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. prase says:

    At first, I thought it was Latvian, but after hearing “Sakartvelo” several times, I say Georgian.

  2. Chris Miller says:

    Georgian (Kartuli ena). And I didn’t even hear “Sakartvelo”!

    It’s the dark /l/ sounds, the consonant clusters (e.g. cx/tskh), the seven vowel system, and the numerous loans fro Russian and Latinate European sources that give it away.

  3. John A says:

    Some Creole of French?

  4. Christopher Miller says:

    …and I forgot to mention the combination of aspirated and ejective stops. Now, listening again, I hear they guy talking about Sakartvelo (Georgia)…

  5. formiko says:

    I immediately though Georgian, but I thought I recognized the word “actor”. I’ll give it a listen again though, but I think it’s Georgian.

  6. Peter J. Franke says:

    Well, if all say it’s georgian, who am I to deny this….

  7. Christian says:

    To be honest I’ve got no idea. I know it’s not Turkish, but there were certain parts of it that reminded me of Turkish. And I have also read about the many consonants in Georgian, and this seemed like quite a dense language. So I’ll go with the majority.

  8. Athel Cornish-Bowden says:

    Could it be Haitian French? I found most of it unintelligible, but occasional phrases sounded a bit like French. Interesting that several people suggest Georgian — I’d have expected more obvious consonant clusters if it were Georgian.

  9. Seumas says:

    I also think it’s some kind of French-based creole.

  10. Greg says:

    It is Georgian, although I don’t think I heard any Russian-specific loan words. Plenty of Western loan words of course and perhaps some of them originally transmitted via Russian. And can someone elaborate on the ‘dark /l/’ that Chris Miller mentions? Also, I was under the impression that Georgian had five vowels, not seven.

  11. Christopher Miller says:

    By ‘dark /l/’, I meant (using an informal term) a velarised [ɫ] as opposed to one without the velar coarticulation.

    And mentioning a ‘7 vowel’ system was a slip: I meant a five vowel system and didn’t notice the error even after rereading what I typed several times! I’m glad you pointed that out. Georgian has a simple five vowel system: a, e, i, o, u.

    Several loan words are from general European latinate vocabulary and could equally be from Russian or a western European language. One, “situacia”, spoken by the man a bit after halfway in, followed by something unclear then “Sakartvelo(s)”, is most likely from Russian ситуация .

  12. Simon says:

    The language is Georgian (ქართული) which is spoken mainly in Georgia.

    The recording comes from Radio Free Europe.

  13. Greg says:

    Thanks for the clarification, I didn’t mean to sound nitpicky.

  14. Christopher Miller says:

    To Greg-

    Don’t worry, didn’t take it that way.

  15. Christopher Miller says:

    Now isn’t that funny! I just realised that თ (the letter) in ქართული (Kartuli) looks very close to in many of the Pallava-derived scripts of southeast Asian, and for all intents and purposes identical to the Burmese letter. It’s amusing how purely by chance, these kinds of resemblances crop up. (Kind of similar to the way words with the same meaning and (nearly identical) pronunciation crop up by chance in different languages, like the English and Persian ‘bad’.

  16. Christopher Miller says:

    Somehow I managed to erase part of what I just typed. The first sentence should read “… close to in many of the…”.

  17. Christopher Miller says:

    Ungh! I know the problem! I’ve been using angled brackets to enclose symbols for letters, because that’s the more or less standard formalism in linguistics. They disappear each time because the blog software interprets them as brackets enclosing HTML code.

    I intended to say “I just realised that თ (the letter T) in ქართული (Kartuli) looks very close to T in many of thePallava-derived scripts of southeast Asia, and for all intents and purposes identical to the Burmese letter T.”

  18. Greg says:

    The თ also bears a striking (and equally coincidental) resemblance to the Hiragana の (no), a frequently occuring character that’s essentially Japanese for ‘of’.

  19. Tanyaaa says:

    I’m not sure what it is… but I know Romanian, and it’s not that for all of you who thought so.

  20. Tanyaaa says:

    haa… wrong post sorry guys!

  21. Araz says:

    it’s in georgian
    rus+eti = rusia (rus + land)

  22. mike says:

    The second speaker does mention Sakartvelo, but he pronounces it “sa-kart-vello-oh.” Wikipedia has a soundfile made by a guy from Tbilisi where it is “Sa-kart-vay-loh.”

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