Quizbowl in Foreign Languages?

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Quizbowl in Foreign Languages?

Post by yeah viv talk nah » Sun Mar 15, 2015 11:52 am

Hi all, I was just studying for French the other day, and the thought of quizbowl in foreign languages came to my mind.

I think it would be a nice way of outreach if there were tournaments with packets in in major foreign languages such as French and Spanish that could be held internationally at sites like IHBB, although I think it would require a change in question style from English quizbowl. Does anyone else have thoughts on this idea?
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Re: Quizbowl in Foreign Languages?

Post by Lo, a momentary rabbit-stage » Sun Mar 15, 2015 2:42 pm

I'm not sure about the viability of different-language quizbowl as a whole - it seems plausible, but it would be really hard to find people who are both qualified to accurately translate packets and understand that direct translations would lead to some instances of transparent questions due to non-English phenomenons like gendered adjectives, inverted noun - adjective order, etc - not to mention the fact that the distribution in English-speaking states is probably different in many ways than the academic focus of other countries (for instance, there might be far less of a stress on american literature and more on the literature of whatever country is involved).

Introducing different-language quizbowl also presents some logistical problems in areas where people aren't entirely homogenous in their knowledge and fluency of Language A or Language B. Many parts of foreign countries use English more than they do their native tongues, or learn with English and speak at home in their native language.

As much as I'd like to see Quizbowl expand more into countries that don't speak English primarily, it's a situation that would probably have to be driven by demand for non-English questions in those regions. Ultimately, I can't see a group writing a set decide to translate and alter their set into a different language to have one more mirror in Mexico. This undertaking is almost certainly impractical for any housewrites / packet subs, and while it is perhaps possible that one of the big quizbowl question-producing organizations could translate their sets, they would probably need to see significant demand for a non-English quizbowl circuit to go through the effort.
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Re: Quizbowl in Foreign Languages?

Post by Great Bustard » Wed Mar 18, 2015 12:13 pm

Genau dies werden wir sicher bald organisieren; ich schaetze mit einem Start in 2017 oder so. Ich kann sicher Fragen ins Deutsch uebersetzen, sowie meine Ehefrau fuer Franzoesisch. Wir koennen dann auch irgendwelche Leute um die ganze Welt zwecks andere Fremdsprachen finden. Bzw. - ich habe gerade ein tolles Pokalgeschaeft hier in Wien heute Nachmittag gefunden - das wird sicher auch das Organisieren von unsere Quizturniere in Europa erleichtern.
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Re: Quizbowl in Foreign Languages?

Post by Adventure Temple Trail » Wed Mar 18, 2015 2:24 pm

I would be happy to see this start to happen. That said, it probably can't be an immediate priority. I think it would require the first batch of translators to be very familiar with the game of quizbowl, how questions are supposed to sound/be written, how issues like word order and syntax affect clue pyramidality differently in languages other than English, what to do with original-language title drops, etc. It's hard for me to imagine who those people are in the community we have at present, especially since this would be a very time-consuming process for any given question set (perhaps so much so that it'd be better to rewrite the tossups idiomatically rather than try to go clue-for-clue) and there's enough English-language quizbowl to be written and edited that it'd be difficult to lose anybody to this task.
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Re: Quizbowl in Foreign Languages?

Post by vinteuil » Wed Mar 18, 2015 2:26 pm

Matthew Jackson wrote:I would be happy to see this start to happen. That said, it probably can't be an immediate priority. I think it would require the first batch of translators to be very familiar with the game of quizbowl, how questions are supposed to sound/be written, how issues like word order and syntax affect clue pyramidality differently in languages other than English, what to do with original-language title drops, etc. It's hard for me to imagine who those people are in the community we have at present, especially since this would be a very time-consuming process for any given question set (perhaps so much so that it'd be better to rewrite the tossups idiomatically rather than try to go clue-for-clue) and there's enough English-language quizbowl to be written and edited that it'd be difficult to lose anybody to this task.
Not only that, but I can imagine that restrictions on/rules about extracurriculars in Europe might get in the way.

In any case, the distribution would have to be very different (especially literature! but also history), to the point where it would be impossible to just translate English-language packets.
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Re: Quizbowl in Foreign Languages?

Post by Milhouse » Wed Mar 18, 2015 2:52 pm

Great Bustard, based off of Google Translate and guesses on my part wrote:This is exactly what we will certainly organize soon; I guess with a start in 2017 or so. I can certainly translate questions into German, as well as my wife for French. We can then also find some people around the world in for other foreign languages. And I just found a great trophy shop here in Vienna this afternoon, which will certainly facilitate the organization of our quiz tournaments in Europe.
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Re: Quizbowl in Foreign Languages?

