Language quiz

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, Quiz questions.

12 Responses to Language quiz

  1. spl0uf says:

    An east-Asian language closely related to Chinese, probably… Taiwanese?

  2. peter j. franke says:


  3. Isaac says:

    It’s Shanghainese, or called Wu, spoken mainly in Shanghai, Chinese

  4. doviende says:

    Interesting! It felt like my brain was broken there for a minute, because it’s similar to mandarin, but i couldn’t understand any of it. I can pick out a couple words here and there, i think. Last time i had that feeling was when i heard two guys speaking swiss-german on the bus…sounded like german, but i couldn’t understand.

  5. Christopher Miller says:

    My guess is also Shanghainese/Wu, because it sounds so similar to Mandarin, but the tonal contours *seem* to be more limited (just my impression), and I can *definitely* hear voiced initial stops, which as far as I know only remain in Wu dialects.

  6. Christopher Miller says:

    …I should add that there are also the voiced z initials near the beginning of the recording, too…

  7. Petréa Mitchell says:

    I’m going to commit myself to the highly precise guess that it is somewhere in the Sino-Tibetan language family. The sound inventory made me think of Mandarin, but I’m fairly sure that isn’t it. Partly because I agree with #5 that it doesn’t sound tonal enough, and the rest is just a sense of “I don’t think it sounds quite like that”.

    Bear in mind, though, that it’s been about 25 years since my last Mandarin lesson…

  8. d.m.falk says:

    Considering casual Mandarin drops most of the tones (usually first tone in a word or sentence is used- others dropped), I’ll go with Mandarin. Not Shanghainese, which sounds almost Japanese, but is not- It’s very distinct and unusuas to listen to!

    Now watch, it’ll probably be something like Naxi or Yi, my luck. 😉


  9. Simon says:

    The language is Shanghainese (上海闲话 / Zanhe-ëwo) which is spoken mainly in Shanghai.

    The recording comes from 上海话学习网 (Shanghainese Study Site).

  10. Alonso Day says:

    While we’re playing “Name that Sino-Tibetan Language”, this article comes to mind…

  11. Halabund says:

    This sounds very different from the previous Shanghainese recording featured on Omniglot. Are these two languages the same?

  12. Simon says:

    Halabund – as far as I know the two recordings are of the same language.

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