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#611921 - Sun Apr 03 2011 04:03 PM Foreign language quiz questions
richicago Offline
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Registered: Fri Feb 07 2003
Posts: 12
Loc: Chicago IllinoisUSA
I don't quite understand how a quiz question written in a language other than English and calling for an answer in that same language can be considered to be trivia. Many of these "translation" Q/As appear in daily and hourly team games. Some are in regular games. Other games have a question that must be translated from another language to arrive at the correct answer. They are just not fun to play and I do not learn anything from them. Just my opinion. -rich-

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#611939 - Sun Apr 03 2011 05:10 PM Re: Foreign language quiz questions
agony Offline

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Registered: Sat Mar 29 2003
Posts: 14801
Loc: Western Canada
To me, they are a lot like Brain Teasers or puzzles. I use the little I know of the language, and what I know of other languages from the same linguistic family, and try to figure it out. I find them quite a lot of fun, especially Bruyere's Absurd French quizzes.

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#611943 - Sun Apr 03 2011 05:29 PM Re: Foreign language quiz questions
spanishliz Offline
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Registered: Thu Dec 13 2001
Posts: 22154
Loc: Ontario Canada
I absolutely love Bruyere's absurd French quizzes!

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#611947 - Sun Apr 03 2011 05:58 PM Re: Foreign language quiz questions
shuehorn Offline
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Registered: Tue Jul 04 2006
Posts: 3613
Loc: Lawrenceville Georgia�USA�...
No, this is not another post by spanishliz, I just have the same icon. smile

Being a linguist, I love all trivia questions having to do with language. Even when I don't speak the language in question, I try to figure it out. Sometimes the distractors are hilarious. I usually find that these quizzes are well written and fun.
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#611951 - Sun Apr 03 2011 06:23 PM Re: Foreign language quiz questions
bloomsby Offline
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Registered: Sun Apr 29 2001
Posts: 4071
Loc: Norwich EnglandUK
It is not entirely clear - to me, anyway - whether the original post is questioning the point of "translation questions" in daily and hourly quizzes only, or completely.

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#611952 - Sun Apr 03 2011 06:32 PM Re: Foreign language quiz questions
looney_tunes Offline
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Registered: Tue Jan 20 2009
Posts: 5403
Loc: Briar Hill Victoria Australia
No matter where I run across them, I'll take them over questions about the college attended by a player I have never heard of in a sport that may or may not be identified because 'everyone knows' what sport he plays. I usually find them intersting to contemplate, although I may just guess in a timed game, and take the time to analyse it and learn from it after the clock has stopped.
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#611962 - Sun Apr 03 2011 07:05 PM Re: Foreign language quiz questions
George95 Offline
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Registered: Sat Apr 24 2010
Posts: 9856
Loc: Ontario Canada
I love the Absurd French questions. Quite possibly because I know a fair tad of French.

I don't mind questions that involve English, French, and Spanish. Outside of that it begins to get obscure.

In German the word is "I don't know", in Swahili it's "I don't care, what is it in Portuguese?



Edited by George95 (Sun Apr 03 2011 07:06 PM)

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#611970 - Sun Apr 03 2011 08:01 PM Re: Foreign language quiz questions
kyleisalive Online   FT-cool
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Registered: Mon Mar 07 2005
Posts: 7936
Loc: Toronto, Canada, eh!
I don't mind the French stuff because I know enough of it to be able to answer them. Just like the obscure Sports stuff, WWE questions, and cryptic clues, they have their audiences.
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#611976 - Sun Apr 03 2011 09:36 PM Re: Foreign language quiz questions
Lochalsh Offline
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Registered: Wed Jan 13 2010
Posts: 130
Loc: USA
I'm not good at science, and I'm even less adept at mathematics, but I face formulas and number problems here, and my knowledge of English helps me very little then. I am good at foreign languages, and I do understand that kind of symbolic expression. Aren't we open to it all, whether it's 2+2, NaCl, or--je ne sais quoi--a bit of savoir faire? As Kyle mentioned, there are audiences for a wide array of knowledge here, and I'd add that there are certain things we all should know, even if they're far outside our particular talents.

