Geo answer

The World
Today's Geo Quiz is a rewind edition: We're backing up to revisit yesterday's Geo Quiz - that's why the music is going backwards. You may recall that we asked listeners to name all the four lettered countries in the world. And we revealed the answer - there are ten. Scattered from South America to the South Pacific. In fact, we've featured two of them in today's show already: Iran and Cuba. But wait there are more. In fact, you may know others - IF you know a foreign language. Here's a hint: Think Gaelic or Irish, or a South Pacific tongue... We're rewinding back to yesterday Geo Quiz. We asked you to name all the 4-Letter countries in the world. As the World's David Leveille reports, the list is growing: The Four Letter Countries: The Zany Adventures of the Alphabet Traveller is the title of a travel book by David Jenkins. He traveled to all 10 of them all so he was happy to chime in with the answer: ?Peru and Cuba in the Americas, Mali, Chad, and Togo in Africa, Oman, Iran, and Iraq in the Middle East, Laos in South East Asia and finally Fiji in the Pacific. ? So that's the list of ten 4-letter full-fledged, independent countries. Missing are Guam, a U-S territory, and the island of Nieu, a New Zealand dependency. But we've received some interesting suggestions...including one from a listener near Boston who emailed us to say "Shame on you! You forgot about Ireland!" In other words, Éire, just four letters, E-I-R-E, is the Irish name for the island of Ireland. I checked that with Tom-s Ó Cathasaigh. He's professor of Irish Studies at Harvard University. ?Éire is indeed 4 letters alright, and that's the form used for example on the stamps you know so that if you get a stamp from Ireland you'll see the 4-letter name for the country so that is the official name in Irish for the country.? Ó Cathasaigh adds that the Gaelic word for Scotland is Aliba ...spelled A-L-B-A. But that's the extent of my Scottish Gaelic. We also heard from Amber Johnson who listens to The World in Chicago: ?Well most English speakers would say that Tonga is a five letter word, but if you speak the language of Tongan then you know that ng is actually one letter (the ng is pronounced softly....it's closer to singer than finger) making the country a four letter word.? So it's stretching the rules a bit but we'll add the South Pacific nation of Tonga to our unofficial 4-letter country list. By the way, Johnson says she learned Tongan as a Peace Corps volunteer there. In addition to teaching computer skills, and promoting environmental awareness, she found time to learn some useful Tongan phrases like: ? (says phrase in Tongan) and it basically means if you are going to the islands of Kappa, you better be aware that the monsters will get you.? Who knows? Maybe the expression could come in handy at some point. Johnson also tried her hand at learning the traditional dances of Tonga. "200 years ago Tongans were known as fierce warriors, in fact at one point they ruled large portions of the south Pacific...and one of the ways they did intimidate their rivals was through war dances, and then they would come home to celebrate and tell of their victories, and they would use these dances and chants that involved a lot of pounding the chest, it's a lot like the Maori Haka dance, to inspire them as they headed into battle so its transferred now to more peaceful sports like rugby." And you may recall an earlier Geo Quiz featured some Tongan-American football players from Euless, TX doing their version of the Ka Mate Haka. So we'll end this rewind edition with the sound of their pre-game warm-up. Enjoy.