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.

10 Responses to Language quiz

  1. Roger Bowden says:

    Not Arabic or Turkic sounds like Tajik or similar Persic tongue, almost a hint of slavic influence.

  2. Rauli says:

    The only thing I understand are the greetings in the beginning. I can’t even tell if it’s a Semitic language or just influenced by one. I tried googling for some of the words, but when I don’t know how they are spelt, it’s quite difficult.

    Would like to know what the [pʰistuʃ] means just after the middle of the file. It’s so separate from its surroundings.

  3. To my (totally untrained) ears, it sounds like a Slavic language, with several elements of Arab. The greeting suggests one of the Muslim countries that formerly belonged to the USSR.

  4. Christopher Miller says:


    The Russian accent here suggests a language socially and politically subordinated to Russian for a lomg period of time. It sounds vaguely Turkic with the high central/high back voewl (I can’t tell without another careful listen). The words are too short for Turkic languages though, and I hear none of the typical pile-ups of grammatical affixes accompanied by vowel harmony. As well, I don’t seem to hear signs of what would sound like the (nearly) exclusively word-final stress typical of Turkic languages. No ejectives, no pharyngeals or long consonant clusters typical of Caucasian-family languages. So that basically, as far as I can see, leaves a language of the formerly Soviet Caucasus north of Armenia and Azerbaijan that is neither Caucasian nor Turkic. Which as far as I know leaves Ossetic or perhaps some other Indo-Iranian language I haven’t thought of.

  5. Simon says:

    Here’s a clue – this is a Northeast Caucasian language.

  6. Daydreamer says:

    Thanks to Simon’s help it’s clear that it’s one of the 30something languages spoken in the Daghestan region of Russia, but I don’t know which one
    Just a guess: Lezgi.

  7. Tigerfire says:

    Avar? Or Dargwa or Lak?

  8. Simon says:

    Daydreamer – your guess is right – the answer is Lezgi (лезги чӀал), a Northeast Caucasian language spoken mainly in the Russian republic of Dagestan and in northern Azerbaijan.

    The recording comes from the GRN.

  9. Chris Miller says:

    The Caucasian region: one of the world’s bingo ball bowls of languages! :-)

  10. Tigerfire says:

    Imagine living there. Gotta love Dagestan.

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