The language Gymkhana is an activity consisting of asking questions about language diversity.
It began as way of informing youngsters about language diversity. Its versatility turned it into an effective tool to make the languages of immigrants known and has been used for both purposes.
It can be adapted to all levels of education and ages. The duration is also very flexible: it can last from a one-hour class to a whole academic year. The questions are of the multiple-choice (4 choices) answer type and the distractors also play an essential role.
Here is an example of a question geared towards sixth form students: Which of the following languages is related to Catalan? a) Arabic, b) Hungarian, c) Nepalese, d) Turkish. The correct answer is c) Nepalese, because like Catalan it is an Indo-European language; Arabic is the most common answer because it has had a lot of contact with Catalan (but does not share the same roots); and Hungarian because it is a European language (but it belongs to the Altaic family).
Another question for students in statutory secondary education was this one: What language does the word ketchup come from? a) Chinese, b) Spanish, C) English, d) Nahuatl. The correct answer is a) Chinese, the most common answer being English.
For primary school pupils: How do you say "thank you" in German? a) Danke, b) Gracias, c) Gràcies, d) Merci. In this case, the pupils can use their knowledge of languages to come up with the correct answer.
For the general public: Where is Kashubian spoken? a) India, b) Italy, c) Poland, d) Siberia. The correct answer is c) Poland, although the most usual answers are India and Siberia; people know it is not an Italian language but they do not tend to think that it is a European language. The contestants gather points for every correct answer and the winner is the one with the most points.