Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Wednesday Quiz III:2 -- Languages!


The Wednesday Quiz -- Season III -- Quiz 2

Languages

The Wednesday Quiz is a "closed-book" test of knowledge and intuition; please do not look up answers, ask others for help, or answer as a team.

Questions about the rules and the ~Fabulous Prizes~ are answered here.

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This week, we have the famous sentence "My hovercraft is full of eels" in twelve languages (taken from the good folks at the "Omniglot" website). Your mission is to apply your knowledge and intuitions about the structure and morphology of the worlds languages to try to determine the language of each sentence. To help you out, I've compiled this list of possible languages to choose from.

Afrikaans, Basque, Bengali, Bulgarian, Cree, Czech, Danish, Finnish, French, German, Hungarian, Indonesian, Korean, Latin, Polish, Russian, Romanian, Spanish, Swahili.

And there's no alphabetical transcription going on here -- so you can cross Russian off the list, for instance, as soon as you notice that none of the entries are written in the Cyrillic alphabet. Bon Chance!

Correct answers are worth 8 1/3 points apiece.

1. Gari langu linaloangama limejaa na mikunga
2. Mon aéroglisseur est plein d'anguilles
3. Mein Luftkissenfahrzeug ist voller Aale
4. Ilmatyynyalukseni on täynnä ankeriaita
5. A légpárnás hajóm tele van angolnákkal
6. My skeertuig is vol palings
7. Moje vznášedlo je plné úhořů
8. Mea nāvis aëricumbens anguillis abundat
9. Mój poduszkowiec jest pełen węgorzy
10. Mit luftpudefartøj er fyldt med ål
11. Nire aerolabangailua aingirez beteta dago
12. Vehicolul meu pe pernă de aer e plin cu ţipari


Submit your answers in the comments!

27 comments:

Elaine said...

1. Swahili
2. French
3. German
4. Cree
5. Czech
6. Danish
7. Hungarian
8. Romanian
9. Polish
10. Afrikaans
11. Bengali
12. Basque

I think I got two of those. Good grief

The Calico Cat said...

I don't want to play with you. I am taking my rotary cutter & going home.

La Gringissima said...

Allora...

1. Swahili
2. French
3. German
4. Finnish
5. Hungarian
6. Afrikaans
7. Czech
8. Latin
9. Polish
10. Danish
11. Indonesian
12. Romanian

Elizabeth said...

2 and 5, no problem - 2 is French, bien sur, and 5 is Hungarian, and is my current blog subtitle. For the rest ... bouncy bouncy!

1. Swahili
2. French
3. German
4. Finnish
5. Hungarian
6. Afrikaans
7. Czech
8. Latin
9. Polish
10. Danish
11. Indonesian
12. Bulgarian

Jennifer said...

What, no Estonian? Use 'em for sinimustvalge, and then forget 'em? MFN isn't what it used to be, I guess....

Phineas said...

1. Bengali
2. French
3. German
4. Finnish
5. Hungarian
6. Afrikaans
7. Romanian
8. Latin
9. Polish
10. Danish
11. Basque
12. Bulgarian

Phineas said...

I thought this was INSANELY hard.....until I reread the intro and saw the list of language clues. After that it just felt like doing the 15-square puzzle.

Nichim said...

1. Swahili
2. French
3. German
4. Finnish
5. Hungarian
6. Afrikaans
7. Czech
8. Latin
9. Polish
10. Danish
11. Basque
12. Romanian

Thanks for the novel experience of wondering "is that Indonesian or is it Basque?"

Ben said...

1. Cree
2. French
3. German
4. Swahili
5. Bulgarian
6. Afrikaans
7. Finnish
8. Latin
9. Czech
10. Danish
11. Indonesian
12. Basque

DrSchnell said...

