Here’s a recording in a mystery language.
Can you identify the language, and do you know where it’s spoken?
Something from the Americas but can’t really tell where exactly! This is what I feel at least….
An American language, I would think. There’s /tl/, which might point to Nahuatl or a relative of it, but it doesn’t sound much like the (obviously Hispanified) Nahuatl of globalrecordings.net. Also, it seems to me that there’s no plain /l/. That combination might point to northwestern NA. But it doesn’t sound particularly Athabascan to me, so I’ll go for a deviant cousin: Tlingit.
This one I know. It’s not an American language.
Oh, damn. I almost guessed that one. I was right about the phonology, then.
It’s not Tlingit at all. Tlingit has /sʼ/, /ɬʼ/, /xʼ/, /xʼʷ/, /χʼ/, and /χʼʷ/, along with a complete series of ejective obstruents, all relatively common in ordinary speech. It also has at least two lexical tones, which this language doesn’t.
I haven’t heard this version of the prodigal son before, which doesn’t match Kulikova’s translation of the passage from Luke (though it’s close in a few places), but I think I’m hearing affricates in ӈинчьэн [ŋint͡ɕʔen], чымӄык [t͡ɕəmqək], гаймычьын [ɣajmət͡ɕʔən], чывинин [t͡ɕəβinin], which suggests to me a more westerly part of the region (as opposed to the fricatives you hear in more easterly areas). So I’m going to guess that it was recorded in Pevek, in the Chaunski dialect.
OK, so I wasn’t right about the phonology, but I was right about my only phonological clue. Anyway, I should have known better than guessing Tlingit. It’s not that long since I read about all those phonemes.
That’s as close as it gets to an American language without being from America, isn’t it?
The answer is Chukchi (Луоравэтлан), a Chukotko-Kamchatkan language spoken by about 10,400 people in northeastern Siberia, mainly on the Chukchi peninsula or Chukotka.
The recording comes from the Global Recordings Network.
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