Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Thursday Quiz XV / Beethoven, Day 6

Run for your life! It's

The Thursday Quiz!

The Thursday Quiz is, as always, a "Is It or Isn't It" game. From the list of twelve items, your job is to determine whether each IS or ISN'T a true example of the week's category.

Remember always the Spirit of Christmas:

No research, Googling, Wikiing, or use of reference books. The Thursday
Quiz is a POP quiz. Violators will lose their power of speech.
This Week's Category will be the talk around town!

Languages With the Greatest Numbers of Speakers

OK, here's how this one works: All of the following are major world languages. Some of them, though, are in the ten languages with the greatest number of native speakers. The others aren't even in the top twenty-five. Which are the ones in the top ten?

1. Afrikaans
2. Amharic
3. Bengali
4. German
5. Indonesian
6. Japanese
7. Persian
8. Portuguese
9. Serbo-Croatian
10. Somali
11. Spanish
12. Zulu

Submit your answers in a linguistic form.


Countdown to Beethoven's Birthday:
Beethoven's Sixth Symphony ("Pastorale")

Borssom, Landscape with Cows and Sheep Mmm... Beethoven's Sixth. The "Pastorale." For me, listening to Beethoven's Sixth is as refreshing and comforting as the spring day out in the country that it is intended to recreate.

The happiest and most joyful of Beethoven's works (the turbulance of the profound depression he was feeling around this time must have been channeled into the Fifth), the Sixth is also one of the most revolutionary. It breaks the rigid frame of the Classical symphony in two ways. First, it has five movements! Whoa. Since a Classical audience knew exactly what to expect from each of the four traditional divisions of a symphony -- theme & development, a slow bit, a dance, a rousing conclusion -- tacking on a fifth was really messing with their heads. Secondly, the music is programatic, setting out to describe specific events and moods in music. Most symphonies have movements with titles like "Allegro Moderato"; Beethoven's Sixth has movements with titles like "Upon the Arrival of Pleasant Thoughts While A'Riding in the Fields."

What's not to love? Well, the usual criticism of the Sixth would likely be that it is twee, intellectually lightweight, pretty. Well, I'm an intellectual lightweight who likes purty things. And I do love me some Beethoven's Sixth.


fingerstothebone said...

1. yes
2. no
3. yes
4. no
5. yes
6. no
7. no
8. yes
9. no
10. no
11. yes
12. yes

Anonymous said...

Um, 5,6,7,8,and 11?

d said...

1. i'm gonna say yes. there are a lot of people in south africa

2. um. no. right? since it's a dead language? right?

3. no. i mean the tigers are almost extinct.

4. this is tough. germany's kind of a small country... i'm gonna say yes

5. yes. emphatically yes. which means i'm probably wrong.

6. no. japan's tiny.

7. yes. see number 5.

8. portugal is tiny little. oh but then there's brazil. dangit. ok. yes. i mean yes.

9. no. unless that guy on er counts as a lot of people.

10. um. yes? again with all of those africans.

11. YES

12. no. the poor bushmen have been practically decimated. the world sucks.

Chance said...

I'm sorry, I've never even seen that painting before. I couldn't possibly identify it. This quiz is too hard.

Rex Parker said...

I am cheating today, so I'm not going to answer. Let's just say I was SO wrong.


Anonymous said...

1. Nope
2. Nope
3. Yep. (Bangladesh, whose motto is "We may be small, but we're densely populated"
4. Yep.
5. Is this a trick question? Isn't Indonesia one of those places with crazy lots of dialects that nobody can agree whether they're the same language or not? OK, I say yes, since Indonesia is humongous populationwise.
6. Yep
7. Nope
8. Yep. All them Brazilians.
9. Nope
10. Nope
11. Yep.
12. Nope

Karin said...


1, 2-My Ethiopian students speak Amharic everyday, 3, 4, 7, 9, 10, 12

Rebel said...

Oh as usual, a subject I think I should know more about, but really really don't.

I can tell you that the top three languages spoken are Mandarin Chinese, English & Spanish. But that's all I know for sure of the top 10.

1 isn't
2 isn't (only because I don't actually know what this is)
3 I know India has a ton of people, but then they all speak different dialects, so hmmm.... I'm going to say it is, so that I can brag that I can say "Hello" in Bengali, it sounds a bit like "Commin' at you"
4. is - I'm pretty sure
5. is - I'm guessing
6. is??
7. isn't
8 is (there are a lot of people in Brazil right?
9 isn't, although I know their word for "cat" is "machka" =P
10 isn't
11 IS!
12 isn't... although again guessing.

Rhetorical Twist said...

1. No
2. No
3. Yes
4. Yes?
5. Yes
6. No
7. No
8. I'll say yes
9. No?
10. No
11. Yes
12. No

Anonymous said...

