Language quiz

Here’s a recording of part of a news report in a mystery language.

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

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This entry was posted in Language, Quiz questions.

25 Responses to Language quiz

  1. Sounds like Welsh to me – not that I speak any Welsh, but I occasionally linger on S4C while channel surfing. But is that too obvious?

  2. michael farris says:

    The person doesn’t sound like a native speaker to me and does sound like an Anglophone (or he could be a native speaker of a language with paralinguistic features that are extremely close to those of English).

    And I find myself halfway wondering whether or not this is a conlang.

  3. Čuovggas Miihka says:

    Is it Jèrriais?

  4. dveej says:

    I second number 2 above: sounds like some British guy earnestly overpronouncing some language he learned as an adult, and it’s SO overpronounced that it made me, too, think that the language might be Klingon or some such. But then I heard something that sounded like “agus” which is Gaelic for “and”, and then it seemed likely that it was some regional Celtic language like Manx or Cornish which the speaker had studied as an adult as a second language.
    But listen to the intonation: it’s more stilted and artificial than a church litany.

  5. bronz says:

    I remember listening to a recording of a Welsh poem, by a native Welsh speaker, and thinking the same thing michael farris and dveej did. Not much experience to go by, but with that I wouldn’t be surprised if this one turns out to be an actual native speaker. Celtic languages have certainly influenced English and vice versa, so I wouldn’t be surprised. I’ve listened to Breton recordings and thought it had a “French accent.” But I’m not terribly familiar with Celtic languages to make a judgment after all (including whether some of them have been revived from a critical enough situation that phonology from the predominant language in the region has very obviously seeped in in more recent decades?), except that I’m quite certain it’s a Celtic language from UK/Ireland.

  6. Szabolcs says:

    Like michael and dveej, when I started listening, I thought it was some English dialect, but no matter how I hard I listened, I couldn’t understand a word :) Only than did I realize that it must be some other language.

  7. dmh says:

    Old Norse? Old English?

  8. Szabolcs says:

    Wow, I found the transcript (and the source) of the recording by Googling! :-) (But I won’t give it away ;) Now I see why the speaker sounds like someone with English as his mother tongue.

  9. pennifer says:

    It does sound almost like it’s being read by an Anglophone, but I’m wondering if it’s something close to Dutch or that general area?

    Wildly guessing as always.

  10. LandTortoise says:

    It’s Cornish- Kernewek, spoken nowhere (er, just being provocative)

  11. Karin says:

    It sounds like glossolalia. Could it be an Englishman “speaking in tongues”.

  12. Petréa Mitchell says:

    It sounds really Welsh-ish to me. Just to be controversial I’ll say Breton instead.

    I agree it sounds like the speaker isn’t a native, or even comfortably fluent in whatever it is.

  13. Ray says:

    Manx or Breton are my guesses. Maybe Faroese?

    I agree that it sounds like an anglophone.

  14. Amy says:

    I heard something that sounded like “in Breton ver,” so I’ll guess Breton as well.

  15. Alexey says:

    I’d say it’s anglo-saxon.

  16. Trond Engen says:

    My first impression was ‘Icelandic spoken by an anglophone’. And the sentence “döththeth von raggethi föthi” (vel. sim.) is definitely Germanic, even without recognizing a word. I wanted to make it revived Shetland Norn (if there is such a thing), but when I listen more I think I hear old English features like the ending -eth in the final word. I’ll agree with Alexey and say Anglo-Saxon.

  17. Karin says:

    The thing is, I can’t hear any words that are repeated. The intonation and sounds are definitely modern English. There are no ich or ach-sounds as older forms of English. In fact I don’t think that this is a real language at all. I can’t make out any sort of grammar and it sounds as if the speaker is improvising.

  18. peter j. franke says:

    I go for Cornish, because of the clear [e:] sounds and the retroflex ar’s as in Irish-English accents… It sounds like a recitation of a written text by a native English speaker.

  19. Simon says:

    The language is inded Cornish (Kernewek) which is spoken mainly in Cornwall.

    The recording comes from Radyo an Gernewegva.

    Here’s a transcription:

    Tan a worloskas 25 erow a Woon Goss yn Konteth Restormel dy’ Lun. An tan a dhalathas a-dro dhe 3 eur y’n dohajydh, ha gwithysi dan dhyworth Sen Colom Veur, Sen Dennis, Ponsrys, ha Bosvenegh a dheuth dhe’n woon rag y dhifeudhi. An tir leskys yw synsys yn-dann dowlen Gonyow Kernow Kres rag mentena ha gwitha an tykki-duw breythek gwern, ehen a dykki-duw yn-dann beryl yn Breten Veur. Y’n seson ma yth yw an tykkiow-duw hwath y’ga form pryv del, hag yma own y fydh an niver a vreythegyon gwern y’n ranndir lehes hevlena dre dhiswrians rann mar vras a’ga threveth.

    Source (PDF)

    There’s a clue in the word ‘Kernow’ (Cornwall). ‘Breten Veur’ is Great Britain (Prydain Fawr in Welsh), not Brittany or Breton, which are Breizh and Breizhoneg in Breton.

  20. Trond Engen says:

    Another ouch. I did regret being so definite about the Germanicity up there, since I didn’t catch a single word, but I just couldn’t get past . And even there: Is the final sound of the , which I hesitated to describe as either [ð] or [n], a giveaway?

  21. Trond Engen says:

    Aorry, and another nother ouch. I forgot that I can’t use angle brackets just like that. Here is what it was supposed to read:

    [...] I just couldn’t get past “dheuth dhe’n woon rag y dhifeudhi”. And even there: Is the final sound of the “dhe’n”, which I hesitated to describe as either [ð] or [n], a giveaway?

  22. MingShuo says:

    It sounds like a Celtic Language…so, Irish or Cornish.

  23. Eric says:

    So how “good” is his accent?

  24. Æren says:

    Very beautiful one!