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Quiz about A Linguistic Trip Through Europe
Quiz about A Linguistic Trip Through Europe

A Linguistic Trip Through Europe Quiz


As anyone who has travelled through Europe knows, the languages spoken there differ quite a lot. Here are ten questions about some modern European languages and their predecessors.

A multiple-choice quiz by akg1486. Estimated time: 6 mins.
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Author
akg1486
Time
6 mins
Type
Multiple Choice
Quiz #
319,145
Updated
Dec 03 21
# Qns
10
Difficulty
Tough
Avg Score
6 / 10
Plays
2848
Awards
Top 20% Quiz
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Question 1 of 10
1. The legacy of the Roman Empire lives on, hundreds of years after its demise. Many modern languages descend from Latin, the tongue of the Romans. Which of the following, which preserves some aspects of the case system, is generally considered the closest modern relative among the major European languages? Hint


Question 2 of 10
2. Some European languages are more obscure and secretive than others. One of the more enigmatic languages is Basque, spoken in regions of Spain and France. It is sometimes referred to as a "Neolithic language". What does that mean? Hint


Question 3 of 10
3. Sami is a combined term for different dialects spoken by the Lapps of Northern Europe. It is related to, among others, Finnish and Estonian. In which of the following countries would you be least likely to find native speakers of this language? Hint


Question 4 of 10
4. English is undoubtedly the lingua franca in the age of globalization. Some even say that its spread is a threat to other languages being invaded by it. Be that as it may, English itself is proof positive that the British Isles have been invaded many times: its vocabulary contains words with many different origins. From where was the everyday word "window" borrowed? Hint


Question 5 of 10
5. Some countries in Europe are long since multi-lingual. In some cases, such as in Belgium, language differences may become political and sensitive. In others, such as in Switzerland, the natives are happy enough to co-exist and many are bilingual. Which word would you expect a native of Berne, in the predominantly German-speaking part of Switzerland, to use to say "Thanks"? Hint


Question 6 of 10
6. Some number-words in French usually baffle foreigners, as they are based not on tens but on twenties: 80 is "quatre-vingts", literally "four-twenties". Which of the following languages employs a not-so-different scheme? Hint


Question 7 of 10
7. Due to colonization in earlier centuries, European languages have spread to many places outside the continent. Of these, it is estimated that English is the one with most native speakers. Which is the second most widespread European language, when counting native speakers world-wide? Hint


Question 8 of 10
8. Although very different from each other, most European languages are part of the large Indo-European family. Which of these languages from Eastern Europe is not? Hint


Question 9 of 10
9. How did linguists realize that many modern European languages were related and, they think, stem from Proto-Indo-European? A key clue was the observation that consonants change in a regular pattern as languages evolve. The German who first described this is today most well-known for other literature-related work he did together with his brother. What are the brothers famous as? Hint


Question 10 of 10
10. A modern-day Englishman could read a first edition of a play by Shakespeare (16th/17th century) with some difficulty, but have a very hard time to read Chaucer (14th century). The citizens of which Nordic country have no trouble reading original texts that are a thousand years old? Hint



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Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. The legacy of the Roman Empire lives on, hundreds of years after its demise. Many modern languages descend from Latin, the tongue of the Romans. Which of the following, which preserves some aspects of the case system, is generally considered the closest modern relative among the major European languages?

Answer: Romanian

Modern-day Romania, in Eastern Europe, can be said to be a linguistic island since most neighboring countries speak Slavonic languages. Romanian is also the offical language of Moldova, although there known as Moldovan. French and Spanish are also part of the same family, as are Italian and Portuguese. Latvian is not in the same family, even though the English name for it almost looks like Latin.
2. Some European languages are more obscure and secretive than others. One of the more enigmatic languages is Basque, spoken in regions of Spain and France. It is sometimes referred to as a "Neolithic language". What does that mean?

Answer: It is very, very old

"Neolithic" means "from the stone age". Basque is said to have been relatively unaffected by other languages since that time.
3. Sami is a combined term for different dialects spoken by the Lapps of Northern Europe. It is related to, among others, Finnish and Estonian. In which of the following countries would you be least likely to find native speakers of this language?

Answer: Estonia

In addition to the three other countries, Sami is also a minority language of Sweden.
4. English is undoubtedly the lingua franca in the age of globalization. Some even say that its spread is a threat to other languages being invaded by it. Be that as it may, English itself is proof positive that the British Isles have been invaded many times: its vocabulary contains words with many different origins. From where was the everyday word "window" borrowed?

Answer: Old Norse (Viking invasion)

Words are often introduced when there is a need for them: without houses with windows, there is no need for the word. Windows came along around the time of the Vikings, at least in northern Europe. The etymology of the word is "eye to (or of) the wind". Norwegian and Danish retain the term, but Swedish has since borrowed an originally Latin word via French and then German.
5. Some countries in Europe are long since multi-lingual. In some cases, such as in Belgium, language differences may become political and sensitive. In others, such as in Switzerland, the natives are happy enough to co-exist and many are bilingual. Which word would you expect a native of Berne, in the predominantly German-speaking part of Switzerland, to use to say "Thanks"?

Answer: Merci

Yes: a person from Berne, otherwise speaking in German, oftentimes uses the French word "Merci" instead of the German "Danke". Or even "Merci vielmal", where "vielmal" is German for "a lot". "Bedankt" is Dutch, a language not spoken in Switzerland. "Tück" does not mean anything at all; it's a word I made up.
6. Some number-words in French usually baffle foreigners, as they are based not on tens but on twenties: 80 is "quatre-vingts", literally "four-twenties". Which of the following languages employs a not-so-different scheme?

Answer: Danish

As an example, the word for 50 is "halvtres" which can be decoded as "three times twenty, but deduct half of twenty".
7. Due to colonization in earlier centuries, European languages have spread to many places outside the continent. Of these, it is estimated that English is the one with most native speakers. Which is the second most widespread European language, when counting native speakers world-wide?

Answer: Spanish

Spanish is the main language in most of Latin America, from Mexico in the north to Chile in the south, with Brazil being the most notable exception.
8. Although very different from each other, most European languages are part of the large Indo-European family. Which of these languages from Eastern Europe is not?

Answer: Hungarian

Polish and Czech are both Slavonic languages, and Lithuanian belongs to the Baltic group. Both these groups are Indo-European.
9. How did linguists realize that many modern European languages were related and, they think, stem from Proto-Indo-European? A key clue was the observation that consonants change in a regular pattern as languages evolve. The German who first described this is today most well-known for other literature-related work he did together with his brother. What are the brothers famous as?

Answer: Collectors of folklore and fairy tales

The name of the linguistic genius is Jacob Grimm, of the Brothers Grimm.
10. A modern-day Englishman could read a first edition of a play by Shakespeare (16th/17th century) with some difficulty, but have a very hard time to read Chaucer (14th century). The citizens of which Nordic country have no trouble reading original texts that are a thousand years old?

Answer: Iceland

Due to its relative isolation in the North Atlantic, Icelandic has not changed as much as its closest relatives in Scandinavia.
Source: Author akg1486

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