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  • Writer's picture Kester Eddy

A River, a Bridge and a Cityscape on a Grey, Wintry-ish Day

GuesterTester 26 - This is Central/South Eastern Europe - but where?

A slightly different Tester this week, because it's not one of my pics. Site member - (indeed famed former KesterTester winner! :) ) John Cantwell asked if he could offer a piccie or two for the competition. This was the first one he sent, and I thought it was perfect.

So, here we have the first ever GuesterTester - heh heh - but where is it? Well, I didn't exactly recognise it, but I guessed correctly. So I proudly sent my entry to the Competition Committee, but was immediately and sharply rebuked for trying to transgress the rules, which strictly ban any officer connected with the competition from entering. Damned cheek - I can't even win my own competition? What is the world coming to?

Anyway over to you to send a site message or email me your guess for the location shown here. I don't think you need any more clues, other than it somewhere between Tallinn and Tirana. (Only hey, if you live in the place, you can write in, but you are ineligible, as it's not a challenge. ) John didn't say, but it looks like a February or early March day to me. I'll quiz him before we let you know the answer and lucky, lucky winner in the next KesterTester.

Meanwhile, what about KT25? What is Hungary's Third Most Popular Foreign Language?

I got a slew of very logical and sensible guesses, with the most popular being Russian, along with Spanish, Italian and Chinese/Mandarin. Slightly surprising (to me), I don't think anyone offered French, which was my guess.

I feel pretty good about that, because last year, French WAS third. But, last year was not a 'normal' year because of the Covid pandemic, of course, and a couple of sudden government decisions to boot which interfered in what languages students chose and sat for exams.

So, what's the answer? Arabic? Latin? (Nobody offered those languages.) Well, according to Zoltán Rozgonyi, MD of Euroexam and Chairman of Nyelvtudásért, an association of language teaching and testing professionals, the surprise is that it is .... Esperanto!

That is after studying the statistics over 15 years. I checked back to 2019, and indeed, Esperanto was the third most-sat foreign language exam set that year.

Now, nobody has ever come up to me in the street and asked: "Excuse me, do you speak Esperanto, and if so, could you tell me the way to the nearest post office?" And I suspect it's not happened to you either. So why is Esperanto the third most popular exam?

Heh heh heh. Well, I give the answer in the Budapest Business Journal that hits the stands today, which has several pieces on language schools and education. I can't really undercut the hand that pays me, so I'll hold off until it comes out online in a fortnight.

So, I think for the first time ever, I managed to win the KesterTester. Well, half a Tester, because there were two questions, and only about one person answered both. And he hadn't read the question properly. Yes, the exam that most people fail is English, but that's because an overwhelming 2/3 of all candidates take English. Of those, 29% failed last year. That meant the pass rate, 71%, was better than German, which was 65%.

But, the question was: What is the language exam that, as a proportion of total candidates, most people fail? (But there has to be a decent base, say a minimum of 20 candidates. If two people took Cantonese and both failed, that's 100% failure rate - but it doesn't really make much sense using that example.)

Because of my soft, soft heart, I will wait another week for your guesses. But if you buy the latest BBJ you can't enter, because the answer is in there!

The good news about last week was nobody cheated and googled for it.

Have a good, safe weekend!

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