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:

    some native american language?

  2. Roger says:

    Sounds like an Innuit language.

  3. Trond Engen says:

    I want those nasals to be East Asian. Also, I don’t recognize any western loans. But then, there are repeated sequences that make me think of agglutination. A Formosan language? After a cursory glance through the phonology section of Wikipedia’s article on Formosan languages I land on Puyuma.

    But I’ve been off by half the earth for a long time now, so this probably isn’t worth much.

  4. d.m.falk says:

    It’s a native (North) American language, and it sounds like it’s from a sermon before an audience. My first impression was Navajo, but I think it’s some other related language.

    Speaking of, local language Yurok may be introduced as a high-school language course here in Eureka, California this fall.


  5. Eee says:

    Seems to have a lot of the consonants of an Iroquoian language.

  6. Vijay John says:

    You know what, my first language is Malayalam, and at first, I thought maybe this was an Indian language! I heard “onga” a lot (which reminded me of a language called Onge, but it’s definitely not that language), and I even heard what sounded like “pakshe” mispronounced (that’s the Malayalam word for ‘but’)!

    Anyway, it doesn’t look like it’s an Inuit language. I have my doubts about Iroquoian, too, because I’m pretty sure I heard at least one retroflex fricative, and it doesn’t look like Iroquoian languages have that. I’m not even sure about Athabaskan, but then what could it be?

  7. Simon says:

    It is a Native American language and is spoken in the south east of the USA.

  8. Vijay John says:

    In that case, I think it’s either Cherokee or some Muskogean language (probably either Choctaw or Seminole) and is also spoken in Oklahoma (and possibly elsewhere in the US). So I guess I was wrong about that retroflex fricative, because it looks like none of those languages have it.

  9. Simon says:

    Vijay John got closest – the answer is Mikasuki (a.k.a. Miccosukee / Hitchiti-Mikasuki) a Muskogean language spoken in southern Florida by about 500 people.

    The recording comes from the GRN

  10. Vijay John says:

    Why do you say that recording is in Mikasuki and not in Seminole/Muscogee/Creek (Mvskoke)?

  11. Simon says:

    Mikasuki, Seminole and Creek are names of tribes. Mikasuki and Creek are also the names of languages. The Seminole speak either Mikasuki or Creek. As far as I can discover, Seminole is not a language.

  12. Vijay John says:

    Wikipedia uses “Seminole” and even “Creek-Seminole” as synonyms for Creek. The article on Creek itself is entitled “Muscogee language,” yet another term for the same language. The ISO code for this language is “mus.” However, it does not seem to use “Seminole” as a synonym for Mikasuki.

    GRN similarly uses “Seminole” to mean Creek. If you take a look at the main page for “Seminole,” you will see that it lists the ISO Language Name as “Muskogee” with the same code “mus” that is used for Creek. (The Ethnologue entry on Muskogee also lists “Creek” as an alternative name).

    However, GRN specifically claims that it does NOT have any recordings in Mikasuki. (I tried to include links in this post, but I got a message saying that it looked spammy).

  13. Vijay John says:

    Here’s where Wikipedia uses “Seminole” and “Creek-Seminole” to mean Creek:,
    (where it says “Creek-Seminole (AKA…Seminole)”). I think I have to include at least that link for the previous post to be clear!

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