Name the language

Here’s a recording in a mystery language. Do you know or can you guess which language it is?

21 thoughts on “Name the language

  1. I think I can recognize some bits like ‘och’, ‘nya’, ‘nu’, so I would say it’s a Scandinavian language. Some parts sound very ‘Finnish’ to me, although it’s definitely Germanic language. It may be something ‘exotic’, like Elfdalian spoken in Dalarna, Sweden.

  2. I realize this is completely unrelated, but I found a fantastic word I thought I should share with all of you.

    Properispomenon – a word that has a circumflex on the penultimate syllable

  3. I think I remember the voice of Ronald Kyrmse and it’s a Conlang, isn’t it?
    Otherwise it sounds like a mixture of Slavonic, Romance and, for a lesser part, Turkic. So I would locate the language in the Eastern part of the Balkans.

  4. As a native speaker of Swedish, I don’t think it is Danish or a scandinavian language at all. I am however, only familiar with the standard dialects and not very familiar with smaller dialects, so there is a slight possibility that I’m wrong. In the end, I think i heard something like “ihre wohne in”, possibly indicating a germanic-ish flavor to it…

  5. At first I guessed Latvian, however after reading the other comments about Danish I started to think about Scandinavian languages. As a compromise, I guess now it is a Baltic language with a strong Germanic influence, and thus Prussian (unfortunately extinct, so this will hardly be the correct answer).

  6. As a native Danish speaker, I agree with Mathias that it definitely isn’t Danish. But I do think it is a Scandinavian language. My guess is Icelandic. I think I heard some pre-aspirated consonants and some words ending in -ur, both common phenomena in Icelandic.

  7. Not Flemish either, sorry. But I don’t have a clue what it might be then… I don’t think it’d be a conlang though. That’s not, well, Simon’s style ;-).

  8. @ Daydreamer: Thanks for the memories! But no, it isn’t I.
    Which reminds me of the joke you may have heard or read: Someone knocks at the gates of Heaven. St Peter (or whoever you fancy) calls from inside: “Who is it?”, and the reply is: “It is I!” Whereupon the gatekeeper: “Holy shit, another English teacher!”. 😉
    Indeed, I wonder what the mystery language is…

  9. Michael Farris is right – it is Faroese (Føroyskt), which is spoken in the Faroe Islands (Føroyar).

    The recording comes from the YouTube, which includes a
    transcription and English translation of the text.

  10. Ronald Kyrmse,

    That reminds me of an ongoing debate I have with Armenians. When they want to say, “It is I” for instance when at the door or on the phone, they say
    “Yes em” literally translated, “I am.”
    I always argue that they should say “Yes eh”
    “It (pronoun assumed) is I.”

    Just the same, the use of the negative 2nd person verb form of “to be” with first person singular subject is considered by most Americans to be correct. I’m right, aren’t I?

    But, I get scolded for using “ain’t” in those situations when everyone else uses “aren’t”

    I take “a’in’t” to mean “am I not”

  11. How I figured it out, I didn’t, I made a lucky guess.

    At first I thought it was something Turkic or maybe
    Armenian or something caucasion (the general enunciation of which seems similar to Turkic to me).

    I had no idea it was Germanic until other people pointed out hearing Germanic vocabulary . After flirting with the idea that it was Estonian, I more or less guessed Faroese since I thought Icelandic was too obvious (and I wasn’t hearing any dental fricatives).

    After posting that guess, I decided to find out what Faroese sounds like and before I knew it I had come across the same excerpt used in the sample.

    In general Faroese seems to have a low sound to symbol correspondence.

  12. But Estonian isn’t Germanic or Indo-European. Estonian, Basque, Finnish: these are the only non Indo-European languages spoken in Europe.

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