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.

15 Responses to Language quiz

  1. BenBob says:

    I’t just gonna throw something out there and say a Filipino language. Not one of the more common ones like Tagalog, Illocano, Cebuano or the like, but possibly a smaller dialect of one of them.

  2. lukas says:

    There’s a lot of Arabic in there, but the phonology isn’t so Arabic. Maltese, maybe?

  3. Eee says:

    Sure sounds Austronesian, but I can’t place it much better than that. I’m pretty sure it’s not a Philippine language, though. The f sound is tripping me up.

  4. jmock says:

    I agree Austronesian, and my first reaction was northern Philippines, but I’m not sure.

  5. Jim M. says:

    Yes, there are some Arabic words in there, I think. And it does sound Austronesian, but not one of the Malay/Indonesian set. Could still be a Filipino language.

  6. Simon says:

    It is an Austronesian language, but isn’t spoken in the Philippines.

  7. Chris Miller says:

    I have the impression, just from the overall structure of the words (which are quite easy to segment in this clip) that this is a Micronesian language. So I’ll take a foolhardy leap and just guess Chamorro. Not that I have any more evidence than what I already mentioned to go on. It could (if my Micronesian guess is right) equally be Yapesse, Ponapean/Pohnpeian, Trukese, Palauan, or one of a host of other languages.

    What I am certain of, from the rhythmic and intonational phrasing, is the the probability is very high that this comes from a religious site and that this is the Christian Lord’s Prayer.

  8. Chris Miller says:

    *…that the probability…

  9. Dennis King says:

    It’s one of the languages of West Timor, isn’t it?

  10. Chris Miller says:


    Could just as well be… It doesn’t sound like a Philippine language, or like any of the western Austronesian/Greater Malayic languages of Indonesia, nor certainly any of the Polynesian languages, so it has to be one of the ones in between, from the Lesser Sunda Islands in the west through Micronesia in the east.

  11. jmock says:

    A chunk of Chamorro that long would have some Spanish loanwords I think

  12. P. says:

    Could it be Tetum?

  13. Eee says:

    In addition to having an f sound (which doesn’t seem like it’s loaned), I don’t hear a velar nasal anywhere in the clip. That ought to narrow it down quite a bit. I would agree that it sounds somewhere between Polynesian and Philippine.

    I wonder, although I could be wildly off: Are there any Bornean languages we could be overlooking, or do those generally fall where you would expect to find them on the continuum?

  14. d.m.falk says:

    Wild guess: Palauan.


  15. Simon says:

    The answer is Dawan (Uab Meto), an Austronesian language spoken mainly in West Timor.

    The recording comes from the GRN

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