Post by Marble-faced Bristle Tyrant » Wed Mar 18, 2015 3:35 pm

I'm kinda disappointed to find that Dave Madden's post wasn't a German tossup like I initially thought.
vinteuil wrote: Not only that, but I can imagine that restrictions on/rules about extracurriculars in Europe might get in the way.
What would those be?
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Re: Quizbowl in Foreign Languages?

Post by vinteuil » Wed Mar 18, 2015 3:38 pm

Marble-faced Bristle Tyrant wrote:I'm kinda disappointed to find that Dave Madden's post wasn't a German tossup like I initially thought.
vinteuil wrote: Not only that, but I can imagine that restrictions on/rules about extracurriculars in Europe might get in the way.
What would those be?
Sorry, I meant that I think I remember there being a limit to the scope of extracurriculars in French and German schools, and I thought I remembered part of this being mandated by the schools themselves. I'll see if I can come up with specifics later.
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Re: Quizbowl in Foreign Languages?

Post by alexdz » Wed Mar 18, 2015 3:48 pm

Not that ASL is a foreign language per-se, but I remember there being some discussions in the past regarding deaf participation in quizbowl. Back then, applications were not readily available for one-word-at-a-time display... but now there are things like Spritz and Spreeder.

So, to go along with the foreign language discussion, has anyone tried to use these tools for quiz bowl purposes?
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Re: Quizbowl in Foreign Languages?

Post by Excelsior (smack) » Wed Mar 18, 2015 8:58 pm

I can't imagine that translating English quizbowl packets to foreign languages would be a very worthwhile endeavor. It'd probably work for some culture-neutral categories - large parts of science, some of the harder social sciences, maybe geography. But I would think that other categories would have to be heavily rewritten, or scrapped altogether at worst, depending on which language you're translating to.

Maybe it wouldn't be so bad if you're writing for an audience that shares much of the American cultural milieu (Western Europe or thereabouts), but even so, lots of things would probably have to be rewritten to maintain pyramidality and good clue gradation. What the average German high school student knows about George Washington and what the average US high school student knows about George Washington are probably pretty divergent.

If, on the other hand, we're talking about something more radical, like writing questions in Hindi (not the best example, given the prevalence of English-medium education in India, but bear with me), you _will_ have to scrap probably 80% of literature, half of history, retool religion to be much less Judeo-Christian and mythology to be much less European, probably do away with the philosophy distro altogether, and refocus the fine arts substantially. All told, you'll maybe be able to carry 30%ish of a packet (Scientific Wild-Donkey Guess™) through the translation process relatively unscathed. The rest you'd have to write fresh.

Not that writing questions to replace those lost is by any means impossible, but if you start having to write new material for these foreign-language packets, the question arises of who is qualified to do that. Quizbowl as a whole has historically been relatively bad at knowing what US high schoolers know - quizbowl has only reached its modern state of relatively good high school questions through a decade+ of refinement by people who went through the system themselves. General principles of good quizbowl writing do carry over to other languages and cultures, but specific content-based principles don't, really, which means that any foreign-language quizbowl effort has to retread the past however-many years of US quizbowl, and probably do it with a smaller pool of competent writers than we have available here in the US.

So basically, I guess I'm saying that we shouldn't be over-optimistic about the prospects of foreign-language quizbowl. 2017 sounds awfully optimistic to me, even if we do restrict to history-only questions for play in Western Europe, though I'll admit I haven't been paying close attention to Dave Madden's adventures abroad.
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Re: Quizbowl in Foreign Languages?