Case in point: I'd venture a guess that almost everyone knows what the Spanish word "cerveza" means. smile


Edited by Lochalsh (Sun Apr 03 2011 09:40 PM)

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#611977 - Sun Apr 03 2011 09:40 PM Re: Foreign language quiz questions
looney_tunes Offline
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Loc: Briar Hill Victoria Australia
Originally Posted By: Lochalsh
Case in point: everyone knows what the Spanish word "cerveza" means. smile


I didn't until I just looked it up. laugh
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#611978 - Sun Apr 03 2011 09:42 PM Re: Foreign language quiz questions
Lochalsh Offline
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Registered: Wed Jan 13 2010
Posts: 130
Loc: USA
While you were writing, I was correcting my post to "almost everyone." smile

You must have gone to a big high school that offered French and German. "Cerveza" is all a lot of students retain from their Spanish stint. smile


Edited by Lochalsh (Sun Apr 03 2011 09:45 PM)

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#612023 - Mon Apr 04 2011 02:32 AM Re: Foreign language quiz questions
stedman Offline
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Registered: Mon Nov 03 2003
Posts: 519
Loc: London EnglandUK
And don't forget that outside the USA, in countries without a big Spanish population, students may never have learnt any Spanish at school, because it was just not offered.

In my day, the only modern language on offer at my (non-private) English secondary school was French - although everyone had to do Latin for the first three years, and Greek was offered for "O" levels (the exams done at the age of 16).

Ah, those were the days (he said from his bath-chair!)


Edited by stedman (Mon Apr 04 2011 02:32 AM)
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#612024 - Mon Apr 04 2011 02:48 AM Re: Foreign language quiz questions
rossian Offline
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Registered: Sat Jun 10 2006
Posts: 3386
Loc: Merseyside UK
I'm in the non Spanish speaking group and also had to look up cerveza. Like Stedman, the only language available to me was French and I also learned Latin up to an including 'O' level. My daughter learned German and Latin, which was unusual for her age group. We both appreciate having had the opportunity to study Latin (now, not at the time) - it's extremely useful for working out the meanings of words we don't know.
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#612030 - Mon Apr 04 2011 05:32 AM Re: Foreign language quiz questions
looney_tunes Offline
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Registered: Tue Jan 20 2009
Posts: 5403
Loc: Briar Hill Victoria Australia
Go Latin! Latin classes remain my best source for being able to explain why something is grammatically incorrect. I could always tell you that a phrase or sentence sounded wrong, but couldn't explain why it was. Those Latin grammar classes gave me the necessary vocabulary! And learning scientific terms is greatly simplified if you know the words they drew on to create self-explanatory new terms. Here in Victoria, all high school students are expected to study a foreign language for years 7-10. The most common ones are French, Italian, German, Indonesian and Japanese. No Spanish within cooee.
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#612063 - Mon Apr 04 2011 10:52 AM Re: Foreign language quiz questions
tezza1551 Offline
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Registered: Tue Feb 05 2008
Posts: 439
Loc: WesternAustralia
Well said, Looney Tunes.
A similar situation exists in Western Australia, with Indigenous languages thrown into the mix on odd occasions.
I delivered workshops into four senior high schools (to year 12), three agricultural high schools (also to year 12) and 23 district high schools (to year 10) and not one of those taught a language outside of the group L_T mentioned.
I loved Latin & French, both of which I studied for 6 years, and achieved excellent results at Leaving (Matric) level. I don't think I know anyone who speaks any Spanish.
And my 9 year old grand daughter is in her second year of learning Italian - she began in Year 3.
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#612068 - Mon Apr 04 2011 11:22 AM Re: Foreign language quiz questions
Lochalsh Offline
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Registered: Wed Jan 13 2010
Posts: 130
Loc: USA
Perhaps I chose the wrong example with "cerveza," but my point was that there are certain words that ought to be within a reasonably well-educated person's ken, whether or not he or she has studied a certain language.

I'm all for Latin--I've taught it, as a matter of fact--and I think almost every student should have to study at least two years of it in adolescence or even earlier. The language improved my English vocabulary, and it set me on the path to Spanish, French, Italian, and Catalan, as well. I wasn't stumping for Spanish specifically, although I could, and especially here in the U.S. (And someone finds it useful: it's the second most-studied language in the world.)

