Language quiz

Language quiz image

Here’s a recording in a mystery language.

Can you identify the language, and do you know where it’s spoken?

This entry was posted in Language, Quiz questions.

5 Responses to Language quiz

  1. Jonathan says:

    Wow. This one doesn’t resemble any language I’ve heard before. I’m not even going to make a wild guess, but will wait to see what Sameer can make of it.

  2. P. says:

    My only (and, no doubt, incorrect) thought is Cebuano, or something close to it.

  3. Sameer says:

    I hear what sound like a few borrowings from Spanish: pero ‘but’, siempre ‘always’, para ‘for’, and Pascua ‘easter’. The borrowing of discourse particles, prepositions, and religious terminology would be expected from a superstrate language in the region. So, I’m going to start with “an indigenous language of Hispanosphere”, probably of Latin America but P’s guess of Cebuano wouldn’t be bad either, based on just this information.

    Phonetically, though, I’m leaning away from the Philippines.

    I think I hear many examples of the lateral fricative [ɬ] and a couple lateral affricates [tl], even maybe a word than ends in [tlan], like many placenames in Mexico and Guatemala? However, I don’t hear any aspirated consonants, ejective consonants, high central vowels like [ɨ], lexical tone, creaky voice, or breathy voice.

    These observations would eliminate most of the languages of Latin America as possible guesses. Using the database, the only language with these characteristics would be Totonac. Is that right?

  4. Simon says:

    You’re right Sameer – the language is Totonac (Tachiwin), a Totonacan language spoken in Puebla, Veracruz and Zacatlán in Mexico.

    The recording comes from Wikitongues.

  5. Jonathan says:

    That was impressive. And worth it for the link to the WALS site. I’m not well enough trained in phonetics to make much use of it, but I like knowing that it exists. It feels like it’s Omniglot’s older, more serious, brother.

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