Archive for Quizzes

Massive miswriting

"Can Chinese Write Their Own Language?" | ASIAN BOSS (7/19/18)

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Unknown language #11

Dan Waugh sent in the following photograph, which he had received from a colleague, who in turn had received it from another colleague who was wondering what is written on the tapestry (what they are referring to it as):

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Another use for Mandarin Phonetic Symbols

A couple of weeks ago, we asked:  "The end of the line for Mandarin Phonetic Symbols?" (3/12/18)

The general response to that post was no, not by a long shot.

Now, in addition to all the other things one can do with bopomofo, one can use it to confound PRC trolls, as described in this article in Chinese.

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Bilingual, biscriptal sign in Virginia

Sticker at a gas station near the Richmond airport, courtesy of Jonathan Smith:

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Ottoman Hebrew scroll

Or so it would seem, but the people who have looked at this scroll so far cannot make much sense of what's written on it.

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Unknown language #10

ProZ.com is a membership-based website that targets freelance translators.  They currently have posted a job for which they are seeking a qualified translator, but are uncertain of what language the source text is in.  On first sight, the sample text (see below) looks vaguely Turkic to me.  The person who posted the job notes:

We are trying to figure out this language. It was thought to be Turkish of which it is not familiar to native Turkish translators. It is thought to possibly be Turkish Tartar, Bulgarian, Georgian, Uzbek.

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Unknown language #9

Forwarded by Geoff Wade (sans Twitter comments):

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Unknown language #8

Michael Carasik, on behalf of NAPH (National Association of Professors of Hebrew), has forwarded to me a letter that was written to Oscar P. Schaub in the 1920s. Can anyone identify the script and/or translate it for him?

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He comfortable! He quickly dry!

A neighbor of mine, a respectable woman retired from medical practice, set a number of friends of hers a one-question quiz this week. The puzzle was to identify an item she recently purchased, based solely on what was stated on the tag attached to it. The tag said this (I reproduce it carefully, preserving the strange punctuation, line breaks, capitalization, and grammar, but replacing two searchable proper nouns by xxxxxxxx because they might provide clues):

ABOUT xxxxxxxx
He comfortable
He elastic
He quickly dry
He let you unfettered experience and indulgence. Please! Hurry up
No matter where you are. No matter what you do.
Let xxxxxxxx Change your life,
Become your friends, Partner,
Part of life

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Undeciphered inscriptions

In the 60s of the last century, six gold coins were unearthed at Jinshi, Hunan, China.  They are said by the local museum to be Indian coins struck by the Delhi Sultanate (1206-1526).  The obverse apparently carries the title and name of the ruler while the reverse is thought to be written in a form of Arabic script.  So far no one has been able to read the inscriptions on the reverse.  The museum is offering a reward of 10,000 yuan (US$1,531.36) to anyone who can read the inscriptions.

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Mystery message

Email from Diego Viana:

I am a Brazilian journalist and reader of the Language Log blog. I'm writing to you because the blog came immediately to my mind when a friend showed me a piece of paper she found in a recently bought jacket. It's written in an alphabet we don't know and, obviously, the first thing we thought was that it might be a message from over-exploited Asian workers. (It looks Asian, I guess…)

I'm sending you a picture of the note attached. Do you think one of the blog contributers might help?

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Farsi shekar ast

This is a quiz.  It's a short, pop quiz, but the post is going to be very long.

1. In what language is the title of this post written?

2. What does the title mean?

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Mystery Language

Can anyone determine what language this woman is speaking?

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