The Crazy Difficult Linguistics Question That 13-Year Olds Are Asked When Applying For Britain's Top Prep School

Eton is one of the oldest and most prestigious schools in the world. Started in 1440, it’s educated everybody from current Prime Minister David Cameron to Princes William in  Harry. 

It’s also spectacularly difficult to get into. Reddit user ViktorBir posted the examination for the King’s Scholarship to the Linguistics subreddit .

There are two main ways into Eton after a test and conditional acceptance at 11, via the significantly harder King’s Scholarship exam, and the Common Entrance. There are only 70 King’s Scholars at a time out of around 1300 total, 14 in each year, all of whom live together, get their own study/bedroom, and reduced fees. 

One of the questions is a fascinating and difficult linguistics problem, asking test takers to figure out the grammar and syntax of a totally invented invented language, then compose creative and complex sentences on their own.

It’s similar to tests given to those in the army who want to become signals interceptors, and at the International Linguistics Olympiad. 

Here’s the question. On its own, it’s pretty solvable. But keep in mind:

  • It’s one of four questions on the exam
  • It’s not the longest, or the hardest.
  • Candiates have an hour and a half to finish them all
  • It’s for 13 year olds.

Eton CollegeAnd now, here’s what Reddit commentators came up for the answers, and what we figured out with based on how they outlined the structure of the language: 

(A)

i) Waldan

ii) Had

iii) Bawaltin

iv) Sa

(B)

i) Razo

ii) Raza

iii) Razan

iv) Fawalo

v) Raza gan

vi) Makan gan

(C) 

i) I work in schools in London

ii) He will teach in the library

iii) You wrote and they ate

iv) The restaurants/eateries were in a stadium

(D)

Can have any number of answers, the more creative the better, despite the limited vocabulary. Take a shot in the comments. 

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