1. Afrikaans: No
2. Amharic: no
3. Bengali: yes
4. German: no
5. Indonesian: yes
6. Japanese: no
7. Persian.: no
8. Portuguese: hmm ok, sure, why not.
9. Serbo-Croatian: no
10: Somali: no
11: Spanish: You'd think so, so again, why not, sure, yes.
12: Zulu: no.

That was a nice little diversion from my Snow Day. We're expecting 6-10" by this afternoon. No school: woo hoo!

Unknown said...

1. no.
2. no.
3. yeah, sure.
4. thank god, no.
5. yup.
6. eh... no.
7. no.
8. yes.
9. heh. no.
10. no.
11. sí, claro!
12. no.

CPM said...

Bengali and Japanese

I was a little confused between #of Speakers, and Native Number of Speakers.

CPM said...

Sorry, Bengali and Japanese ARE NOT in the top 10

McGuff said...

In Top 10

3. Bengali - because just a small fraction of India = a whole lotta folks
4. German - because of Austria, Switzerland, etc
6. Japanese - because there's just so darn many of 'em in that little hilly land of theirs
8. Portuguese - Because of Brazil
11. Spanish - just because

Why Not....
Indonesian? - there's much Chinese spoken there
Afrikaans? - favoring English and Dutch (?)
The others? - it's not much of a quiz without Amharic in there, now is it?

Unlike heavily populated India, African and Inonesia, China has done such a bang up job (if not ethnicallly unethical) of forcing Mandarin onto its people that they easily take the #1 spot. Word has it, China will overtake US in number of English-speakers within just a few more years.


Mr. Shain said...


Anonymous said...

<11: German, Japanese, Spanish, Portuguese, Indonesian

>25: Afikaans, Amharic, Bengali, Beethovenese, Persian, Serbo-Croatian, Somali, Zulu

My answers look so western-centric, they must be terribly wrong!

Michael, there's a yearly quiz in the SF Chronicle that I think you'd like, should be out any day...I'll send you the link.

Anonymous said...

I don't have the linguistic symbols set up on the keyboard so I will have to go with Ys and Ns.

1. N
2. nfi
3. nfi
4. Y
5. Y
6. Y
7. Y
8. N
9. N
10. N
11. Y
12. N

Anonymous said...

And now to tune in some classical

Michael5000 said...

1. Afrikaans: No, 100th.
2. Amharic: No, 36th.
3. Bengali: Yes, 7th.
~Look at Bangladesh and Brazil on a world map sometime. Now, meditate on how they have roughly the same population.
4. German: Yes, 10th.
~Europe is very densely populated!
5. Indonesian: No, 43rd.
~A little tricksy. Most of you got this wrong, showing that you understand that Indonesia is one of the most populous countries in the world. However, although Indonesian is widely used as a lingua franca in Indonesia, most Indonesians have a separate native language (such as Balinese).
6. Japanese: Yes, 9th.
~Very populous country, Japan.
7. Persian.: No, 28th.
8. Portuguese: Yes, 6th.
~Brazil, of course.
9. Serbo-Croatian: No, 45th.
10: Somali: No, 49th.
11: Spanish: Yes, 2nd.
~Slightly ahead of English, at #3.
12: Zulu: No, 68th.

Michael5000 said...

Newcomer Phineas inaugerates his trophy case in style, bringing home the TQXV Gold Star!

Drschnell places for the second time in two weeks, taking home the Silver Star and keeping alive a four-week streak of stars claimed by the Kutztown contingent.

Bringing home her third Blue Star is Rebel, further stuffing one of the most cramped L&TM5K quiz trophy cases.

Michael5000 said...

@Chance: {snort} And, the trick was, hover your cursor over the image.

@Rex: First time we've seen you punt....

@Sandy: Diversion? From a snow day? Listen, in the City of Roses snow is a precious commodity, and snow days to be savored. Woo hoo indeed!

@Phineas: Some details ~~ Bengali does spill over the border into India, but is most prevalent in Bangladesh. There is a sizeable ethnic Chinese minority in Indonesia, as everywhere in Asia, but Chinese is not as far as I can tell a major language there. As far as China passing the U.S. in number of English speakers, that of course depends on where you set the bar for an "English speaker." [Anecdote: When I (and you, I suspect) was a lad, we were frequently scolded about how Japanese kids "speak better English than American kids do." A cute statistic based on a select group of Japanese kids doing well on an English grammar exam, it however failed radically to convey any meaningful truth about, you know, reality.]

@karmasartre: It's a western-centric ol' world, in a lot of ways. Oh, and "Beethovenese" garnered a {snort}. Do send the SF Chronicle quiz!

@Boo: "nfi"?

Michael5000 said...

@Boo: Wait, I think I've got it.

McGuff said...

I'm honored. Thank you. I like quizzes that are somewhat numerical in nature, I guess.

I was connecting Bengali and India in an 1880's British colonialism kind of way. High tea on bivouac, shooting tigers and manservants at the ready. Those were the days. We could use more manservants around here.

Rebel said...

Yay!!! Blue star!!! =)