Name the language

Here’s part of a song in a mystery language.

Do you know or can you guess which language it’s in and where it’s spoken?

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This entry was posted in Language, Quiz questions.

14 Responses to Name the language

  1. Rauli says:

    I have trouble in making out words in songs, even in languages that I’m familiar with. This is just all Greek to me. And that wasn’t meant to be a guess ;-) The song sounds like a Christian hymn.

  2. fiosachd says:

    Bulgarian: Полегнала е Тудора.

  3. xarxa says:

    i think im actually gonna guess greek :)

  4. Will says:

    Church Slavonic, Ge’ez, Coptic, Syriac/Aramiac, or some other liturgical language.

  5. Yenlit says:

    Sounds Polynesian to me.

  6. Momczil says:

    Polegnala e Todora
    It’s very popular Bulgarian song and my favorite.
    I guess the version of this recording is sung by Greek people or in some Bulgarian dialect in Greece, because the second “l” in “polegnala” is very soft to be standard Bulgarian and “t” in “Todora” is pronounced more like ts or th.

  7. Glossy says:

    I’m curious, does anyone know what language this is in:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9TWckPbKWsE

    It’s Solveig’s Song by Grieg, but the singing definitely isn’t in Norwegian. There are some words in the description that look Vietnamese, but the singing doesn’t sound like Vietnamese to me either.

  8. Christopher Miller says:

    For Momczil: I rather suspect this song is being sung by a choir from North Wales quite familiar to Simon…

  9. TJ says:

    Glossy: yeh i think it is vietnamese.

  10. Lumiel says:

    @Momczil, or perhaps it’s sung by English speakers, don’t you think? I mean, with the aspirated plosives and everything. Can’t be sure, though. I think it’s very hard to recognize foreign languages from songs.

  11. Simon says:

    The answer is Bulgarian (Български), which is spoken mainly in Bulgaria.

    The song is Полегнала е Тудора (Polegnala e Tudora).

    The words are:

    Полегнала е Тодора,
    мома Тодоро, Тодоро,
    под дърво, под маслиново,
    мома Тодоро, Тодоро.

    Transliteration
    Polegnala e Todora
    Moma Todoro Todoro
    Pod dervo pod maslinovo
    Moma Todoro Todoro

    Translation
    Tudora is lying under a tree, an olive tree.

    I made the recording at the Bangor Community Choir rehearsal last week. The choir is made up mainly of British people (Welsh, English and Scottish), with a few members from France and Austria.

  12. Drabkikker says:

    @ Glossy, TJ:
    I don’t know a thing about Vietnamese, so I could be horribly wrong, but what I can make out of the song doesn’t seem to match Omniglot’s description of that language. A very crude approximation of what I can hear is the following:

    ra ta ki re
    re ma[r]e ro
    ra
    ra ta ki re
    re ma[r]e ro
    [r]a ta ki re sin sa
    ta pa

    Firstly, most syllables seem to be open (i.e., end in a vowel), whereas Vietnamese rather seems to have a fondness of closed syllables (ending in a consonant). Furthermore, Vietnamese appears to have many diphthongs, of which none seem to be present in the song.

    But, as I said, I could be entirely on the wrong track. But, if not Vietnamese, what else could it be? If I were to give a suggestion I would say the language has something like a Polynesian ring to it.

  13. Faldone says:

    I have this song on an album (LP) by native speakers. I also have another song to the same tune by Dave Van Ronk, Honey Hair. The latter contains the line “Dragons are fighting in the meadow/The blood on the ground is black(?) and yellow.” That’s from the I Ching.

  14. Vasiliy Faronov says:

    You seem to have forgotten the “Quiz questions” tag here?