Language quiz

Here’s a recording of a news report in a mystery language. Can you identify the language?

Hint – this language is spoken by a relavtively small number of people in a number of European countries.

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25 Responses to Language quiz

  1. Patrick says:

    Sounds like Dutch to me. I’m living near the Dutch border so I would be ashamed if it was wrong…

  2. Declan says:

    It is clearly germanic as I can understand bits and pieces, so I wil say Friesan or something similar.

  3. AR says:

    Is it Flemish?

  4. It’s not Plattdeutsch (Low German) by any chance, is it?

  5. Ashley says:

    I definitely heard some french.

    I agree though, I think it’s overall Dutch.

  6. Simon says:

    It’s not Dutch, Friesan, Flemish or Plattdeutsch – right language family, wrong language.

  7. Evans Knight says:

    Luxembourgish?

  8. Kelly says:

    It’s definately not Dutch but it is certainly Germanic. I would have guessed either Luxembourgish or Yiddish.

  9. Juliette says:

    My two pennies (mostly in response to some of the comments):

    I haven’t got a clue, well, apart from it being a germanic language, but I can rule the following languages out:
    Dutch, Flemish, (west-)Frisian, Limburgisch, Achterhoeks, Drents, Twents, Veluws, Zeeuws or even Afrikaans
    (i.e. it is not a language commonly spoken in the Nederlands or which would be recognized as related to Dutch by a Dutch person)

    The only guess I can hazard is that it is one of the High German languages (http://www.ethnologue.com/show_family.asp?subid=90069)

    Based on the clue given, Yiddish, Luxembourgeois, Schwyzerdütsch (accent doesn’t sound right though and is spoken by quite a large number of people) and Walser seem to be the candidates.

    Considering it is a radio news report Luxembourgeois or Yiddish would seem to be the only logical choices available. (Walser has so few speakers that I doubt they would have a news cast in that language)

  10. Juliette says:

    Darn.. sorry for my misspelling… the Nederlands should of course be spelled the Netherlands (my mind was still half in Dutch mode will typing)

  11. Josh says:

    I say either Alsatian or Luxembourgish.

  12. Nikki says:

    I’ll say Yiddish — because that’s the first thing that came to mind after reading the description and people definitely think it’s Germanic.

  13. Jerry says:

    I’d guess Letzeburgisch (Luxemburg), Definitely not anything Dutch, Frisian or Low German, also not Swiss-German. Then again, it could be Alsatian.

  14. Ben L. says:

    Here’s a putative transcription and guessed translation:

    “?Herrne ?momendane Kunden und herzgeloescht Messeuren an Vierjagdslieden. Viel Probleme am Bereich von der Persoenen an der Gepaeckkontroll zu Kompansieren. Deutschland hoert zu wenigstens Real Fuenf Mark in Dezemberrunde technisches Untergestopf, versucht messeurene Kraft zu setzen.”

    “… delayed customers and upset workers at… Many problems in the area of compensating luggage security inspectors. Germany… at least five marks in the December round of…, tries to… strengthen.”

    Best guess, Alsatian.

  15. Ben L. says:

    Briefly on Yiddish, I believe it’s strongest contingency is currently among traditionalist Jewish sects in Israel, where it seems rather quietly to be very much a living language. It is a Germanic language with pronounced Hebrew and Slavic vocabularies and other features. I could not detect those in the recording.

  16. Ben L. says:

    Better change that to Luxembougerisch: I doubt the Alsatians would have much to do with governmental labor negotiations.

  17. Trevor C says:

    It sounds like a Germanic language with a little bit of French influence. I guess my guess is Luxembourgish.
    My first thought before hearing the clip and just reading the hint was Romany, but the clip is definitely not Romany.

  18. Joseph Staleknight says:

    Sounds mostly German (with some “French” bits in it).

  19. Bob says:

    I would also say no on Yiddish. Doesn’t sound like Yiddish. Of course I’ve only heard Yiddish in the United States, not in Europe.

  20. matthias says:

    I’d say Lëtzebuergesch as well.

  21. Simon says:

    The answer is … Luxembourgish (Lëtzebuergesch).

    The recording comes from Radio-Télé Lëtzebuerg (RTL), which seems to broadcoast is a mixture of Luxembourgish, French and German.

  22. jdotjdot89 says:

    I made my guess before I saw Simon’s post, so technically it’s okay–I was going to say that it was without a doubt NOT Yiddish.

  23. Evans Knight says:

    so i won?

  24. BnB says:

    The big thing making it not sound like Dutch (or close relatives) or Switzedeutsch (have no idea how to spell that in dialect) is the lack of gutteral sounds. I’ve always thought that “Flemish” should have been spelled “Phlegmish.”

    (Hoping taken in good humor and not offending anyone… much…)

  25. Thierry says:

    I am Luxemburgish, so taking up on Ben L.’s try to transcribe the news and translate it, here’s the correct version:
    “Déi aner Memberlänner kruten un d’Härz geluecht, Mesuren an d’Weeër ze leeden, fir d’Probleemer am Beräich vun de Persounen an der Gepäckkontroll ze kompenséiren. Däitschland huet dofir décidéiert fir vum 8. Dezember un, dat heescht zanter gëschter, esou Mesuren a Kraaft ze setzen.”
    Translation:
    “The other (EU) member states were recommended to create mesures in order to compensate the problems with people and luggage inspection. Germany has therefore on December 8th, which would be yesterday, decided to set such mesures in motion.”