We live in a multicultural world, and it behooves us to recognize a few words from languages that we've neither studied nor grown up with.

That's all, she wrote. smile





Edited by Lochalsh (Mon Apr 04 2011 11:25 AM)

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#612072 - Mon Apr 04 2011 11:50 AM Re: Foreign language quiz questions
reeshy Offline
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Registered: Tue Aug 11 2009
Posts: 741
Loc: Glasgow ScotlandUK
I agree that Latin should be mandatory at least at a basic level. My sister studies Classics, and helped me teach myself Latin - I'm glad I did it: as an Anatomy student, it's invaluable. People see big long gibberish names and I see the meaning immediately. As people have mentioned, it helps immensely with other languages too, not only English, but other Romance languages too. Now if we just get them to teach the kids Ancient Greek! That also helps with science a lot, and many English words are derived from Greek. smile

Lochalsh, I only know a little Spanish from what I taught myself at age 10, and I knew what "cerveza" meant, though I can guarantee it wasn't on the vocabulary list at 10 years old. :P
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#612074 - Mon Apr 04 2011 12:15 PM Re: Foreign language quiz questions
postcards2go Offline
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Registered: Thu Nov 20 2008
Posts: 1208
Loc: New York City USA
Originally Posted By: Lochalsh
We live in a multicultural world, and it behooves us to recognize a few words from languages that we've neither studied nor grown up with.


I agree completely. I am horrible with languages, but we live in a global society, and FT is a global site. While I don't do well with the language questions, it has never occurred to me to object to their inclusion.
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#612078 - Mon Apr 04 2011 12:28 PM Re: Foreign language quiz questions
Englizzie Offline
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Registered: Tue Oct 13 2009
Posts: 337
Loc: Tulsa OklahomaUSA
I am afraid that I may be a lone voice in my Team, regarding the use of forign language in quizzes. Having been educated privately in England in the 50s and 60s, French and Latin were de rigeur (forign word). In addition, if one was fortunate enough to be able to travel in Europe and elsewhere, one acquired as if by osmosis, smatterings of many other languages. Not to mention the many Swahili,Urdu,Hindi etc words that have crept into the British English language via the late British Empire.

I, too, adore Bruyere's absurd French. In an ever shrinking world, I am convinced that language should be the last thing that separates us. Even an inkling of understanding is an advantage. Don't play language quizzes if they hold no interest, but I am certain that with a little concentration something will be learned from every encounter with unfmiliar language.

Lizzie

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#612079 - Mon Apr 04 2011 12:46 PM Re: Foreign language quiz questions
kyleisalive Online   FT-cool
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Registered: Mon Mar 07 2005
Posts: 7936
Loc: Toronto, Canada, eh!
I ended up putting a lot of effort into an out-of-the-box Language quiz idea back in January which doesn't necessarily require complete knowledge of language (it also works if you know 'Star Wars' quotes). As I explained before, I think that there are always different 'obscure' topics out there that not everyone's going to know. The people on the site who speak French aren't going to decry the French questions because they can complete them while the same will be said with Spanish for Spanish questions, etc.

I don't think it's necessarily fair to wipe languages out of the hourlies, especially when language is such a dominant part of the world culture. English isn't the end-all by any means. If anything, perhaps these questions can be thought of as a launching point to learn some of the basics of these languages. I took seven years of Quebec French (many of which weren't mandatory) and I wouldn't take it back. If a quiz on Dutch spelling were to come up in the hourlies, I'd take a shot and go with it. If I get it wrong, so what? I get things I don't know wrong all the time, even in categories I'm particularly strong in. Just as if I were to get a question about 'Super Mario' wrong, I'd take the hit, learn a bit more about it, and build the knowledge so that I could get it right in the future.

If we get rid of languages, I'd vote we also get rid of questions about chemical nomenclature, animal and dinosaur names (using latin words), computer languages, musical theory, name meanings, and chat acronyms. All of these demonstrate how language influences the world and shapes our understanding of society and how it constructs what we do now in a modern context to comprehend almost everything. (Can you tell I'm writing literary theory papers this week?)

