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.

12 Responses to Language quiz

  1. LAttilaD says:

    Upon acoustic observation, I would swear it’s Arabic. But it isn’t, it’s slightly different, at least one tʃ and one ts can be heard, and the music of the speech is something not Arabic. A close relative language or a slightly different dialect of Arabic.

  2. Drabkikker says:

    Perhaps a modern Aramaic dialect?

  3. David Eger says:

    Definitely not Arabic, although there are some similar sounds, so possibly from somewhere where Arabic is the dominant language. I think a modern Aramaic dialect (perhaps Assyrian) is a likely candidate. Contunuing along the Semitic route, Syriac might be another possiblity.

    I also considered the non-Semitic possibility of its being one of the Caucasian languages but, if that were the case, I would expect more phonetic influence from Russian than from Arabic.

  4. Daydreamer says:

    I’d pick a Berber language, maybe Shluh spoken in Morocco or Tamashek spoken by the Tuareg in Mali, Niger and elsewhere.

  5. prase says:

    To me it sounds vaguely Turkic, although it’s certainly not Turkish. I guess Yakut.

  6. Daydreamer says:

    It’s certainly not Yakut or any other Turkic language.
    I’d rather be right, at last, with my all time favourite guess: Hassaniya spoken in Mauritania.

  7. d.m.falk says:

    I’m with Daydreamer on it being a Berber language.


  8. Drabkikker says:

    @ David: No, I’ve studied Syriac, and this is not it. In fact I’m starting to doubt my modern Aramaic guess more and more. It’s too “Arabic-like”, but for the and ts sounds that LAttilaD pointed out. Perhaps Daydreamer is closer with the Berber suggestion, or maybe we should look towards Ethiopia?

  9. Joe Mock says:

    What about one of those funny little South Arabic languages?

  10. David Eger says:

    Amharic crossed my mind, but I don’t think it would qualify as a minority language. One of the Semitic languages spoken in Eritrea – Tigre or Tigrinya (or another, if there are any) – is a possibility.

    I am not familiar enough with the Semitic languages (despite going to weekly Hebrew calsses as a child) to know whether this definitely is one. Daydreamer’s suggestion of a Berber language seems likely (although I’ve never knowingly heard one of them), given the phonetic similarities with Arabic. Another possibility might be one of the Cushitic languages of E. Africa – e.g Somali (but probably not that one, as it’s not a minority language within Somalia).

  11. Simon says:

    The answer is Central Atlas Tamazight (Tamaziġt / ⵜⴰⵎⴰⵣⵉⵖⵜ), a Berber language spoken in Morocco.

    The recording comes from the GRN.

  12. d.m.falk says:

    Daydreamer and I were right (me, for once!)… The tip-off for me was the mix of Arabic loanwords and words with “zh” sounds at or near their ends, a characteristic of some Berber languages.

    (I was going to originally say Amazigt, specifically, but Tamazigt is close enough to my guess. 🙂 )


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