This set of pages was inspired by a visit to McDonald’s in May 2004. Along with our son’s Happy Meal, we got a small playstation-type game where you have to help a monkey catch bananas as they fall from the sky. I was amused to note that the instructions came in no fewer than 34 languages, spoken in and around Europe . It occurred to me that even without speaking a word of some of these languages, it is possible to work out what they are from their unique spelling peculiarities, and as we munched away I scribbled down my guesses.
Then I thought, why not see if other people find this an interesting process? So I’ve drawn up this interactive quiz – no scores, just the intellectual challenge at each stage of knowing how many guesses it took you to get the right answer.
In my hubris I thought I’d ace it, but it turned out I have a hard time distinguishing among the Scandinavian languages (despite my half-Norwegian bloodline). So it’s been a learning experience for me, and I hope it will be for you. Avanti! (Via Crooked Timber.)