History of Riddles - PRE/INTERMEDIATE

Bia Aguiar
Quiz by Bia Aguiar, updated 10 months ago More Less
Bia Aguiar
Created by Bia Aguiar 10 months ago


Reading activity for the English Club

Resource summary

Question 1

Riddles – a small word that encompasses many different kinds of puzzles nowadays. But where [blank_start]does[blank_end] it come from? And for [blank_start]how long[blank_end] has mankind had it? Origin and Meaning of the Riddle The word ‘riddle’ describes a statement or question, [blank_start]which[blank_end] directly requires a concrete answer or presents a puzzle whose hidden meaning has [blank_start]to be[blank_end] deciphered. There are two kinds of riddles. First [blank_start]there is[blank_end] the enigma – a metaphorically expressed riddle – and second there is a conundrum – a very tricky problem [blank_start]usually[blank_end] including a pun in its question or answer. An example for a conundrum would be: “What is the difference between a jeweler and a jailer?” – “One sells watches and the other watches cells.” The word ‘riddle’ has the same origin [blank_start]as[blank_end] the word ‘read’. It is an Old English word which meant interpret or guess. It always revolves around the same meaning of ‘to understand/ interpret the symbols’.
  • does
  • how long
  • which
  • to be
  • there is
  • usually
  • as

Question 2

Ancient Riddles The [blank_start]oldest[blank_end] preserved riddle is from ancient Mesopotamia. Another Sumerian riddle asks the answerer to name a certain institution, [blank_start]maybe[blank_end] you can guess: “There is a house. One enters it blind and comes out seeing. What is it?” In the Near East the riddle [blank_start]also[blank_end] spread through classic ancient Greece. The philosopher Aristotle mentions a close relationship [blank_start]between[blank_end] the riddle and the metaphor: “Good riddles do, [blank_start]in general[blank_end], provide us with satisfactory metaphors; for metaphors imply riddles, and therefore a good riddle can furnish a good metaphor“. Ancient and medieval literature is [blank_start]full of[blank_end] riddles. They were used [blank_start]both[blank_end] to bring suspense to the text and to pass on cultural tradition. One example [blank_start]would[blank_end] be the double meanings hidden in the written words that composed the foundation of the knowledge of medieval scholars. In that sense, riddles also had an educational [blank_start]purpos[blank_end]e, because they were designed to approach their audience through one of the many meanings a single word could have in [blank_start]any[blank_end] given situation.
  • oldest
  • maybe
  • also
  • between
  • in general
  • full of
  • both
  • would
  • purpos
  • any

Question 3

Riddles in the Folk Tales of the Brothers Grimm In modern times a lot of medieval riddles [blank_start]were[blank_end] preserved in old folk tales, [blank_start]like[blank_end] in the collection of Children’s and Household Tales (1812) of the Brothers Grimm. The two German culture experts lovingly preserved [blank_start]over[blank_end] 200 tales in their books, [blank_start]which[blank_end] became extremely popular the world over. There is [blank_start]even[blank_end] a German fairy tale called The Riddle collected by Brothers Grimm [blank_start]where[blank_end] solving a riddle also leads [blank_start]to[blank_end] a royal marriage. So [blank_start]as[blank_end] we can see, riddles [blank_start]often[blank_end] served the same purpose in old folk tales: solving a riddle was rewarded with a prize and emphasized the wise and noble character of the story’s hero.
  • were
  • like
  • over
  • which
  • even
  • where
  • to
  • as
  • often

Question 4

Types of Riddles The riddle has stood the test of time and is [blank_start]still[blank_end] a popular medium for spending free time or sharpening mental abilities. Nowadays there are many kinds of word- or letter-based riddles [blank_start]next to[blank_end] the poetic ones. A short selection can be [blank_start]found[blank_end] here: Riddles as Poems or Prose: these riddles are small texts set in poetry or prose. Anagrams are a small kind of riddle. They usually [blank_start]consist of[blank_end] one word, but can also be extended to [blank_start]whole[blank_end] sentences. Their letters can be reordered to form [blank_start]another[blank_end] word or sentence. Thus anagram riddles hide a second meaning in themselves. A [blank_start]current[blank_end] example comes from the book and film series Harry Potter. In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets the name of early student TOM MARVOLO RIDDLE [blank_start]hides[blank_end] the real identity of the person within its letters: it can be rearranged to I AM LORD VOLDEMORT. Crosswords A very young type of riddle is the crossword, [blank_start]where[blank_end] questions and answers are arranged in grids. The answer words cross [blank_start]each other[blank_end], which is how it got its name. The first modern crossword puzzle was produced [blank_start]by[blank_end] Arthur Wynne in the New York World in 1913. One of [blank_start]them[blank_end] is the so-called cryptic crossword, [blank_start]which[blank_end] is especially famous in North America. These crosswords use cryptic clues, which do not reveal their real statement or question at [blank_start]first sight[blank_end]. You need to think [blank_start]outside the box[blank_end] to understand the hint with all [blank_start]its[blank_end] hidden meanings. Of course there are many other types of riddles nowadays.
  • still
  • next to
  • found
  • consist of
  • whole
  • another
  • current
  • hides
  • where
  • each other
  • by
  • them
  • which
  • first sight
  • outside the box
  • its
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