Language quiz

Here’s a recording in a mystery language.

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

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This entry was posted in Language, Quiz questions.

13 Responses to Language quiz

  1. David Eger says:

    Funny – When the clip started, before I’d turned off Radio 4, I thought I was hearing a very northern dialect of Welsh. But, no, it sure ain’t Welsh of any kind.

    I’m willing to guess that it’s a Semitic language, maybe from somewhere in East Africa. Having done a little reading, I’ll go a step further and say Inor.

  2. Roger Bowden says:

    My guess would be a native North American language but I can’t be any more specific than that.

  3. acutia says:

    I’d agree with Roger, definitely Native American, most likely in the Athabaskan grouping but I’ve no idea which language.

  4. P. says:

    Wild guess: Crow?

  5. St’át’imcets? Tlingit? It sounds like a language spoken in the Pacific Northwest or thereabouts.

  6. Petréa Mitchell says:

    I’m thinking North American too, although my wild guess is Lakota.

  7. Chris Miller says:

    Two things that make me think this isn’t a Pacific Northwest language:

    1) None of the long sequences of consonants without vowels that are such a typical areal feature.
    2) Nasal vowels [î] and [ã], which as far as I know (though I may be mistaken here) don’t occur in Pacific Northwest languages. They do appear in Siouan languages, like Lakhota.

    Add to this what sounds like high tones and I would be sorely tempted to think this might be Lakhota — except that as far as I know, Lakhota doesn’t have voiceless lateral fricatives, which abound in this recording. Hmm.

    Perhaps Tlingit, as Chris Sundita suggested, or Kwakwala? I’m still not sure because of those nasal vowels…

  8. D.O'Donovan says:

    I’m interested to hear the result, here.

    Another matter – off topic, I’m afraid.

    I’m trying to find which languages give glass a feminine gender – in as many ancient and modern (to 15thC) languages as possible.

    Not sure where to go to put the question. Most polygot chat- and mailing-lists seem to have ended back in the early 2000’s.

    If you could recommend a site where I might have a chance to contact linguists and put the question, I’d be most grateful.

  9. andreb says:

    Slavey? Navajo?

  10. Simon says:

    Here’s a clue: this language is spoken in South America, mainly in Argentina and Boliva.

  11. Quechua would be my guess, then. I hear ejective consonants.

  12. Daydreamer says:

    Spoken in Bolivia and Argentina Aymará would be a logical guess. But I’m pointing at Toba, cos I can’t hear stress on the penultimate syllable, which is said to be a feature of Aymará.

  13. Simon says:

    The answer is Wichí Lhamtés Nocten or Weenhayek, a member of the Wichí branch of Matacoan languages spoken mainly in Bolivia, and also in Argentina.

    The recording comes from the GRN (The Lost Sheep).