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.

16 Responses to Language quiz

  1. Paula says:

    Is it Tagalo? Spoken in the Philippines?

  2. Daydreamer says:

    To my ears this language seems to be influenced by Spanish and Japanese. That could fit to Chamorro spoken on the island of Guam, which seems to be mentioned in the middle of the recording.

  3. Christopher Miller says:

    Not Tagalog, not Austronesian.

    My feeling, based on several listens, is that the level tones-based intonation and the segmental phonology of the words put this somewhere among the languages of South Sudan or a closely related Nilotic language of Uganda or Kenya. Without looking anything up, my first guesses would be among Nuer, Dinka, Shilluk, Karimojong, Maasai or even Luo/Lwoo. Of course it could be a more minor, less-known language from the group, but that is where my intuitions firmly place what I hear.

  4. Alexey says:

    Sounds a bit like Amharic. I guess it’s something at least geographically contingent.

  5. Trond Engen says:

    After several listenings I’ve concluded that this is one of the Human languages. I hope it’s not too specific.

    [My first impression was that the phonology is Spanish, and I still think it’s remarkably similar. There’s even a sentence in the first half that sounded like mock Spanish, “El cucí lo cuelloja” or some such. That made me think it could be a creole, but without discernible loans it’s probably sheer coincidence. Then I wanted to make it South American, but I really have no reason to think so. So I’ll just defer to mr. Miller as usual.]

  6. michael farris says:

    My first idea is an indigenous language from Latin America though I don’t have any idea which one. A few places sounded almost like someting Quechuan, other places not so much…

  7. P. says:

    Some sort of Somali or Ethiopian creole based on Italian?

  8. Christopher Miller says:

    Ah, but Mr. Miller *has* known himself to be spectacularly wrong on occasion!


  9. bennie says:

    I hear a lot of final velar nasals and the intonation sounds similar to that of an Austronesian language. So I’d say a Malayo-Polynesian language spoken somewhere in eastern Indonesia.

  10. pennifer says:

    I can’t get any closer than SE Asia or Polynesia etc. I’d be surprised to hear it was African.

  11. d.m.falk says:

    My first thought was one of the western Pacific non-Malay languages, and Chamorro of Guam would fit….


  12. michael farris says:

    Now I’m thinking Miskito. I was thinking that earlier but didn’t get around to nominating it.

  13. Simon says:

    Christopher is on the right lines – this language is Nilotic and is spoken in Uganda.

  14. D.Jay says:

    They say Abidjan a lot…but what do I know.

  15. Christopher Miller says:

    Well, there are Acholi, Lango, Teso, Karimojong and a few others. Acholi has about the largest geographical spread of any, but just to be perverse, I’ll guess a small language from the the far northwest corner of Uganda – Idi Amin’s mother tongue – Kakwa.

  16. Simon says:

    The answer is Karamojong (ŋaKarimojoŋ), a Nilotic language spoken in Uganda.

    The recording comes from the Global Recordings Network.

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