Tags

, , , , , ,

I work in the Department of Religion at a big university.  Yesterday I came across the mid-term one of the faculty members is giving in his Religions of the East course, and the first page was all language questions!  This prof is serious about languages, he even has a handout called the Language Family Tree that he gives to all of his classes to help orient them as to how cultures relate and evolve across time.

So, if anyone gets nearly as excited as I do about comparative linguistics, here’s a little pop quiz!  Answers are at the very very bottom to discourage cheating.

1. The Sanskrit language belongs to the:
A) Indo-European family; B) Sino-Tibetan family; C) Ural-Altaic family;
D) Austro-Asiatic family

2. The Korean language belongs to the:
A) Indo-European family; B) Sino-Tibetan family; C) Ural-Altaic family;
D) Austro-Asiatic family

3. The Thai language belongs to the:
A) Indo-European family; B) Sino-Tibetan family; C) Ural-Altaic family;
D) Austro-Asiatic family

4. Which one of the following languages is NOT Indo-European?
A) French; B) Estonian; C) Bulgarian; D) Kurdish

5. Which one of the following languages is NOT Sino-Tibetan?
A) Burmese; B) Mandarin; C) Lao; D) Vietnamese

6. Which one of the following languages is NOT Ural-Altaic?
A) Manchu; B) Mongolian; C) Uzbek; D) Tajik

Extra credit:  The language in which the Buddha preached was a/an:
A) Indo-European language; B) Sino-Tibetan language; C) Austro-Asiatic language; D) Ural-Altaic language

How many did you get right?  I missed one of the main questions and to my eternal shame also got the bonus question wrong.  Please don’t tell my coworkers.  Leave a comment and tell me how you did!

(p.s. for any hardcore comparative linguists out there, yes there are some trick questions in here, especially the questions about Korean and Thai.  I didn’t write this quiz so I’m abdicating responsibility.)

Answers: 1. A; 2. C; 3. B; 4. B; 5. D; 6. D.; Bonus: A.

Here’s a really nice map from wikipedia; click through to see a larger version that includes links to all of the families if you’d like to explore more!