Language quiz

Here’s a recording of a story in a mystery language.

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

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This entry was posted in Language, Quiz questions.

8 Responses to Language quiz

  1. Matthew says:

    Ubykh, a now-extinct language which was spoken along the Black Sea in Turkey, first jumped to mind. The last native speaker died in 1992.

  2. Kevin says:

    It sounds to me like a dialect of Breton — though presumably, since you ask where it WAS spoken, an extinct one.

  3. Christopher Miller says:

    Definitely sounds like a language of the Caucasus to me. I keep hearing [xoda] recurring with what sounds like it might possibly be inflectional morphology, and can’t help wondering if this might be a borrowing of the Persian خُدا /xodâ/ ‘God’, which is a not unlikely thing to happen in a Caucasian-region language. I was thinking this might possibly be the lone language from the Indo-Iranian family on the northern side of the Caucasus range (whose name escapes me now — its speakers had their own Associative (?) Soviet Socialist Republic back in the day), but the overall sound has too many of the consonant clusters so typical of the Caucasus Sprachbund for me to be certain that that is what it is, rather than just one of the small language in the region that would have borrowed this word from Persian.

  4. Yenlit says:

    I know what this is only because I’ve heard this recording before so I won’t spoil it for others. It does have a sorta “Frenchy” sound to it, though (that isn’t a clue by the way!)

  5. Daydreamer says:

    Think Ossete is the language Chris had on his mind. But, since it is not extinct and is said to have half a million speakers still, it doesn’t qualify for the answer.
    So, along with Matthew, I go for Ubych.

  6. Tigerfire says:

    I’m going to have to say that it is Abkhaz or Abaza, not Ubykh.

  7. Simon says:

    The answer is Ubykh (ТВaҳəбзa / Twaxəbza), a North West Caucasian language that was once spoken on the eastern coast of the Black Sea around Sochi in the Russian Federation, and also in Turkey.

    The recording comes from Langues et civilisations à tradition orale, which also has other recordings of the last native speaker of Uybkh, Tevfik Saniç, who died in 1992. The story is entitled Eating fish makes you clever.

  8. prase says:

    @C.Miller: Soviet Socialist Republics were Autonomous.