Language quiz

Here’s the first verse of a well-known song in a mystery language. Do you know or can you guess which language it is?

Clue: this language is spoken in parts of North America.

This entry was posted in Language, Music, Quiz questions.

14 Responses to Language quiz

  1. TJ says:

    well .. im not that familiar with languages of natives in North America …… but for me seems the speech is following a “syllabic” pattern more ….. I would hazard a guess and say Cherokee ………………………… and I wonder if Apachee would also follow the same syllabic pattern?

  2. AR says:

    It is Amazing Grace in Cherokee (Tsalagi). Its the unofficial anthem of the Cherokees, often sung during the Trail of Tears. I saw this song on YouTube.

  3. TJ says:

    HAHA!! bulls eye for me! 🙂

  4. d.m.falk says:

    If I’m not mistaken, this recording is by Walela, a trio consisting of Rita Coolidge, her sister and niece. Yes, it is Cherokee.


  5. d.m.falk says:

    BTW, what tipped me off here, was that Simon referred to “parts” of North America- The Cherokee people are scattered all over the contiguous US with two recognised reservations in Oklahoma and North Carolina, with some bands located in places like California, Texas and Tennessee. The original Cherokee nation used to cover the Carolinas, Georgia, Tennessee and the Virginias.

    I took an interest in Tsalagi about a decade ago, particularly for itys syllabary.


  6. BG says:

    I am trying to learn a bit of Cherokee because it seems to be the most common Native American language (not really the best reason to learn a language) and also for its syllabary.

  7. Simon says:

    It is indeed Cherokee and comes from YouTube. You can find the Cherokee lyrics for Amazing Grace here

  8. d.m.falk says:

    BG: Actually, it isn’t- Of the 100,000 Cherokee today, only 10% know their own language. The top Native American language is Navaho, with ~80% of some 300,000 understanding their language, most of which are illiterate, sadly, and rely on news from a radio station in the reservation’s capitol.

    Tsalagi, however, is a much easier language to learn than Navaho, partly for its syllabic nature and (for the most part) very regular pronunciation. Grammar and vocabulary is fairly straightforward, too.


  9. TJ says:

    I win I win ! 😀

  10. BG says:

    Yeah, when I wrote that I wasn’t sure if Cherokee was the most common, but I had noticed that it was the most talked about and therefore probably most learned by non-native speakers. I was just being ambiguous. Actually my cousin-in-law once removed is a linguist who studies Navajo and says the verbs are very complex and difficult. I didn’t it know it was that commonly spoken though.

  11. BG says:

    I didn’t it know Navajo was that commonly spoken though.

  12. Carrie Wills; Dale Crandall says:

    Is there anyone who would be willing to assist with a Cherokee translation project? We have 4 sentences that we need to translate into Cherokee, either in Cherokee characters or phonetics. We are in a bit of a rush, we present at a conference next Monday, Nov. 19th. The sentences are as follows:
    1. The young boys swim everyday in the river with their friends.
    2. The brown dog chased the yellow cat up the tree last night.
    3. The extremely kind man will always give a needy stranger some money.
    4. The young students will be nurses in a local hospital.

    If you can’t do this, but you know someone else who can, please send an email address, web address, or phone number. Thanks in advance for your help! 🙂

  13. Carrie Wills; Dale Crandall says:

    Our email addresses are and

  14. Dale Crandall; Carrie Wills says:

    Hi Fellow Linguists:
    Our progress so far on the first two sentences:
    We have written down the Cherokee phonetics from books and online dictionaries. We need help correcting the words and then putting together the Cherokee words into sentences. We do have the Cherokee syllabary loaded into Word on our computer. If you know and can send us the sentences in the Cherokee syllary, this would be great. Otherwise we would be grateful for the phonetic version.

    Example of Sentence Pattern 1: Subject + Verb

    1. The young boy swims everyday
    (our understanding a-da-hi a-tsu-tsa yu-ni i-ga
    no articles in

    in the river with his friends.

    ? no art. e-quo-ni-ge-yv-i u-tlo-ya-s-di u-tso-ga-li-i

    Example of Sentence Pattern 2: Subject + Verb + Direct Object

    The brown dog chased the yellow cat
    no wa-di-ge-i gi-li a-ke-he-ga no da-lo-ni-ge-i we-sa
    art. art.

    up the tree last night.
    ga-lv-la-di no tlu-gv-i ? sv-no-yi

    Dale Crandall and Carrie Wills
    We work for Gainesville State College, Foreign Languages,
    Gainesville, GA

    Thanks in advance for any help.
    Dale & Carrie

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