Posted on by Ulrike Rettig

Trivia Quizzes for Language Learning?

Invitation to take a QuizHave you ever thought that Trivia Quizzes could spice up your language learning? Indeed, when you're no longer a beginner, Trivia Quizzes can be a fun way to boost your language skills.

When our Boston-born sons were growing up, we often played the German equivalent of the board game "Trivial Pursuit" - all in German. In German, it was called "Spiel des Wissens" (Game of Knowledge).

For playing this board game, we used set phrases: "Du bist dran." (It's your turn.); "Welche Kategorie?" (Which category?), etc. Then the dice was rolled and the question was read aloud. We all had fun, learned something new, and they were clearly building their German skills.

Trivia games, in many languages, are now all over the internet. They are a huge language learning resource. Such trivia games are sometimes made for school children in their language or for companies as a brand recognition vehicle. And these don't provide translations.

But that means, playing such trivia quizzes will immerse you in your target language. You have to figure out the meaning of words from the context of the question and choose the right, or at least most probable, answer.

Why play trivia quizzes? A good response is that such quizzes challenge you to learn general knowledge about a subject, a specific culture, a country, or the world in general.

On the French site listed below (, it says: "Pour briller en société, il faut savoir argumenter sur tous les sujets. D’où l’importance d’acquérir une bonne culture générale". (To stand out in society, you need the ability to argue about many subjects. That's why it's important to acquire a good foundation in general knowledge.)

What Is Trivia?

A Wikipedia entry traces the word back to the Latin "trivia", plural of trivium (“place where three roads meet”). The term came to be used for any public place, and then for anything commonplace.

The Oxford dictionary defines the word "trivia" as "unimportant matters, details, or information; facts about many subjects that are used in a game to test people's knowledge".

At times the facts asked in a trivia game may be unimportant per se. For example, It may not be essential that you know through how many countries the Rhine flows. The answer is "six", and they are: Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Austria, Germany, France, Netherlands.

But, if this question gets you to look at a European map, and perhaps at some point plan a cruise on the Rhine or another European river, the game has had an impact.

Well-designed trivia games can challenge you to think about a wide range of range of subjects: history, geography, science, nature, film, music, literature, etc. And that's not all bad, right?

Playing trivia games in your own language can be hard enough. But when you play trivia quizzes designed for native speakers in another language, you'll find an extra challenge. You have to navigate the language. Plus, what's common knowledge for them may not be common knowledge for you. The bonus? You'll learn interesting things about that country's culture and add to your skills  - as the French put it - to "shine in society"  (“briller en société”).

Some Tips for Playing Trivia Quizzes

Choose the level (easy, medium, hard). If you're playing in a foreign language, kids' quizzes are not a bad place to start.

Choose the content (general culture, music, history, geography, etc.)

Some trivia games are timed. These you'll have to do as quickly as possible. But when you're done, you can usually go over the answers.

Write down some of the words you don't know, and look them up when you're done with the quiz. Then, go back and do the quiz again. It's a good way to recall and review some of the more difficult words and answers you weren't sure about.

A Sample of Trivia Quizzes

Some of the sites I looked at were a little disorganized, hard to navigate, or cluttered by too many disruptive ads. But there are plenty that work well for language learners.

Here are a few free Trivia site suggestions for languages we cover. We are planning to also add a few more Trivia Quizzes on Gamesforlanguage. You'll find the ones we have at the end of each paragraph below.

Bridge in Avignon, FranceFrench Trivia Quizzes is a website with free quizzes "for entertainment and education". You can choose among more than two dozen categories featuring "Actualités, Cuisine, Culture générale, Histoire, Geographie, Monde animal, Musique, Sports", etc.
A good quiz category to start with is "Culture générale".
[The site was created by Telemaque a French company that provides mobile solutions.]

Gamesforlanguage: French Language Game: Trivia Quiz.   French Language Game: Paris Quiz.

Cathedral Bell Tower in Seville, SpainSpanish Trivia Quizzes

¿Cuánto sabes sobre España? (How much do you know about Spain?) This is a 16-question quiz, with photos illustrating the questions.

Going to the bottom of the page, you'll also find quizzes about Soccer, Fashion, Spain's beaches, Nature, Spain's beaches, etc.

Note: All quizzes are free, and you can choose to play them in any of 10 other languages, including French, German, Italian, and English.
[The site is presented by The Portal Oficial de Turismo de España.]

Test de Cultura Española.  These are 30 general culture questions in Spanish about Spain you can try your hand at. You're told at the end which ones are right. (Click/Tap on "Comprobar") However, if you've made a mistake, you won't find out the correct answer there. You'll have to search it yourself.
[This quiz page was created by Enforex, a Spanish language institute.]

Gamesforlanguage: Spanish Language Game: Trivia Quiz.   Spanish Language Game: Madrid Quiz.

Bell Tower of Cathedral in Pisa, ItalyItalian Trivia Quizzes

La sai lunga is a free site with a large number of quizzes and tests to play online "to learn, have fun, and keep your mind active and agile".

The main quiz categories are: Geografia, Letteratura, Cultura generale, Scienze, and for each quiz you see the level: Facile (green), Media (orange), Difficile (red)

At the bottom of the page, you'll find "Il Quiz della settimana" and a few easy and hard quizzes.
[The site was created by a teacher in Italy as an educational resource for schools. You can find out more at]

Gamesforlanguage: Italian Language Game: Trivia QuizItalian Language Game: Rome Quiz.

Die Zeil, famous shoping streetGerman Trivia Quizzes

Fragespiel - Das Quiz im Internet. On this site, you'll find 40 quiz categories and many of those have questions about general knowledge. But there are also: States of the US, and various categories specifically relating to Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.

You can also play: Frage des Tages (Question of the day.)

The favorite game of all time is "Hauptstädte Europa Quiz". (Capitals of Europe Quiz).
[The quiz site was developed by BAWS Websolutions.]

Gamesforlanguage: German Language Game: 4 CitiesGerman Language Game: Heidelberg Quiz.

English Trivia Quizzes

All The Trivia. The site contains themed quizzes for children, teens, as well as adults "of all stripes". Categories include: Disney, General, Kids, Movies, Music, Sports, etc.

At the moment, the quizzes are in English only, but in the future Spanish quizzes may be added.

You can also print out a quiz sheet and play it online with family and friends.
[The website is provided by PB International, a global entertainment company.]

Clearly, most Trivia Quizzes in another language are not for beginners. You have to know at least some basic vocabulary to understand the questions.

But - if you're bored with your current language program, need more challenges, or just want to try out something new – Trivia Quizzes in your target language are a great way to add fun and substance to your learning.

Disclosure: We have no relationship with any of the sites or companies mentioned on this blog post, other than Games for Language.