Quiz from Babel: Does Anyone Here Speak Tok Pisin?
(Photo: Karen Blumberg)
27 April 2010
What’s the Tok Pisin word for hot dog? How many words does a Celt have for cold? No idea! But, we do have the answers to nine other interesting questions – just not only the correct ones. Do you think you know languages? Then test your knowledge!
There are 6,900 languages spoken worldwide; 2,000 of them alone are spoken in Africa. Yet many languages will soon become extinct. For instance, only an average of ten individuals in Australia speak one of approximately 40 Aborigine languages. The blame for shrinking diversity is partly that of the educational systems in many countries. According to the statistics by Netzwerk Deutsch published in early March, the trend is growing to emphasize “world languages” such as English when national educational systems reduce the number of foreign languages taught in schools.
In addition to the growing motivation to only learn certain languages, the study reveals yet another change: today, contact with a foreign language begins in many places as early as preschool age. Studies show that it is far easier for children to learn a language than it is for adults. Targeted support at a young age opens up the pathway to multilingualism.
Only a few people know where languages originated and how they have changed over the centuries. Our quiz lets you take part in some of their knowledge. Here’s something you can impress your friends with when engaging in small talk:
Around the world, 121 million people speak German, making German one of the ten most-spoken languages on earth.