Linguistics Puzzles for Middle School
I stumbled on a Russian linguistics competition called The Russian Little Bear. Most of the puzzles are Russian-specific; but some of them can be translated. I concentrated on puzzles for grades six through nine and used Unicode for uncoding strange characters.
Problem 1. Here are some Latin words with their English translations:
- amo — I love
- amat — He loves
- invitor — I am invited
- invitaris — You are invited
- rogas — You ask
- rogatur — He is asked
Pick the line of words from A to E that best translates these phrases into Latin: You are loved, I ask, He invites.
- (A) amas, rogo, invitat;
- (B) amaris, rogo, invitat;
- (C) amaris, rogor, invitas;
- (D) amaris, rogat, invitatur;
- (E) amaris, rogo, invito.
Problem 2. The first astronauts from India (I), Hungary (H), France (F) and Germany (G) were Bertalan Farkas (1), Sigmund Jähn (2), Rakesh Sharma (3) and Jean-Loup Chrétien (4). Match the astronauts to the countries:
- (A) I2, H1, F4, G3;
- (B) I3, H1, F4, G2;
- (C) I3, H1, F2, G4;
- (D) I1, H4, F3, G2;
- (E) I3, H2, F4, G1.
Problem 3. You do not need to know Russian to solve this puzzle. It is enough to know the modern Russian alphabet: А, Б, В, Г, Д, Е, Ё, Ж, З, И, Й, К, Л, М, Н, О, П, Р, С, Т, У, Ф, Х, Ц, Ч, Ш, Щ, Ъ, Ы, Ь, Э, Ю. Before XVIII century, numbers in Russian were denoted by letters, for example: ТЛЕ — 335, РМД — 144, ФЛВ — 532.
How was 225 written in old Russian?
(A) ВВФ; (B) ВВЕ; (C) СКЕ; (D) СКФ; (E) ВНФ.
Problem 4. Here are several Turkish words and phrases with their English translations:
- ada — an isle
- adalar — isles
- iki tas — two cups
- adam — a man
- otuz adam — thirty men
- taslar — cups
Pick the line of words from A to E that best translates these phrases into Turkish: thirty isles, men?
- (A) otuz adalar, adamlar;
- (B) otuz ada, adam;
- (C) otuz adalar, adam;
- (D) otuz ada, adamlar;
- (E) ikilar ada, adamlar.
otuz znachit tridtsat’3 May 2009, 2:37 pm
Thank you very much for pointing out a mistake in the original puzzle. I fixed it and changed into thirty.3 May 2009, 5:47 pm
Turkish doesn’t have “twenty” “thirty” “forty” or “fifty” formed on a combination of something with “two” “three” “four” or “five.” Seems strange to me
2 – 20 = iki – yirmi
3 – 30 = (omitted, related to puzzle)
4 – 40 = dört – kırk
5 – 50 = beș – elli
But while I am having fun, “balance” in Turkish is “denge” – ring any bells?3 May 2009, 8:39 pm