Language quiz

Here’s a recording in a mystery language.

Can you identify the language, and do you know where it’s spoken?

This entry was posted in Language, Quiz questions.

11 Responses to Language quiz

  1. Trond Engen says:

    It’s dangerous being first and clueless, but… Siberian or North-American, I’d say, even though I can’t discern a single loanword from English, Spanish or Russian. Prominent lateral fricatives and affricates. Five vowel phonemes, I think, or perhaps four or five “tense” and one or more “lax”. The staccato rhythm makes it sound agglutinative, perhaps very much so. I think all this makes for an Athabascan language, but which one is anyone’s guess. A name I remember off-hand: Tanacross.

  2. Sathyarthi says:

    Again, a stab in the dark, but because of the preponderance of ‘tl’ consonant clusters I think I can make out –> an Aztec language such as Nahuatl??

  3. bennie says:

    This is pretty hard. The intonation sounds kind of like that of a Finno-Ugric language. But it also sounds Amerindian to me but is definitely not Algonquian or Iroquoian.

    But I’ll still go with an Amerindian language and say “Hopi”, an Uto-Aztecan language spoken in Arizona. (I’m probably way off)

  4. Simon says:

    Here’s a clue: this language is spoken in the Americas, but not in North America.

  5. d.m.falk says:

    My first thought actually was Mayan, perhaps Kekchi (Guatemala, Honduras), but that could depend on whether one considers those countries North American or not, being in Central America.


  6. bennie says:

    Something related to Tupi or Guarani??

    C’mon, Where’s Christopher Miller? We need his input here. 🙂

  7. Simon says:

    d.m.falk – I mean the geographic definition of North America, which includes all of Central America down to Panama, so it would be clearer to say that this language is spoken in South America.

  8. Simon says:

    Another clue – this language is spoken in Paraguay.

  9. Christopher Miller says:

    Well, all I could imagine was that this might be some language of the North American Pacific Northwest, given the lateral fricatives, apparent ejectives (though I might be mishearing these), and consonant clusters.

    So my first guess would be way off, given Simon’s clue.

    I cheated, looked up the list of languages for Paraguay on Ethnologue, looked up clips for each of them on YouTube, and my guess — given the overall similarity of sound — is that this is Toba Maskoy or (possibly Chorote). Nothing more solid to go on than that.

  10. Francisco says:

    My guess is this is Quechua?

  11. Simon says:

    The answer is Sanapaná, a Mascoian language spoken in parts of Western Paraguay.

    The recording comes from the Global Recordings Network.

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