I'm sorry that your hovercraft is full of eels!
1. kiSwahili (or just Swahili)
2. French
3. German
4. Cree
5. Basque
6. Danish
7. Czech
8. Bengali
9. Polish
10.Finnish
11.Indonesian
12.Romanian

Elaine said...

Oh, BTW, M5000, could you please, when giving us the key, explain just what clues were supposed to cue our intuitions so that we could overcome our serious lack of knowledge regarding the elements of, oh, Cree or Indonesian.

And, if your Hovercraft is full of eels, you are flying and landing incorrectly.

mrs.5000 said...

1 Swahili
2 French
3 German
4 Finnish
5 Hungarian
6 Afrikaans
7 Czech
8 Latin
9 Polish
10 Danish
11 Basque
12 Indonesian

UnwiseOwl said...

Oh dear..
1. Feels Indonesian, it's a common language to learn here due to its proximity to Australia.
2. Damn Frenchies.
3. Luftkissenfahrzeug...kisses air...it's German, but what's the literal translation?
4. Utterly unpronouncable, maybe Finnish? Those Finns are crazy.
5. Feels Eastern European...lets go Hungarian, it's all rock and roll to me.
6. Could be Afrikaans?
7. Ouch, that's not how vowels are supposed to work...maybe Czech?
8. Latin.
9. Polish, the besat language for scrabble.
10. Scandinavian...so Danish.
11. No idea...I want Spanish but it doesn't feel right, I'll say Basque.
12. Bah, maybe this is Basque? Screw it, I'll say Bengali. If Welsh was an option I'd pick that.

UnwiseOwl said...

Obviously I didn't learn Indonesian...thought I would have recognised Swahili, though. Damn.

Aviatrix said...

Oh I'm having fun with this. Deleting all the ones that are always written in non-latin alphabets, and assigning the easy ones, I'm left with:

Afrikaans - Dutchlike, so germanic, possibly with a dose of Xhosa
Basque - IIRC is non-Indo-Eur, last survivor of extinct language group
Bulgarian - Slavic, and I think sometimes it is written with the latin alphabet and sometimes Cyrillic
Czech - Like Russian but with fewer vowels and in latin alphabet
Indonesian - I think batique is from an Indonesian word, non- I.E.
Romanian - More French than other Eastern European languages
Swahili - plurals by reduplication, pidgin grammar, look for mb ng il mi.

1. Swahili - Could be Indonesian, but mikunga just has such an African vibe
2. French - I speak it
3. German - grammar and vocab match
4. Finnish - double y, lotsa ä and k, right vowel-consonant pattern
5. Hungarian - resembles Hungarian roommate's care package labels
6. Afrikaans - It's germanic but not German
7. Czech - slavic "moi", Indo-Eur plné, only Czech could concoct vsn
8. Latin - abundat: that's the Latin third person singular
9. Polish - ł szk and rzy are the giveaways.
10. Danish - halfway between German and Norwegian
11. Basque - no indo-european hooks, like nothing I know.
12. Romanian - too much like French to be any of the other unknowns

And that's my final answer. I loved that one.

Aviatrix said...

Elaine, Cree (at least in Canada) uses a different alphabet, the same base symbols used for Inuktitut, so I knew I could rule that out. I used to live in a town that had the name of the town painted on the water in Cree. Only.

And I'm off to find out the difference between Indonesian and Basque.

Aviatrix said...

Here's Basque. It must be highly inflected because there are hardly any short words, so something else must be doing the work of prepositions and auxiliary verbs. Words begin in eu, end in vowels or n a lot, and there is a surfeit of z, k and x. I was thinking my #11 guess was wrong but "Nire" and "dago" both occur in the Basque article, I'm guessing they are "my" and "full" or "filled with" so #11 may indeed be Basque.

Here's a short sentence in Indonesian. Has k, and double-a. #1 is looking like Indonesian now.

Hmm, Swahili also has a double-a, but quite a different look.

The one short sentence with a non-native word in it is pretty challenging.

Morgan said...