Post by 1.82 » Wed Mar 18, 2015 11:55 pm

Excelsior (smack) wrote:If, on the other hand, we're talking about something more radical, like writing questions in Hindi (not the best example, given the prevalence of English-medium education in India, but bear with me), you _will_ have to scrap probably 80% of literature, half of history, retool religion to be much less Judeo-Christian and mythology to be much less European, probably do away with the philosophy distro altogether, and refocus the fine arts substantially. All told, you'll maybe be able to carry 30%ish of a packet (Scientific Wild-Donkey Guess™) through the translation process relatively unscathed. The rest you'd have to write fresh.
You say this isn't a good idea, and it might not be, but it's an example I'm comfortable talking about, so we'll go with it. Given the sort of education modeled on the English system that any Indian of the demographic we might expect to be playing quizbowl will have, I'm not convinced there's all that much that needs to be done. Obviously there would have to be some jiggering with history subdistributions and Indian religious questions would have to be made harder, but it's not clear to me why an Indian student wouldn't be exposed to the same sort of literature and the same sort of art and the same sort of Greco-Roman mythology as an American student. Colonialism, for whatever else it may have done, has led to a situation in which the Western classical tradition is the whole world's classical tradition. Obviously depending on the country you would have to translate it to Spanish or French or Portuguese or the like, and obviously there's the question to be raised about whether quizbowl ought to reflect such an ethnocentric conception of learning, but if the aim is to test what students actually learn it seems to me that it would be broadly similar everywhere (with the probable exception of East Asia, whose languages have other translation issues besides).
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Re: Quizbowl in Foreign Languages?

Post by Great Bustard » Thu Mar 19, 2015 3:24 am

In all seriousness, I don't think that quizbowl in foreign languages is as difficult a prospect, per se, as some people are making it out to be. Coming up with a distribution that works internationally requires some thought (and study guides so people know what could possibly come up), but the game itself has universal appeal, and lots of the distribution / content issues are things we're already facing and dealing with successfully in IHBB. The main issue here, as always, is going to be one of outreach. There certainly is some truth to the point that extracurriculars in general are not as widespread in Europe as they are in North America (the same is likely true of most countries in Asia, aside from international schools), but it's not that they don't exist at all. This (i.e. history bowl in foreign languages specifically) can work - we'll probably just start it on a very small scale with bilingual schools already playing IHBB and go from there. Not a huge priority at the moment, but writing 4-5 packets to use in afterschool events in France or Germany/Austria/Switzerland would be a good thing for us to try not next year (already have lots to do there) but for the year after.
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Re: Quizbowl in Foreign Languages?

Post by Kyle » Thu Mar 19, 2015 2:09 pm

The game that approximates quizbowl in Morocco is in French. There's a fairly competitive group of universities that compete. I never actually watched a real game -- I just attended the tail end of some sort of team selection event. I was in touch briefly with the people who ran it about the possibility of bringing down four people from Oxford who were fluent in French to play against a few Moroccan universities. That was two years ago, and it never quite happened. I have been meaning to try again to set this up. I think it would be easier because there are more Francophone quizbowlers in Oxford now than there were two years ago.
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Re: Quizbowl in Foreign Languages?

Post by cruzeiro » Thu Mar 19, 2015 6:21 pm

Kyle wrote:The game that approximates quizbowl in Morocco is in French. There's a fairly competitive group of universities that compete. I never actually watched a real game -- I just attended the tail end of some sort of team selection event. I was in touch briefly with the people who ran it about the possibility of bringing down four people from Oxford who were fluent in French to play against a few Moroccan universities. That was two years ago, and it never quite happened. I have been meaning to try again to set this up. I think it would be easier because there are more Francophone quizbowlers in Oxford now than there were two years ago.
The local ("bad quizbowl") high school Canadian format, Reach for the Top, has a French version that is played in Québec called Génies en herbe.

In university at least some subjects hold an annual subject games (for instance, "jeux de science politique", political science games), some of which include a trivia component in French. Since uOttawa is English/French bilingual as an institution, we attend some of these games - I played trivia at the last two political science games, for example.
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Re: Quizbowl in Foreign Languages?

Post by Æthelred the Unready Steady Cook » Mon Mar 30, 2015 2:04 pm

I know that Quizbowl style quizzes exist in Japan at the moment. A lot of universities have Quiz Circles, as you can see from this link which also shows some for graduates.
http://www5.atwiki.jp/qqqnoq/pages/50.html. You can always use Nana maru san batsu as primary source material if in doubt.
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Re: Quizbowl in Foreign Languages?

Post by Angry Babies in Love » Mon Apr 13, 2015 12:55 pm

alexdz wrote:Not that ASL is a foreign language per-se, but I remember there being some discussions in the past regarding deaf participation in quizbowl. Back then, applications were not readily available for one-word-at-a-time display... but now there are things like Spritz and Spreeder.

So, to go along with the foreign language discussion, has anyone tried to use these tools for quiz bowl purposes?
Deaf quizbowl is actually a pretty big deal. Gallaudet runs a national high school tournament every year with teams from all around the country. I sat in on a Maryland School for the Deaf practice. It isn't pyramidal in any way, however.
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