaran and Peter Ladefoged.

    Links to linguistic and phonetic glossaries and explanations

    Money requires trust

    Banks are known to always fulfil their promises, banks are generally trusted. That is why their promises to the public are money: money is claims by the public on banks. In other words: money is promises to pay, promises by banks to the public.

    Buying a house with a promise

    Fragmentation IS a problem, however, where the actual collection of the promised products or services is concerned: instead of one company collecting 2000 chickens at once, there could be hundreds of different account holders in the CMI, each entitled to a few of those chickens. Some of those account holders will show up, around the pre-agreed delivery date, to collect their rightfully owned chickens. But some don’t. The chicken raiser is not allowed to deliver any uncollected chickens to somebody else. Yet another practical problem.

    Also, because of the sheer number of product collections in a short period, the chicken grower won’t have any time for his regular work.

    CMI, and then?

    Tony Randall played Felix Unger in the TV series (which I never watched), but in the movie it was Jack Lemmon.

    In a previous incarnation of this article, I had the two mixed up. Now corrected.


    But it has an additional meaning: that of key, tonality, mode. It usually occurs in the plural, maqâmât, مقامات. They are series of notes, that make the basis of numerous Arabic musical pieces. These scales contain notes that are in between those normally used in Western music, which is one of the things that gives this music its special sound.

    So in a way, looking at random historic links, we could state that Amsterdam is somehow connected to melodies.

    Amsterdam is a melodious city

    For lack of a better thing to do he took a shower. They hardly had breakfast, and certainly not together. They did have a coffee together. Then she suddenly said: ‘How on earth can you say a thing like that?’

    So he went – Chapter 4

    In Spanish, the first person of the perfect often ends in -e while the third person form has -o. In Portuguese however the first and third person conjugations are equal.

    Irregular verbs in Spanish and Portuguese

    With the example of the Latin word plaga it starts getting interesting: it occurs twice, and led to pt chaga (wound) and also to pt praga (curse, calamity). So maybe this is part of the group of words that entered the language twice, in two different periods? Other cases in which this happened:

    Pranto and llanto, but not chanto

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