Great Language Game Tests Your Ear For Foreign Languages

Any seasoned world traveler can tell the difference between Italian and Russian, but how about Tamil and Punjabi? Estonian vs. Slovenian? Do you even know where they speak Hausa?

Test your ear for foreign languages with the Great Language Game, compiled from audio samples of 80 languages (just a drop in the bucket compared to the six or seven thousand spoken in the world!) and presented as a multiple-choice quiz. Each correct answer gets you 50 points, the highest so far is 8600 points. The samples were collected from SBS Australia and Voices of America by Australian data scientist Lars Yencken. The easiest language is French, while the hardest to guess is Shona, a Bantu language native to Zimbabwe and Zambia.

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Word for the Travel Wise (12/05/06)

Zimbabwe wasn’t where I was planning to pull the word from today, but I stumbled upon one and noticed I’ve never selected from this part of Africa ever before. All this is a shame too as the year is almost over and this is the first time Zimbabwe gets a mention. I’m sure I’ve missed several other uncommon languages, but that doesn’t make it excusable. Tonight we embrace the Shona language.

Toady’s word is a Shona word used in Zimbabwe:

harare – the one who does not sleep

Harare is the capital city of Zimbabwe and Shona also known as ChiShona is the mother tongue of Zimbabwe. Spoken in Mozambique, Zambia, and Botswana as well, there are approximately 7,000,000 speakers. Travelers heading to Zimbabwe needn’t worry too much about knowing this particular language. With English holding the official status anyone should be able to get around comfortably or close to. If you wish to continue online start with this Shona English dictionary and then proceed to this Shona Language site. Wikipedia, like always, has good background detail on the history and people that speak the lang in Zimbabwe and surrounding countries.