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, Words and phrases.

9 Responses to Language quiz

  1. Ellie T. says:

    Sounds like a Native American language, but beyond that I can’t really tell.

  2. daydreamer says:

    Seems to be one of those languages fighting for the world record in the category Most Glottal Stops and Tones.
    But then, as the speaker seems to say at the end: You don’t haha!
    Seriously, I guess it’s one of the Hmong languages spoken in Southern China and neighboring Laos, Vietnam and Thailand.

  3. Lynnie says:

    This definitely does not sound anything at all like a South-East Asian language and I’m 99.99% certain that it isn’t!

    It’s much more likely to be an indigenous language of North America.

  4. jonathan says:

    I’ll go with the indigenous North American, and narrow my guess to Athabaskan.

  5. Christopher Miller says:

    I’m pretty certain this is an Iroquoian language (being read haltingly from the page) but whether it’s Mohawk or another one I can’t tell.

  6. Trond Engen says:

    I see that the answer is in, but I’ll try not to read it. I think I hear that the speaker is more familiar with English, so I’ll say a North American language. The weird phonology pulls me westwards. One of those recently extinct Californian languages?

    (But I’m probably off by half the world as usual. My wife says Tibetan. And my son says it sounds like the Maya leader in Civilization.)

  7. Dan, ad nauseam says:

    There are a lot of tones, but the tonal pattern and phonology doesn’t sound east Asian.

  8. Simon says:

    The answer is Cayuga (Goyogo̱hó:nǫ’), an Iroquoian language spoken mainly along the Grand River in southern Ontario, Canada.

    The recording comes from the GRN.

  9. Christopher Miller says:

    About the tones people hear… Iroquoian languages tend to be tonal accent languages, in other words they have (like Swedish, Danish or southern Slavic languages) specific tonal contours associated with the accented syllable of a word. But as far as I know, they don’t work like typical tonal languages where every syllable can or must have a distinct associated tone: the tone is a property of the word and its prominent syllable.