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.

14 Responses to Language quiz

  1. joe mock says:

    Sounds like it could be Sardinian?

  2. phanmo says:

    @joe mock
    I was going to say Corsican, so we’re on the same page!

  3. Rauli says:

    Clearly something related to Italian, but I don’t know much about its relatives.

  4. Ned says:

    closely related to Italian – my guess would be more Northern Italy than Southern judging by the stress.

  5. joe mock says:

    The definite article with s- gives it away – that only happens in balearic catalan and sardinian, as far as I know, and this isn’t catalan.

  6. David Eger says:

    The voicing of initial s in sempre and santu reminds me of the pronunciation of initial s in German. I don’t speak Italian, but this is not, as far as I am aware, a feature of Standard Italian. An uneducated guess, but it could be from somewhere along the Northern borders, neighbouring a German-speaking region.

  7. Absent Martian says:

    In view of the definite article containing a sibilant (as far as I seem to hear), I’m guessing Sardinian, which derived the article from Latin ipse, instead of ille.

  8. Roger Bowden says:

    Italian dialect, I would guess Corsican or Ligurian.

  9. Christopher Miller says:

    Definitely one of the dialects of Sardinian, though which I wouldn’t know. The “vergine” and another word with /č/ are probably loans from Italian, since Sardinian itself never palatalised the /k/ before /e/ and /i/, unlike all other Romance languages (thinkg ‘kimbe’ — five — compared to Italian ‘cinque’).

  10. David Eger says:

    “…‘kimbe’ — five — compared to Italian ‘cinque’”

    That’s very interesting, C.M. Is that b an ancient relic from P-Celtic?

  11. joe mock says:

    on a vaguely related topic – some of you might remember discussing the origin of the ‘p’ in Gaidhlig piuthar? I said it was from the w in the I.E. initial sw-. That does indeed seem to be the case – browsing through a comparative celtic grammar (Pedersen?) I found the Old Irish word for sister was siur which irregularly lenites to fiur – the f being what’s left of the w. Piuthar is then a back formation, but not from sh- as someone suggested.

  12. Simon says:

    The answer is Sardinian (Campidanese), a variety of Sardinian spoken in southern Sardinia.

    The recording comes from the GRN.

  13. Christopher Miller says:

    For David Eger–

    I don’t think the /b/ in ‘kimbe’ has anything to do with Celtic, no. The fact that it developed in Celtic is because labialised (rounded) velars often develop into their corresponding bilabials across languages. That’s why Proto-Indo-European words with labialised /k/ or /g/ regularly developed into /p/ and /b/ in Greek in various environments, and and vulgar Latin *quatru developed into ‘patru’ in Romanian and ‘battoru’ in Sardinian — and the ‘que’ of ‘quinque’ happened to develop into ‘be’ in Sardinian.

  14. P. says:

    Agh, the one time I wait until Tuesday to check the quiz, and it’s a language I could’ve slam-dunked! Anyone who speaks decent Italian and knows what casu marzu* is will, I suspect, hear those “-u” endings and think Sardinian.

    BTW Sardinian choral music is wild stuff, well worth checking out for those who haven’t heard it — it astonished Frank Zappa, among others.

    *(don’t Google that if you value your lunch)