Language quiz

Here’s a recording in a mystery language.

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

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This entry was posted in Language, Quiz questions.

16 Responses to Language quiz

  1. Daydreamer says:

    Something inside tells me that this language is spoken in the Amazonian region of South America; but no further explanation from inside.

  2. Christopher Miller says:

    Without listening very closely, I get the impression of a Central Algonkian language, but not necessarily Cree.

  3. Trond Engen says:

    I think it’s North American, but every time I say that it turns out to come from further south.

  4. Chris Miller says:

    I’ll hazard a further guess that this might be Menominee.

    I hear things that remind me very much of Cree: maci- which corresponds to a Cree preformative meaning ‘bad’, kaa- which is a verbal formative used for relative verbs (and perhaps other purposes if I remember correctly), and a particular speech rhythm involving clear alternations between short and fully long vowelled syllables.

    The one thing that makes me think I may be off is the [dz] I hear at one point. If this is phonemic, then that would not be typical for an Algonkian language, at least one in the central group. I hear [ts] elsewhere, which in many Cree dialects is a variant pronunciation for /c/. I imagine this may be what this [ts] is here, and the [dz] just a voiced intervocalic variant.

  5. P. says:

    Something in the Tupi–Guarani family?

  6. Jonathan says:

    I’m actually going to guess it’s Cree, spoken in Canada. The [dz] is probably an alteration on [ts], I remember learning in a linguistics class of Cree as an example of languages with voiced/unvoiced allophonic pairs…..

  7. Chris Miller says:

    Just from the phrasing, it sounds like a set of sentences in a list, probably a prayer and perhaps the Our Father/Lord’s Prayer.

  8. Simon says:

    Here’s a clue: this language is spoken mainly in Brazil and Venezuela.

  9. Trond Engen says:

    OK. So for no other reason: Macushi.

  10. Trond Engen says:

    Should we posit a Carib-Algonkian connection? Issue a de-Cree?

  11. Chris Miller says:

    My first thought would be Yąnomamɨ, but the phonological description I could find online doesn’t seem to fit with what I hear here: no clearly nasal vowels, and nothing in the description about a clear short/long vowel distinction.

    I’ll just have to sit back and wait to be surprised, I guess!

    PS Tood–
    Who knokws, maybe there were some Algonkian language speakers sometime in the past who were REALLY good canoeists! :-) Cîmân oh man!

  12. Simon says:

    Here’s another clue: this is an Arawakan language.

  13. Daydreamer says:

    What about Guarequena /Warekena?

  14. P. says:

    I don’t know much about that language family, but: Wayuu?

  15. Simon says:

    The answer is Baniwa, an Arawakan language spoken in Brazil and Venezuela.

    The recording comes from the Global Recordings Network.

  16. Seumas says:

    This will sound bizarre (coming from a Scottish Gaelic speaker) but at the very start I thought, “Wow, this sounds like someone speaking another Celtic language… I can’t understand it but I wonder if it’s the Lord’s Prayer?”