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.

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)

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