I particularly don't let peoples' birthdates, celebrity marriages, famous quotes (outside entertainment) and the wingspan of large birds 'sink in', but I'd consider it unfair to omit them from the games, especially when I know there are people out there who hold those things in high regard.

I also happen to enjoy Bruyere's 'Absurd French' quizzes a lot.


Edited by kyleisalive (Mon Apr 04 2011 02:44 PM)
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#612085 - Mon Apr 04 2011 01:41 PM Re: Foreign language quiz questions
darthrevan89 Offline
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Registered: Tue May 13 2008
Posts: 760
Loc: Texas USA
What I have an issue with in hourlies is the length of some of the foreign language answers. I am very unilingual, but sometimes I can pick out the right answer by deduction or from having seen it before. In timed games, this is a lengthy process that can be a problem. Honestly, the same goes for any long answers in timed games, especially ones with minimal differences. I know I've said that MADD stood for "Mothers Against Drunk Diving" in a time crunch, and that one isn't even very long! laugh

I have no problem with foreign language quizzes on the site and questions with short answers in hourlies. But I'd suggest that some of the quiz questions with sentence-length answers could be sorted out of the mix.

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#612089 - Mon Apr 04 2011 02:24 PM Re: Foreign language quiz questions
Anton Offline
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Registered: Sat May 03 2008
Posts: 926
Loc: California USA
Originally Posted By: kyleisalive
If a quiz on Dutch spelling were to come up in the hourlies, I'd take a shot and go with it. If I get it wrong, so what? I get things I don't know wrong all the time, even in categories I'm particularly strong in. Just as if I were to get a question about 'Super Mario' wrong, I'd take the hit, learn a bit more about it, and build the knowledge so that I could get it right in the future.


This, ladies and gentlemen, is true trivia. Kyle, I like the way you think.

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#612106 - Mon Apr 04 2011 02:58 PM Re: Foreign language quiz questions
shuehorn Offline
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Registered: Tue Jul 04 2006
Posts: 3613
Loc: Lawrenceville Georgia�USA�...
The problem with long questions goes across topic lines. Many of the literature questions in hourlies are long, and the ones on numbers can be awfully long. I'd love to see some type of limit to the length of questions used in the hourlies, but I'm not sure it's feasible.
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#612141 - Mon Apr 04 2011 05:23 PM Re: Foreign language quiz questions
agony Offline

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Registered: Sat Mar 29 2003
Posts: 14801
Loc: Western Canada
I'm sorry, but I really don't understand the issue. Why are Language questions not acceptable, but other questions are? What makes languages different from other types of knowledge? Rich, Fred, I'd really appreciate an answer that addresses what you think the problem is, because a statement like "this isn't trivia" doesn't really mean anything.

What is it, about a Language question, that makes it different from a Sports or History question, to you? To me, they all seem the same - I either know the answer, or can puzzle it out, or I don't.

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#612178 - Mon Apr 04 2011 09:46 PM Re: Foreign language quiz questions
Bruyere Offline
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Registered: Sat Feb 10 2001
Posts: 18792
Loc: California USA
I'm a little reluctant to enter this because I probably am the author of the most language quizzes at the moment who is around. We've had our share of debates about world languages and their right to exist on a trivia site. We modified a lot of the rules and many of the quizzes show that evolution over time. Some of my series are appearing from time to time before the complete evolution. They have all been subjected to comments by native and non native speakers.

Here's a question for you though. If you had a choice between let's say, US official state birds or reptiles or something that probably only a resident of those states would know,if at that, and it's not taught in English speaking schools around the world, and one of the French quizzes that has a basic formula of finding the version that has the two or three rather common vocabulary words.
I would think people would prefer languages that are used and taught around the world rather than a one time sporting event for a sport only played in one country.

If I get a question about a sport which I know nothing, I just guess quickly.
Another reason the language questions appear on some of the quizzes is that they're rated average difficulty for the most part. The questions you're getting have been rated average or easy by many many players because they are made to be very fair.

Though I understand it's frustrating to get one that you really don't know, it's easy to detect rather than something you think you know, and you waste time on.
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