History Quiz: Languages

Guess the answers to these questions about languages throughout history.
Quiz by MaxStickies
Last updated: November 1, 2020
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First submittedJune 7, 2020
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1. Besides hieroglyphs and Demotic script (both Egyptian), which other script can be seen on the Rosetta Stone?
The writing on the stele is a decree that was issued in Memphis in 196 BC. Since the stele was created during the Ptolemaic dynasty, it needed to contain Greek as well as Egyptian script as there were many Greeks living in Egypt at the time.
2. Which of these was an official language of the Mughal Empire?
Persian was the dominant language of the empire, while Urdu was the language of ruling classes. Arabic was used for religious ceremonies and Chagatai Turkic was spoken on early in the empire. In addition to these four, various South Asian languages were spoken throughout the empire.
3. Frankish was what kind of language?
Specifically, it was a West Germanic language spoken by the Franks between the 4th and 8th centuries.
4. Which of these was a common language in the Sultanate of Zanzibar?
Arabic and English were also often spoken within the Sultanate.
5. Which of these was not an official language in either Assyria or Babylonia?
The Akkadian Empire was the first empire in Mesopotamia. The language, Akkadian, survived the empire and was subsequently spoken by the Assyrians and Babylonians. Later, Aramaic became a prestige language in the Neo-Assyrian Empire and was also used by the empire's scribes, a practise which was inherited by the Neo-Babylonian Empire. The other official language of both Assyria and Babylonia was Sumerian.
6. What is the name of the language that was spoken by the Aztecs?
Varieties of Nahuatl are still spoken today by around 1.7 million Nahua peoples, mostly in central Mexico. Miskito is spoken by the people of the same name, who live in northeastern Nicaragua and eastern Honduras, while the Aymara languages are spoken by the Aymara people, who live in the Andes in Bolivia, Chile and Peru.
7. How many languages could Sigmund Freud speak?
He was proficient in German, French, Italian, Spanish, English, Hebrew, Latin and Greek.
8. Which of these languages was created the most recently (location where each language originated is included in brackets)?
Rapa Nui (Easter Island)
Palawa kani (Tasmania)
Hiri Motu (Papua New Guinea)
Palawa kani is a constructed language that was completed in the 1990s, and is based on various Tasmanian languages which no longer have native speakers. Rapa Nui dates to some time before the first Europeans arrived at Easter Island, in the late 18th century, and while the name Hiri Motu (a language of Papua New Guinea) dates back to the 1970s the language itself is older.
9. Besides Old Khmer, which other language was often spoken throughout the Khmer Empire?
Sanskrit spread throughout Southeast Asia in the 1st millennium AD, and as such greatly influenced Khmer and other languages.
10. The Dresden Codex features which kind of script?
Mycenaean Greek
The reason why it is called the Dresden Codex is due to it being rediscovered in Dresden. It ended up there after the director of the Royal Library at Dresden bought the book from a private owner in Vienna in 1739. One historian, J. Eric S. Thompson, speculated that it arrived in Vienna after Hernán Cortés (while he was governor of Mexico) sent it as tribute to Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, who was living in Vienna at the time.
11. What is the name of the language that was spoken by the Kingdom of Aksum?
Ge'ez is a South Semitic language. Today, it is only used as the main liturgical language of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Church, Ethiopian Catholic Church, Eritrean Catholic Church and the Beta Israel Jewish community.
12. Which of these languages was the main language of the Kievan Rus'?
Old East Slavic
Old Norse
The modern languages of Russian, Belarusian, Ukrainian, Rusyn and Pomor all evolved from Old East Slavic. Old Norse was spoken in Scandinavia while Selonian was spoken by the Selonians, a tribe that existed in southeastern Latvia and northeastern Lithuania from the early 1st millennium AD until the 15th century. .
13. What was the official language of the Inca Empire?
While Quechua was already spoken by some of the people the Incas conquered, the Inca had their own dialect which they imposed on the conquered civilisations. Many of them, however, continued to speak their own dialects, while others who had spoken Aymara or other languages before also continued to do so.
14. What was the liturgical language of the Ottoman Empire?
Since the Ottoman Empire was Islamic, Arabic was used for prayers.
15. What is the name of the writing system used by the Minoans?
Linear A
Linear B
Linear C
Linear A was also the parent script of Linear B, which was used by the Mycenaeans Greeks.
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