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.

13 Responses to Language quiz

  1. cl says:

    Sounds like a Native American or Central Asian language, judging from the faint background music.

  2. TJ says:

    I’d go with something Turkic… or Mongolian. Doesn’t sound like a tonal language so hmm I’m excluding south Asia and the far east.

  3. Christopher Miller says:

    It sounds Turkic to me, and with the velar nasals, I think it’s probably an eastern Turkic language — perhaps Kazakh or Kirghiz?

  4. Trond Engen says:

    Is this a folktale from children’s radio? Whatever the language I think it (or the speaker) is heavily influenced by Russian, and there’s also something that makes me think of Volga Finnic (although that might well be circular). I’ll say Bashkir.

  5. Daydreamer says:

    It certainly has a Turkic sound and probably some sort of vowel harmony, but the vocabulary seems to be quite different from Turkish.
    And doesn’t the speake mention a female Russianized name: Marija Vasandogova?
    Makes me think, too, that it’s a Turkic language spoken in the area of the former Soviet Union. Maybe Tuvin (but then the background music should be throat-singing, hehe) or Yakut.

  6. prase says:

    It sounds like one of the Biblical recordings they have on My hunch is that it may be an Iranian language.

  7. pennifer says:

    I agreed that it is a Turkic or Mongolic language spoken in a former Soviet country, based on the heavy Russian influences and and recitative style. It sounds like a bible story. I also think I’m hearing the word “Burkhan” – which means “god”. I don’t think it’s Altaian, perhaps it’s Buryat?

  8. F says:

    Definitely sounds like a Russian children’s radio story. I heard “Isus”, “Mariy[a?]” and “Yosif”, so presumably something Christian. Definitely sounds Turkic. For no particular reason I’ll guess Tatar.

  9. d.m.falk says:

    Being that it’s an eastern Turkic with heavy Mongolian and Russian influences, I’ll go with Tuvan. (Much of Tuvan music is borrowed from Mongolia, not just throat singing- Tuva has more in common with Mongolia, in spite that Tuvan is Turkic and Mongolian isn’t.)

    (My first thought was Mongolian, but that’s because of the similar pronunciation and cadence- The words, however, didn’t seem Mongolian.)


  10. Vijay John says:

    Gasp! I knew it was a recording from Global Recordings about how Mary was going to have this wonderful son named Jesus, but I was pretty way off on the language. I was hoping all of you were wrong and it was some sort of Caucasian language. But I looked for the recordings of various Caucasian languages and they were wrong.

    Pennifer is right – it IS Buryat! (And how surprised I was to find out!). Global Recordings lists it as “Buriat: Eastern” and says it’s spoken in Russia. (Hence the Russian loanwords, but I guess the music is more Chinese-ish indigenous Buryat). To listen to the clip on Global Recordings, go to and click on the audio icon next to Picture 12. (It’s the first 56 seconds).

  11. Simon says:

    The answer is Buryat (буряад хэлэн), a Mongolic language spoken in mainly in the Republic of Buryatia in the Russian Federation, and also in parts of Mongolia and China.

    The recording comes from the GRN.

  12. pennifer says:

    Woo hoo! Mind you, I only got that because I have spent a lot of time in that region. Any other part of the world, and all I can do is get in the ballpark.

  13. sanchirmaa says:

    it’s not Mongolian cuz I speak Mongolian. You’re absolutely right it’s Buryat language.

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