2 thoughts on “Language quiz

  1. Lots of vowels and very sonorant consonants, and only a few fairly simple stops and fricatives strewn about.

    I did here a single lateral fricative [ɬ] or affricate [tɬ] (0:30), one or two labialized velars [kʷ] (0:28, 0:33), and maybe two examples of a weakly ejective [p’] right after one another (0:32).

    I think I hear nasalized vowels, a few examples of a back/central unrounded vowel [ɯ]/[ɨ]/[ɤ], and the rhythm suggests lexical tone or lexical pitch accent.

    These all suggested to me a language of the Americas, so I used the wals.info database to identify all the languages in their database that have either a lateral fricative or obstruent and also have nasalized vowels. That produced this map: http://wals.info/combinations/8A_10A?v9=cfff&v8=cfff&v6=cfff&v7=cfff&v0=cfff&v1=cfff#2/27.3/157.2

    In the Americas, that includes Navajo and Slave(y) of the Athabaskan family, and Koasati and Yuchi of the Muskogean family. (From my experience working on Chickasaw, another member of the Muskogean family, I can add that language to the list. And I’m sure many other Athabaskan languages could also be included.) Outside of the Americas, it includes one language of the Caucasus: Hunzib.

    Throwing the ejectives in there doesn’t really change things much: http://wals.info/combinations/10A_8A_7A?v16=cfff&v11=cfff&v68=cfff&v66=cfff&v69=cfff&v65=cfff&v63=cfff&v61=cfff&v48=cfff&v46=cfff&v47=cfff&v49=cfff&v71=cfff&v53=cfff&v41=cfff&v28=cd00&v40=cfff&v44=cfff&v51=cfff&v52=cfff&v43=cfff&v42=cfff&v50=cfff&v15=cfff&v1=cfff&v0=cfff&v2=cfff&v3=cf60&v6=cfff&v8=cf6f#2/16.7/148.7

    Since I can’t confidently guess any single language, can I ask if this language is in either the Athabaskan or Muskogean families?

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