Name the language

This week we have a recording of a mystery language. Can you identify it? Here it is.

A few clues: this language is part of a large, widely scattered language family and is spoken mainly on a group of quite remote islands. This language has a regular spelling system devised by a missionary during the 19th century.

The recording is a news item from an online radio station. I don’t understand it, but I think the story has something to do with Walmart.

This entry was posted in Language, Quiz questions.

28 Responses to Name the language

  1. David says:

    might the language be maltese?

  2. David says:

    but i’m not able to provide a translation

  3. Simon says:

    No, it’s not Maltese.

  4. David says:

    Is it one of the languages from the south-east asian areas like indonesia?

  5. David says:

    could it even be hawaiian or fijian?

  6. Simon says:

    It’s part of the same language family as Indonesia, but isn’t spoken in Southeast Asia.

  7. David says:

    i’ll try and figure it out tomorrow its late here in australia bye!!

  8. Declan says:

    Sounds like Manx to me.

  9. Podolsky says:

    It sounds like a Melanesian language, possibly Marshallese.

  10. Simon says:

    Declan – it’s not Manx.

    Podolsky – you’re getting warmer, but it’s not Marshallese.

  11. TJ says:

    It is definitely Asian.
    My guess would be philippino or Thai, but it includes some missionaries here hmmm so maybe it is philippino…. or malay?

  12. Simon says:

    It’s not Philippino or Malay.

  13. My guess was Chamorro, but its alphabet was invented in 1668. Something similar maybe?

  14. TJ says:

    ummmmm ………Maori ?

  15. Bill Walsh says:


  16. Somedude says:

    This is a long shot, but…Javanese?

  17. AR says:

    I didn’t listen to it, but from the description, it sounds like it may be a polynesian language particularly Hawaiian. Although that language has been written for centuries it was standardised in the 19th century. Anyway, are polynesian languages the same family as bahasa malaysia/bahasa indonesia. The only other guess I have is the language from madagascar.

  18. Somedude says:

    Malagasy, that’s it. I checked. Where’s my prize?

  19. TJ says:

    tataaa!!! @@
    and how did you get that!!?

  20. Patrick Hall says:

    Argh, I had convinced myself it was Fijiian.

  21. Simon says:

    Somedude – sorry, no prize for you. It’s not Malagasy.

    Other guesses are in the right language family – Polynesian, but not the right language.

    This weeks winner is – Patrick Hall – it is indeed Fijian.

    Your prize, if you choose to accept it, is to come up with a question for next week’s quiz. If you have any bright ideas, please email me (questions[at]omniglot[dot]com). Please google-test any questions first though – i.e. if you can find the answer quickly in Google of another search engine, the question is too easy.

    I’ve just noticed that one of David’s suggestions was Fijian – so he got it as well. Well done!

  22. TJ says:

    and you forgot to add, to give me the answer before posting the question here 🙂

  23. Carl says:

    It sounds like Tagalog to me.

  24. Somedude says:

    Oh, poot!

    Hmmmmm…the only thing missing I guess was that Madagascar is an island, not a group of them.

    Well, better luck next time, I guess.

  25. Patrick Hall says:

    Hey wow 🙂

    Okay I’ll get a suggestion into an email, Simon.

    Love the site. ☺

  26. David says:

    I asked earlier was it fijian. All well good luck next time.

  27. Patrick Hall says:

    David, drop me a line at pathall@gmail and we can collaborate to pick next week’s language, what do you think?

    I hadn’t read your comment, I promise. ☺

  28. David Thompson says:

    While obviously far too late in stumbling across this, I picked it out straight away. I’m from down in New Zealand, but my mother was born in Fiji (to New Zealander parents) – I guess when someone tells you off in a language when you’re growing up, certain recognition patterns stay with you for life 🙂

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