Because it’s Friday, I’m in the mood to play. For geeks like me, puzzles like those found at the Linguistic Society of American’s (LSA) site are a terrific diversion. They were designed for native English speakers. (There are linguistics puzzles in other languages at International Linguistics Olympiad.) If you like word games, try one of these linguistic puzzles with me.
Here are the directions from LSA:
No additional resources (dictionaries, etc.) are necessary to solve these puzzles. Some . . . are very challenging, but each one is solvable with no special knowledge or outside references. It often helps to use lots of scratch paper. Every language is unique, and every puzzle in this selection is unique. Therefore there is not a single approach to solving all of the puzzles. Just use common sense, logic and patience. Sometimes you will find that a particular hypothesis or line of reasoning does not work. In such cases, try again using a different approach. Perhaps some languages are written right-to-left, or the verb may come at the beginning, or the end, of the sentence. It is these kinds of discoveries that make doing such problems an exceptional learning experience.
The puzzle about the Chickasaw language was created by Tom Payne. It should convince any skeptic that all languages have a logical structure.
I’ll post answers in about a week. You know, after I figure them out.