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.

9 Responses to Language quiz

  1. Alan Shaw says:

    It’s like Taiwanese but I think not Taiwanese, because the copula appears to be ‘hai’ rather than ‘xi’. So maybe something further south.

  2. Christopher Miller says:

    Well, I’m pretty sure this is one of the southern Sinitic languages, but which one…

    I don’t think it’s Cantonese, with the fully voiced initials e.g. [b], and what sounds like ‘jongnyin’ (forget the tones’ could plausiby be equivalent to Mandarin ‘zhongren’ (Chinese person). If that guess is right, then finding out which language uses ‘nyin’ would help.

  3. Lynnie says:

    I’d go for Hakka or one of the Gan dialects spoken in Jiangxi and Hunan provinces.

    But it’s definitely not Cantonese!

  4. Dan, ad nauseam says:

    Phonologically, it’s not too far removed from Mandarin, but there are differences.

  5. Alan Shaw says:

    @ Christopher Miller: it’s not likely that this recording which mentions God and Jesus also contains the word for ‘Chinese person’. And correct that it is not Cantonese.

  6. Chris Waugh says:

    I agree, definitely something from southeastern China.

    @Christopher Miller: I’ve never heard anybody say “zhongren”. A Chinese person would be zhōngguórén or huárén.

  7. Christopher Miller says:

    Good point, Chris Waugh. I’m working from only a sketchy knowledge of Mandarin in the first place.

    Alan Shaw – do tell! Not obvious to someone who doesn’t know the terms in this language, but guessing from your hint, I imagine that ‘Yasu’ must mean ‘Jesus’. I would take it that ‘siongsan’ (again, abstracting from tones) may be the equivalent of Mandarin ‘xiangshen’ or Sino-Japanese sensei = ‘teacher’ or ‘rabbi’.

  8. Simon says:

    The answer is Hakka (客家话/客家話), a variety of Chinese spoken in south east China, Taiwan and Hong Kong, and among overseas Chinese communities.

    The recording comes from the GRN.

  9. Michael Ly says:

    “Chung-ngìn” / “chung3-ngin5” in Hakka Pha̍k-fa-sṳ (Phak8-fa3-sü3, with numbers going 阴 then 阳), which does correspond to “zhòngrén” (notice the tones), is 眾人 / 众人 in Chinese characters. Quite a common word in Chinese versions of the Bible.

    I’m interested to know where the fully voiced [b] can be found…

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