The New York Times has a fascinating ten-question quiz that requires one to guess which of a pair of names in the Huambisa language of Peru is the name of a bird (the other name is always the name of a fish). You can listen to the names, which helps a great deal. I was pleasantly surprised to get nine out of ten correct. Can you do any better?
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I got 10 out of 10, and I’m still horribly confused as to why. One of those fascinating intractable things about human language, I guess.
I wonder if a speaker of Huambisa would do nearly as well with English fish and bird names? And if birders are just better at this than the general public (the average in the study was 58%). Please, more birders, try the quiz and let us know how you did!
10 of 10 Just looked for certain sounds/letter combos.
I doubt very much that any non speaking English person would do
as well on English/American named birds.
Also wonder if the 10 names used were picked for any reason(by the quiz assembler)??
I only got 8 of 10, but I tried to use some language skill combined with bird sounds. The linguistic attempts backfired both times.
Incidentally, my brother (also a birder) got 8 of 10. Still waiting on results from my nonbirder-linguist friend.
I got 10/10. I assumed (for no good reason) that the bird names would be echoic and chose accordingly. I wonder whether they really are echoic or I was just lucky.
Got 8/10. Just found your site and really like the pictures of the birds. Thanks.