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Foreign Languages

Sep 4, 2013

The Great Language Game. What’s your score?

When you hear a foreign language, can you tell what it is? A Melbourne-based engineer and fellow language geek has developed the Great Language Game. It's quick and fun but rather hard! Have a go and let us know how clever you are.

wamut

AKA: Greg Dickson. Postdoc guy at University of Queensland with Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language. Somewhere there, also a community linguist (Katherine region, NT) specialising in Aboriginal languages.

When you hear a foreign language, can you tell what it is? A Melbourne-based engineer with a passion for languages has come up with a great little game to test just that. Just for the hell of it (apparently), Lars Yencken, has developed the Great Language Game and describes it as such:

The Great Language Game challenges you to distinguish between some sixty or so languages based on their sound alone. In each game you’re allowed three mistakes, which are kept for you to study at the end. If you’re feeling competitive, share your score with some friends and compete for some serious bragging rights.

The audio samples we use are snippets of news from SBS Australia, and reflect Australia’s rich migrant culture. Since people often migrate out of hardship, many of these languages should be common to international cities throughout the world. They might be spoken in a neighbourhood near you.

We had a go. It’s bloody hard (don’t expect to get to the end!) but it’s fun and interesting. Here’s how some of the Fully (sic) nerds fared:

Piers: Score: 700. Tripped up on: Latvian, Turkish and Swahili.
Adam: Score: 700. Tripped up on: Samoan, Burmese and confused Kannada with Gujarati.
Wamut:
Score: 650. Tripped up on: Samoan, Hungarian and Portuguese.
Lauren:
Score: 450. Tripped up on: Dinka, Maori and confused Russian with Portuguese.

Have a go (click here) and let us know how you did! You can also check out the games stats and see how you compare to everyone else. The game also kindly points you to Wikipedia articles about the languages you stuffed up on so you can learn more about them.

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4 comments

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4 thoughts on “The Great Language Game. What’s your score?

  1. Aidan Wilson

    Only just got around to doing this. I scored 750, and got tripped up by Polish, Amharic and Latvian, although I have to confess to a few of those being guesses!

  2. matt andrews

    Fun, and a great way to train the ear to globalise. Should be in schools!

    I got 1000 first time round – but I’ll be giving it another spin.

  3. Ian Holder

    Fun indeed! Only 600 for me: tripped up on Farsi, Maltese and Bangla.

  4. Bob the builder

    I got 1100. Tripped up on Urdu, Kurdish and (again!) Urdu.

    Great fun!