1. Cree
2. French
3. German
4. Russian
5. Swahili
6. Hungarian
7. Basque
8. Romanian
9. Polish
10. Finnish
11. Latin
12. Indonesian

I didn't know all of these languages had words for "hovercraft" and "eels".

Cartophiliac said...

1. Swahili
2. French
3. Romanian
4. Finnish
5. Hungarian
6. Afrikaans
7. Basque
8. Czech
9. Danish
10. German
11. Bulgarian
12. Indonesian

elaine said...

@Aviatrix
Thanks-- very helpful even though of course way too late to help the drowning...

Jenners said...

ATTENTION! ATTENTION!! ALL THOSE LOOKING FOR THE ANSWERS AND WONDERING WHERE THEY ARE! READ THIS!!!

Hi ... Vice Dork Jenners here with a message from our esteemed leader, Michael5000. I have been charged to tell you (the natives) that when you are getting restless (which you might be ... we're almost 24 hours into the quiz and no answers have been posted) that Michael5000 (despite all appearances to the contrary) is off the Internet for a few days and will not be posting the answers until he can get back online. So he begs you to calm down and wait patiently. Why he couldn't have given ME the answers to post, I don't know. But my duty is not the question WHY but merely to inform you that the answers will be forthcoming and to be patient.

This has been a public service announcement from the Vice Dork of this blog.

Elaine said...

We're being patient! SEE? We're sitting here being very, very PATIENT! We're not pacing around! We're not cutting and pasting to Google the obscure, nay, cruel, phrase about Hovercrafts overwhelmed by eels. P-A-T-I-E-N-T!!! Patience R Us! Gee...a little credit would be nice, a little acknowledgement of our PATIENCE and UNDERSTANDING and un-Type-A-ness. (I could go on, but I think this will do to emphasize our forebearance and good manners.)

Elaine said...

Still being patient!!! Got up in the night to practice more patience!!!

Aviatrix said...

Michael could add "not providing quiz answers in a timely fashion" to his list of minor sins.

Aviatrix said...

Morgan: eels of some sort are pretty universal. If you have enough of a society to have a language, you have access to a body of water, and it probably has eels in it. Check your shower.

Hovercraft are considerably less ubiquitous than eels, but it's an easily constructed word. The French is "air-glider." The German is something like "air cushion vehicle." The Latin might be air-riding ship. And the last one, which I think is Romanian, seems to be something like "Vehicle on a something of air." I'm curious about "skeertuig." Maybe it means "gliding boat."

I love reading things in languages I don't know and making up what they say. My friend and I did that in the Louvre, "translating" out load to each other the Egyptian hieroglyphics. I'm always amused when I can read something without knowing what language it is written in.

Michael5000 said...

Hey, I'm back!

1. Gari langu linaloangama limejaa na mikunga = SWAHILI
2. Mon aéroglisseur est plein d'anguilles = FRENCH
3. Mein Luftkissenfahrzeug ist voller Aale = GERMAN
4. Ilmatyynyalukseni on täynnä ankeriaita = FINNISH
5. A légpárnás hajóm tele van angolnákkal = HUNGARIAN
6. My skeertuig is vol palings = AFRIKAANS
7. Moje vznášedlo je plné úhořů = CZECH
8. Mea nāvis aëricumbens anguillis abundat = LATIN
9. Mój poduszkowiec jest pełen węgorzy = POLISH
10. Mit luftpudefartøj er fyldt med ål = DANISH
11. Nire aerolabangailua aingirez beteta dago = BASQUE
12. Vehicolul meu pe pernă de aer e plin cu ţipari = ROMANIAN

Michael5000 said...

Which renders nichim, who tends to rock quizzes linguistic, and Aviatrix, who tends to rock quizzes often, with perfect scores, followed right behind by la gringa and Mrs.5000.

Special props of the mad variety to Aviatrix and the UnWise Owl for showing their work in an entertaining fashion.