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.

9 Responses to Language quiz

  1. Chris Miller says:

    Tough one. On the one hand it sounds somewhat reminiscent of a downstepping West African-type language with pre-glottalised stops that might be a language-specific way of realising implosives. On the other hand, the overall sound is also somewhat reminiscent of Bugis with its numerous geminate consonants and preglottalised voiced stops. I’m tossing out a wild guess that it might be an eastern Austronesian language that has features similar to South Sulawesi languages like Bugis.

    The recording, with the squealing pigs sound effect toward the cut-off, sounds like it’s a version of the Prodigal Son story from that web site with three or four Bible stories rendered in approximately a million and three different languages. (With still, cartoon-like drawings illustrating each scene in the narrative.)

  2. Trond Engen says:

    Like Christopher, but far less reasoned, my first impression was that something, maybe the glottals, made it sound West African. I still live on spotting Wolof on no clue at all, so I expect a new success with … Soninke.

  3. pennifer says:

    I have nothing, but am looking forward to the reveal. Very interesting language!

  4. bennie says:

    A Brazilian Amazonian language, maybe?

  5. I don’t know why, but I’m hearing bits that are reminiscent of the Pacific islands for me.

  6. Aniruddha says:

    African language…this is a gut feeling 🙂

  7. Simon says:

    Trond Engen has got closest so far – It is spoken in West Africa, but isn’t Wolof or Soninke.

  8. Chris Miller says:

    Hmmm. I hear something that sounds like overall tonal downdrift at the phrasal level, but I’m not sure this is a tonal language, even one with only two level tones. With the glottalised stops (perhaps phonologically implosives) and the geminates and long vowels, I’ll toss out another guess that this might be one of the (non-tonal) Fulani dialects that are spoken in a discontinuous band across the Sahel from eastern Nigeria through to Guinea, Senegal and Gambia. Fulani is part of the West Atlantic family, like Wolof.

  9. Simon says:

    The answer is Western Fufulde, a Niger-Congo language spoken mainly in Benin, Niger and Nigeria.

    The recording comes from the Global Recordings Network.

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