Linguistic Quizzes Part 2! Solving Language Puzzles!

Nearly 250 people tested out their linguistic skill with our first quiz ‘Understanding the Sounds of Language.’ Here’s the second of four linguistic quizzes – we’re posting a new quiz each week! Try them all and discover a world of language!

For this week’s quiz, ‘Language Puzzles,’ you’ll need to put your analytic and decoding skills to use.

All languages contain ‘meaning bits’ (morphemes): these include verbs, agents, tense, case, etc. Languages around the world organize this information in different ways. Some rely on word order, others rely on discrete word particles (ie. prefixes, suffixes), and some combine all of the components of meaning, so that a sentence is contained within a single word. Can you figure out which part of the Oksapmin word corresponds with each separate word in the English translations?

Some languages allow varying degrees of flexibility in their word order (ie. subject-verb-object and subject-object-verb are the most common). Languages that allow for variation typically have a word order that occurs with greater frequency, and alternate ordering may indicate a shift in focus, or special context. You’ll be provided with four different sentences from the same language where the subject, object, and verb appear in different sequences. Can you identify each word?

Continue to employ your linguistic detective work by uncovering the patterns in the counting system used by the Beaver people of B.C., and try out your translation skills by completing five different Scripture verses with the appropriate kinship terms from the Aguaruna language of Peru.

If you enjoyed solving these language puzzles from around the world, consider trying some linguistics courses! You may decide to get trained to be a linguist or Bible translator.


Click here to take the second linguistic quiz with challenges 5-8: ‘Language Puzzles’

Don’t miss out on next week’s quiz to discover how linguistics intersects with cultural arts!