Name the language

Here’s a recording in a mystery language.

Do you know or can you guess which language it’s in and where it’s spoken?

This entry was posted in Language, Puzzles.

20 Responses to Name the language

  1. AlexM says:

    Maltese ?

  2. pennifer says:

    Sounds vaguely like something Arabic or Persian or heck, even somewhat Slavic in places. Stabbing wildly in the dark – Albanian?

  3. LandTortoise says:

    Because it’s topical I’ll guess Farsi.

  4. SnowLeopard says:

    Farsi or a close relative?

  5. James C. says:

    I heard an /ħ/ or two in there, as well as many /χ/ and /x/; the former excludes Farsi unless it’s quoted Arabic in Farsi. No pharyngealized consonants like /Cˤ/, nor ejectives /Cʼ/, which rules out Arabic and most other Semitic languages. Indeed, no voiced /ʕ/ despite the voiceless pharyngeal fricative /ħ/, which rules out many other Semitic languages. No /ʁ/ which excludes Israeli Hebrew.

    I’m going to agree with AlexM and say it’s Maltese. It could be some Afro-Asiatic language I’ve never heard of before, but Maltese seems like a safe bet.

  6. Trond Engen says:

    I too want it to be Afro-Asiatic. I can’t compete with the kind of phonetic analysis above, but I’ve made some simple and probably wrong judgements. I would have expected to recognize some grammatical elements if it were some Arabic vernicular, so that’s out. So is Hebrew. And with no recognizable Italian or English loans I’d be surprised if it were Maltese. I thought of a Berber language, but they all have voiced uvular fricatives, haven’t they? Well, what the heck, I’ll say Tamazight.

  7. TJ says:

    I think Kurdish.

  8. prase says:


  9. michael farris says:

    My first idea is something bordering a Turkic language, it has the Turkic sound (as I perceive it) but doesn’t seem to be Turkic.

    Armenian seems as good a guess as any.

  10. Miika says:

    I’m going to say Kurdish or Urdu. I’m not an expert when it comes to Indo-Iranian languages. It sounds a little too “smooth” to be Armenian in my opinion. I might be wrong though.

  11. prase says:

    Originally I wanted to guess Dari or Tadjiki, but then I thought that Armenian would be more original. Anyway, it’s a wild guess. I have tried to compare with recordings at, but it helped only to rule out Pashto – it has much lower frequency of [x].

  12. d.m.falk says:

    Not Urdu, as it’s nothing more than Hindi with borrowed Persian and Arabic words, written in a variant of the Persian version of the Arabic script, all reflecting that this is the language of a predominantly Muslim community…

    The going consensus is Armenian, which it might be…

    My first thought was something African that’s predominantly influenced by Arabic, or an African variant of Arabic, like Maghrebi, but I can’t tell for sure.


  13. Jeff says:

    I’m thinking based on the guttural sounds and cadence, something between Hebrew, Arabic, and Persian. I think Armenian.

  14. Simon says:

    It doesn’t look like anyone’s going to get it. The language is Pashto (پښتو), which is spoken in Afghanistan and Pakistan. and the recording comes from Deutsche Welle.

  15. prase says:

    Hm. I get it always wrong. It’s almost a rule that the answer is the language I am absolutely sure it’s not.

  16. Aniruddha says:

    Listening to the phonetic flow of the language, I think that the language is Dari (variety of Persian spoken in Afghanistan). Further, it sounded topical and has “fall” in the end of each sentence (may also be because it sounded as a news item anyways). From the instances of Pashto I have heard earlier, it seems to have some retroflex sounds (esp. laterals and trills), which were significantly missing. Unless Simon is confident that it’s Pashto, I think I would stick to my guess.

  17. Simon says:

    Aniruddha – the recording comes from the Deutsche Welle Pashto site, so it’s reasonable to assume that it is Pashto.

  18. Aniruddha says:

    mea culpa…;)

  19. Kenny says:

    I was thinking پښتو but I was not sure how to spell it… Well not really. Nice little test 😉

%d bloggers like this: