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 language related to Spanish.

  2. old_nomad says:

    Sounds like a variant of Portuguese. As far as I remember, close relatives of Portuguese are Galego/Galician, Galician-Asturian and Fala.

  3. LAttilaD says:

    This is Carpathian Romani, or Lovari language. Here and there I even understand words in it: o chacho drom = the true way. I’ve learned the language only from Kalyi Jag song lyrics, so I don’t understand very much, but recognize it well.
    Yes, cl, it is related to Spanish. Just like English… :)

  4. bulbul says:

    Romani, like LAttilaD said, except I think it’s lašo drom = the good way and thus not Carpathian, where it would be ‘lačho’. It’s a religious text, a sermon or something like that, the first few words refer to the Bible and Jesus.

  5. LAttilaD says:

    Both are present in the text, the speaker says: „lašo drom – o čačo drom”. I don’t know which dialect it is exactly, but in Romani songs known in Hungary, lašo is used, not lačho.

  6. Jas says:

    Sinte Romani from Italy?

  7. Vijay John says:

    Yes, it’s definitely Romani, but I’m not sure what dialect it is, either! I can understand some of what he’s saying (it begins with “E Bìbla ramol sode sas o Žezukrist lašo le manušensa kana,” then two syllables I didn’t recognize, then “p’e phuv”. That means ‘The Bible writes how good Jesus Christ was to the people when (unrecognized, presumably something like “he arrived”?) on the Earth’).

    At first, I was so thrown off by the unfamiliar prosody that I was tempted to say something like Kalderash spoken in Italy! Then I realized, “Wait a minute…’Žezukrist’, with ‘u’ realized as a front vowel? Is this some Vlax variety spoken in France?”

    By the way, about “š” – in some varieties, the equivalent of “čh” sounds a bit like “š,” but it’s not quite the same sound; it’s retroflex, unlike š. At least in the Romanian Kalderash I’m familiar with, and probably some other varieties! But this guy really seems to use š for čh, which is interesting (I don’t think I’ve ever heard that before…). But AFAIK, in all of these varieties, čh is very much distinct from č.

    I think it’s either French Kalderash or French Lovari. Probably French Lovari?

  8. Simon says:

    The answer is Kalderash Romani, a group of Vlax/Vlach dialects spoken by the Kalderash Romani, mainly in Romania.

    The recording comes from the GRN.

  9. Vijay John says:

    “Mainly in Romania” yes, but this particular recording is bound to be from France. It really doesn’t sound like Romanian Kalderash!

  10. LAttilaD says:

    Vijay John, isn’t it manušenca [manuʃentsa]? In the Hungarian dialect, this form means „with people” (manush = man).

  11. Vijay John says:

    LAttilaD, I think both spellings are acceptable: manušenca or manušensa. The “c”-spelling might be more phonetically accurate (in this recording, for example!), but I see the “s”-spelling all the time, too 😉

  12. LAttilaD says:

    Thank you, Vijay John :)

  13. Vijay John says:

    You’re welcome! :)

    I just noticed something interesting about the link Simon provided: This recording comes from Track 2, which I think is French Kalderash, but Track 4 on the same page is in a different variety of Kalderash (I think American Kalderash). Notice that Track 4 has something like “Baibl” instead of the “Bibla” in Track 2, and the “l”s also sound darker (closer to what I normally hear in many varieties of Romani). The recordings on seem to be Swedish Kalderash (“Švedo” is mentioned at least a few times), and I think is Greek Kalderash (“Jesus Hristos” instead of the “Žezükrist” we heard here).

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