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. acutia says:

    It sounds Native American, probably from some Canadian first nation. I can’t be more precise than that.

  2. Roger Bowden says:

    I seem to hear Scandinavian influences in a native language and wonder if it might be Greenlandic

  3. P. says:

    Just a guess: Arapaho?

  4. Eee says:

    Something Na-Dene? Tlingit?

  5. Chris Miller says:

    It definitely sounds like an Algonquian language to me, with all the pre-aspirated stops. I think I hear a [θ] a couple of times, so I’ll go along with P. and guess Arapaho.

  6. acutia says:

    I just listened again and I’m sure I heard her say “Adam and Eve” near the end.

  7. d.m.falk says:

    I recognise a lot of words from German, though the speaker isn’t native to it, it seems- My first thought here was Yiddish.


  8. P. says:

    @Chris Miller: Indeed, the [θ] is exactly what led me to Arapaho too!

    @acutia: That’s typical, since many (most?) of the “Language quiz” items seem to come from translated Bible passages. It’s always disconcerting, though, when a Biblical name (Anglicized or Latinized) gets dropped into a reading whose phonemic inventory, speech-rhythms, etc. are otherwise wildly different.

  9. Simon says:

    It is an Algonquian language, but not Arapaho.

    The quiz recordings mostly come from the Global Recordings Network, a collection of recordings of bible stories in hundreds of different languages. I use it because it’s an easy way to get recordings in so many languages.

  10. Simon says:

    The answer is Gros Ventre (Atsina/Ananin/Ahahnelin/Ahe/A’ani), an Algonquian language spoken in Montana in the USA until 1981 and currently being revived.

    The recording comes from the GRN.

  11. P. says:

    Well, at least I was as close as it’s possible to be without actually getting the right answer! 🙂 The voiceless dental fricative really helps to narrow things down whenever it shows up.

  12. Simon says:

    P. – indeed, you were very close, and the voiceless dental fricative certainly does help. I’m always impressed that someone usually identifies the language, or guesses a closely-related one.

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