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, Quiz questions.

22 Responses to Name the language

  1. Daniel says:

    This sounds a lot like Russian, but I think it has some properties of Japanese. However, despite the geographic proximity, I don’t know any “intermediate” language between the two.
    I guess it’s some eastern european language…

  2. Halabund says:

    A SE Asian language. Perhaps something related to Khmer?

  3. Mikkal says:


  4. Trond Engen says:

    Based on nothing but a vague idea of phonology: Khmer?

  5. Trond Engen says:

    Oh, I see Halabund beat me to it.

  6. Bao says:

    I also guess Khmer. 😮

  7. Frank says:

    My guess is Thai because I seem to hear the word “thai” several times in the recording.

  8. MäcØSŸ says:

    It sounds like a tonal language from SE Asia. Excluding Thai, it’s probably Vietnamese

  9. bronz says:

    It seems to lack the relative “smoothness” and “femininity” of Thai and the more sonorant quality of Vietnamese, so I’m going to guess Khmer also.

  10. Peter J. Franke says:

    Yeah must be Khmer, but a few already answered that so I go for Hmong….

  11. Christopher Miller says:

    Khmer. It has the aspirated pre-syllables so characteristic of Austroasiatic languages and none of the surrounding languages and intonation but none of the multiple tone contours of its neighbours. PLUS the person says “Khmer” with the proper Khmer pronunciation /khmae/ twice, just after the beginning and just after the middle.

  12. James C. says:

    Christopher Miller is right. My first guess was Khmer, for largely the same reasons, but also since the words seem to be mostly monosyllabic, there are quite a few diphthongs, and there are final glottal stops. It could also be some other non-tonal Mon-Khmer language, but the only one likely to be discussing international relationships ([kʰmaɪ nŋ tʰaɪ] “Khmer and Thai”?) is Khmer.

  13. formiko says:

    I say Khmer because of the initial consonant clusters.

  14. Abbie says:

    It sounds a LOT like Thai, but it’s not. Khmer seems a good guess- it’s not tonal, and this sounds kind of like toneless Thai. Do I hear a [z] in there? That’s defiantly not Thai, but I don’t think Khmer has it either.

  15. Abbie says:

    On more listens, it’s clearly Thai. I hear เมืองไทย, (Thailand), and ประจำ (regular-ish), and plenty of common words like ก็ and ได้. I can’t parse most of it, so it could be a regional dialect, but listening skills are weak sauce.

    Thai has a lot of Khmer loanwords.

  16. Inbecilica says:

    Well as a speaker of Vietnamese I can say that it is DEFINITELY NOT Vietnamese. I am used to hearing Thai and Lao so they are both also out of the equation. Regarding Khmer, I also hear it quite a lot and although it reminds me of it – I’d say it’s also not Khmer. Maybe somewhere in South-east Asia or South Asia.

  17. Inbecilica says:

    On closer inspection I hear a lot of Khmer sounding words. It could be a regional dialect of Khmer.

  18. Christopher Miller says:


    OK, I hear “prothe thai” part way through, but even though that sounds a lot like “Prathet Thai” in Thai, it is quite likely Khmer as well, since both languages borrowed heavily from Sanskrit and “prathet” and “prothe” would both be borrowed versions of “pradesha” (country).

  19. Simon says:

    The language is Khmer (ភាសាខ្មែរ) which is spoken in mainly in Cambodia.

    The recording comes from RFI (Radio France Internationale)

  20. Imbecilica says:

    Aha! I was comparing the recording to news broadcasts posted on YouTube and found it to be most similar to the Khmer news.

  21. locuroso says:

    Would it happen to be burmese?

  22. Christopher Miller says:

    To “locuroso”:

    Nope, it wouldn’t be Burmese. When –usually sometime late on the Monday after the quiz is posted – “Simon Says”, that’s the way it is. He’s the owner of the site and the one who puts up the mystery language recordings, so he knows what it is in advance.


%d bloggers like this: