Foreign Words


last update: 14 July 2020


What five-letter word means a stupid or silly woman in Mexican Spanish, a university canteen in German and in the English-speaking world an organisation founded in 1946 for people with high IQs?

The word ‘lusophone’ describes a speaker of the language of which country, now covering roughly the same area as the Roman province of Lusitania?

What is the English name for the musical sign known as
dièse in French, diesis in Italian, and sostenido in Spanish?
Three bonus questions on European languages:
(a) Branches of which large language family include Baltic, Slavonic and Celtic?
(b) Two languages of south-eastern Europe are ‘isolates’ within Indo-European, that is, they do not belong to any established branch. One is Albanian; which EU official language is the other?
(c) To which branch of the Indo-European family does English belong?


Three bonus questions on English words that have the same spelling but an entirely different pronunciation and meaning in a major Western European language:
(a) Which English word for ‘bodily suffering’ shares a spelling with a French noun denoting a staple food?
(b) A four-letter synonym for both ‘sort’ and ‘benevolent’ in English spells a common German noun meaning what?
(c) The Spanish word for the number ‘eleven’ and an English adverb meaning ‘a single time’ share the same four-letter spelling. What is it?

Three bonus questions on literary terms from German:
In each case, give the term that corresponds to the following definition:
(a) A novel that follows the development of the protagonist from childhood or adolescence into adulthood, often involving a painful search for identity.
(b) A celebratory publication, commonly a collection of writings published in honour of a scholar or other eminent person.
(c) The earliest version of a text, or of a composer’s original work; it often denotes a version that is lost and has to be reconstructed by textual criticism.


And finally we occasionally find a few quiz questions about
words in foreign languages, e.g. the type of words one might use on vacation.
Example:-
Cerveza means beer in which country? Answer - Spain