10 thoughts on “Language Quiz

  1. A lot of clicks and lateral fricatives, so it’s obviously something from South Africa, but I’m not sure what exactly. Zulu or Xhosa or something related.

  2. I’m going to guess a language spoken in Africa, not in the Bantu family, and spoken in the southern part of the continent. I was also going to guess that it was a Khoisan language, but apparently that’s an obsolete term based on incorrect assumptions that means “non-Bantu language spoken in the South”.

  3. The large number of affricates and some, but not many, clicks is leading me towards Sotho.

  4. The clicks certainly make me think it is from southern Africa. Sotho, Xhosa or Zulu?

  5. Definitely a Southern Bantu language. There are clicks (but not as many as in the Khoe or San languages, which have closer to one click per word), lateral fricatives, velar fricatives, and aspirated stops/affricates. Whether it’s Zulu, Xhosa, Ndebele, Sotho, etc., sadly I cannot tell. I also hear nasalized vowels without a nasal nearby, if that helps.

  6. I agree that it’s probably a Bantu language from southern Africa, but the text doesn’t show many repetitions of prefixes that would help to identify it. The only one I think I picked up clearly was /un-/.

  7. I have listened through the file a few times to see if I can distinguish any words:

    -The first word sounds like abaxolanga /aɓakǁolaːᵑɡa/, which I see on Wiktionary would be the Class 2 conjugation of the negative past absolute form of the verb ‘forgive’ in Xhosa or ‘be content/resigned/at peace’ in Zulu. (Nice click!)
    -Then at 0:10 and again at 0:23 I hear umhlâba /úḿ̩ɬâːɓa/ ‘earth, land’, which according to Wiktionary could be Zulu, Xhosa, or Swazi.
    -The umhlâba at 0:23 is followed by what sounds like ikhilomitha /ikʰilomiːtʰa/ ‘kilometer’, the Zulu or Xhosa rendition of the English word.
    -The second to last word sounds like either the verb root phéla /pʰéːla/ ‘end’ in Zulu, Xhosa, or Swazi, or the adverb phela /pʰêːla/ ‘really’ in Zulu.
    -I hear Tyotyombeni /c̟ʼoc̟ʼoᵐbeːni/ at 0:01. I don’t see that on Wiktionary or Google Translate, but it does show up as a place name in a wine region 70km east of Cape Town. The ty /c̟ʼ/ sound does not occur in Zulu, but does occur in Xhosa. That, plus the fact that the most widely spoken Bantu language in the Cape Town area is Xhosa, pushes me to guess Xhosa as the language in the recording.

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