How many of these 30 languages can you identify?

Friday, January 01, 2010

That's from a test here. I got 30/30 and I suspect a lot of readers of Page F30 will get the same or nearly the same result. What is just as interesting as the test though are the results afterward showing which languages were hardest to identify. Those results are a spoiler for those that want to take the test though so I'll write the rest of the post in a light font. Highlight the rest of the post to read it. And don't click that link that says here unless you want to see the results and thus know the answers.

First of all, the results are here, and range from an impressive 98% correct score for French to only 1.8% for Maltese. It's interesting how French managed to get such a high score while Spanish was only at 67.6%, which shows how much wide (but perhaps shallow) knowledge there is of the language among L2 users. Spanish is more L1 heavy. The large number of students of German can also be seen in its 90.7%.

Korean managed to score higher than Japanese as well, and the reason for that is likely the fact that no other language (well, except Cia-Cia) uses Hangul as its script. A lot of people probably got Chinese and Japanese mixed up.

Arabic is quite high; if Persian was mixed in there it probably would have dropped a bit.

Greek is actually quite low (34.4%) considering its use in mathematics. Perhaps people just aren't used to seeing more than one Greek letter at a time. δ and β and α and γ and everything else by themselves are fine, but seeing them together as something like καλύτερη all of a sudden looks quite foreign.

Icelandic is only at 12% but that's much higher than Maltese (1.6%), even though Maltese has about twice as many speakers. Seeing an ħ is a sign that you're dealing with Maltese but for most the þ and ð of Icelandic are more familiar.

Turkish is spoken by a lot of people and Turkic languages are spread throughout Central Asia, but in spite of this Turkish only got 8.9%. This was a bit of a surprise. Then again, the example given doesn't include any letters that really stick out in Turkish and not other languages like ğ/Ğ, ι and İ. Add those and it might go up a bit.


lyzazel said...

I missed Filipino, Hindi (although I had written it but the checker didn't count it - perhaps I made a mistake), Irish, Hebrew (thought it was Yiddish), Maltese and Albanian.

luuletaja said...

first of all, the Estonian translation is rather crap, you can understand the meaning, but we wouldn't say it so.

secondly, it should have a speller built into it, so if you forget or add a letter, I mean, it's the first of January still, you wouldn't start thinking of new languages.

and thirdly, its rather euro-centric, could use some american indigenous languages or Polynesian ones.

and thirdly, kept thinking for 30 seconds why yewish is not the right answer. =(

(and no, the spell checker wouldn't have corrected that)

I think that says everything about the party. last night.

데이빛 / Mithridates said...

>the Estonian translation is rather crap, you can understand the meaning, but we wouldn't say it so.

The Korean translation is pretty bad too.

Found the Estonian translation: See oli parim aeg, see oli halvim aeg...followed by "see oli tarkuse aeg, see oli lolluse aeg, see oli uskumise periood, see oli uskmatuse periood, see oli valguse aeg, see oli pimeduse aeg, see oli lootuse kevad, see oli meeleheite talv, meid ootas kõik veel ees, meid ei oodanud midagi ees, me läksime kõik otse taeva, me läksime kõik otse vastassuunas."

lyzazel said...

For that matter, Estonian is one awesome language.

I have been working on learning a little bit myself (not much, just to get myself introduced) and making a short introductory course of it ( progress here: http://localhost/labs/lesson.php?id=180 ) and I have found it to be pretty wicked: the *relative* ease of pronunciation and spelling, the cases (which all seem to follow from knowing three of them, and mostly two) and there is something about the words themselves that looks cool.

lyzazel said...

Oops, I guess linking to localhost didn't really make sense. (Lack of the editing option again.) There still is the same lesson on my site. Or you can just ignore the link.

Carlos Solís said...

I actually could get 24. Well, if we take in count that I spelled Filipino as "Phillipine" (sorry), it would be 25.

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