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.

15 Responses to Language quiz

  1. aqueekah says:

    Galego. Galicia.

  2. Will says:

    I’ll go with Galician because of the [ʃ] sound and for the fact that it sounds so similar to Spanish. My first guess was Portuguese, but I didn’t hear any nasal vowels.

  3. Remd says:

    Galego, indeed.

  4. Chris Miller says:

    Galician (Galego), spoken in Galicia, north of Portugal. The announcer even talks about “a política galega”. My local laundromat is owned and operated by a Galician couple. As Will says, basically Portuguese structure at all levels with devoicing of (sorry, no IPA…) ‘zh’ to ‘sh’ and a Castilian-like phonetic overlay.

  5. Chris Miller says:

    There’s little to change in the quote at the top to make it Galician: ‘unha’ instead of ‘uma’ and possibly get rid of an accent or two (I’m not sure of the accent conventions in Galician orthography) and you have Galician.

  6. michael farris says:

    I had no idea tht Galician used Castillian style interdentials, but I seem to be hearing them.

  7. Petréa Mitchell says:

    That’s gotta be Galician!

  8. Rauli says:

    I was certain it was Spanish until I started to read the comments. I have no knowledge of Galician, I had no idea it sounded so much like (at least to my ears) Spanish.

  9. John A says:

    I immediately thought Castellano, but about half-way through I could no longer follow some of what is being said. I do not know if it’s just bad sound quality, or of this is indeed Galego (“política Galega” gives is away). I always thought that Galego was closer in sound to Portuguese, but this is mostly indistinguishable from Castellano to me.

  10. It’s definitely Galician.

  11. Christopher Miller says:

    It sounds – phonetically – very much like Castilian, probably because of the continual diglossic situation where Castilian is forced on all inhabitants of the Spanish state while regional languages like Galician are only “co-official” in their regions. Every Spaniard has to deal with the State in Castilian, so there is an imbalance in power that favours the use of Castilian and marginalises the regional languages even in their own traditional territories. So over the generations, more and more people from the minority language communities have come to use Castilian as their first language, and their local language, being subordinated even at the personal level, is more like a second language to them. This is how the Castilian pronunciation habits have come to affect Galician, though among older speakers in samples available online, you can hear much more native Galician pronunciation (and this varies a bit by region too).

    Same goes for Occitan among the younger generations, which is often pronounced with a northern French accent whereas among true native speakers it sounds much closer to Catalan; and northern Catalan in Rosselló (“Roussillon”) has come to be pronounced with a French accent in the mouths of most of its speakers as well.

    That said, the voiced [z] and [ʒ] still heard in Portuguese shifted many centuries ago to [s] and [ʃ] in all the Iberic Romance languages of the north coast (Castilian, Asturo-Leonese and Galician), so the lack of [z] isn’t a result of Castilian influence due to repressive diglossia the way other aspects of this speaker’s pronunciation are.

    As for clues to this being Galician and not another Iberic Romance language, you can hear the clearly Galician (and similar to Portuguese) definite articles “o” and “a” (= Castilian “el” and “la”) as well as “no”, “na”, “do” for “en”, “de” + “o”/”a”, as well as the Galician “dous” for Castilian “dos” and Portuguese “dois” (two) and “mais” for Castilian “mas” and Portuguese “mais” (more).

  12. Simon says:

    The answer is Galician (galego), which is spoken in Galicia.

    The recording comes from Radio Galega.

    I was also surprised by how similar to Castilian it sounded and had to listen carefully to be sure it was actually Galician.

  13. Remd says:

    I don’t know why, but Galician spoken on TV or Radio sounds much similar to Castilian than actual Galician spoken by natives (above all old people) who sound really closer to Portuguese in some aspects. I guess it is because the people who work in the TV or Radio don’t usually speak Galician at the personal level, and they just learn it because the language is used in the regional TV channels and so on, so they pronounce it in an abnormal fashion.

  14. Petréa Mitchell says:

    I seem to be in the minority here for having thought it sounded clearly different from Spanish– I mean, it was obviously related, but equally obviously not Spanish itself. Maybe it’s because the schools in my part of the world teach Spanish with a sort of generic Latin American accent, and maybe European Spanish sounds more like that recording?

    One thing the recording does sound kind of like to me is a CD I have of medieval Spanish music, on which the singers are trying to do period pronunciations.

  15. bia medeiros says:

    It’s galician. Despite everybody realizes the similarity with spanish, I think galician sounds more like portuguese. I’m brazilian and for me, understand galician is more easy than understand spanish.

    Petréa: probably your CD is sung in Galician-Portuguese. In this case, there are similarities with the Galician, with the Portuguese and the spanish.

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