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Obscure Language Game

Posted: Sat Feb 16, 2013 1:44 am UTC
by Alexius
So, I've been playing this game on another forum, and I thought I might give it a try here. Basically, you post some text in an obscure language or dialect and people try to guess which language it is. Please don't cheat by Googling...

There are no hard-and-fast rules- you don't have to make a successful guess before you post one or anything.

So, here are some snippets of varying difficulty:
Lehenagokoak dira ibaia eta mendiak.
Aspaldikoak lurra eta bidea.
Antzinako bizitza salatzen dute harresi kondarrek.
Nork erabaki zuen hau zela tokia?
Nork jaso zuen aurreneko babeslekua?
Ze izar dirdirak zehaztu zituen koordenadak?


Genys frank ha par yw oll tus an bys yn aga dynita hag yn aga gwiryow. enduys yns gans reson ha kowses hag y tal dhedhans omdhon an eyl orth y gila yn spyrys a vrederedh.


Ti ene e glossama? Pedaimmu! 'En i' lloja tze charti, ka 'su pianni ce mattenni meletonta; c' 'en i' lloja ka vrikane grammena 's kane mmea paleon lisari,'s ena tticho kau stin grutta. E glossama e' foni, foni manecho.

Me rota pos entzignase, pos ettase 's ema, is tin efer' etturtea, is tin emase prono. Is to tzeri, pedaimmu! 'E ssu ndiazzete n'o tzeri.

Sa llumera e' ppuru e glossama, ka mas termane i zzoi. Tispon evale pleo tzila, tispo fisise 'cipanu n'ai na jiri lion e vampa; ce arte sbinnete, ma ma.

Ti su meni? Lilli statti, enan aspro kulumai: an esu pai n'on enghisi, ma mia mmavri paletteddha, a pa' n'on escalisi, na! su kanni kammia spitta, sozzi doi mian addhi vvampa; depoi sbinnete, ma sena.


Enjoy, and please do post your own...

Re: Obscure Language Game

Posted: Sat Feb 16, 2013 1:54 am UTC
by Derek
Are those all the same language, or three different languages?

Re: Obscure Language Game

Posted: Sat Feb 16, 2013 9:58 am UTC
by Alexius
Derek wrote:Are those all the same language, or three different languages?

Sorry, they're three different languages.

Re: Obscure Language Game

Posted: Sat Feb 16, 2013 4:52 pm UTC
by Derek
The third one looks like a Romance language. I'm going to throw out Romanian as a random guess.

Re: Obscure Language Game

Posted: Sat Feb 16, 2013 5:31 pm UTC
by Alexius
Derek wrote:The third one looks like a Romance language. I'm going to throw out Romanian as a random guess.

Nope- and it's not a Romance language. That's probably the most difficult of the three...

Re: Obscure Language Game

Posted: Sat Feb 16, 2013 6:22 pm UTC
by gmalivuk
I'm going to guess Basque for the first one, based on only a vague feeling that it looks similar to passages in that language that I've seen before.

The second one looks like it might be something Celtic-ish. This being the obscure language game, I'm furthermore going to guess that it is neither Irish nor Scottish Gaelic, since those might not count as obscure enough for your tastes.

The last one, if you skim through it, looks Italian. You say it's not Romance, so I'm going to guess it might be a language that got its orthography from Italian, if there are any like that?

After Googling (I'm declaring that stuff discovered after "cheating" should go behind spoilers, unless and until the person who posted the original passage reveals it themselves.):
Spoiler:
Turns out I was right on the first one, and on the second one though I would never have been able to guess which particular Celtic language it was. I should have guessed Greek for the third, as that was also a vague suspicion, though once again I wouldn't have ever gotten the correct variety.

Re: Obscure Language Game

Posted: Sat Feb 16, 2013 9:28 pm UTC
by skullturf
I'm also going to guess that the second one is a less-obvious Celtic language. It resembles Welsh a little bit, but I don't think it's Welsh.

Isn't there a Celtic language historically spoken in Brittany in France? Maybe it's that one.

Re: Obscure Language Game

Posted: Sat Feb 16, 2013 9:29 pm UTC
by skullturf
gmalivuk wrote:The last one, if you skim through it, looks Italian. You say it's not Romance, so I'm going to guess it might be a language that got its orthography from Italian, if there are any like that?


Possibly Maltese??

Re: Obscure Language Game

Posted: Sat Feb 16, 2013 11:05 pm UTC
by Alexius
skullturf wrote:I'm also going to guess that the second one is a less-obvious Celtic language. It resembles Welsh a little bit, but I don't think it's Welsh.

Isn't there a Celtic language historically spoken in Brittany in France? Maybe it's that one.

It is Celtic, but neither Welsh nor Breton.

skullturf wrote:
gmalivuk wrote:The last one, if you skim through it, looks Italian. You say it's not Romance, so I'm going to guess it might be a language that got its orthography from Italian, if there are any like that?


Possibly Maltese??

No, not Maltese, though your hunch about the orthography is right.

And gmalivuk was right about Basque (they've now checked by Googling, but it was behind an sblock). Good call on putting stuff discovered by "cheating" behind an sblock...

Anyone else want to post any for people to guess?

Re: Obscure Language Game

Posted: Sun Feb 17, 2013 2:51 pm UTC
by Eugo
Derek wrote:The third one looks like a Romance language. I'm going to throw out Romanian as a random guess.


Definitely not - Romanian has a lot of diacriticals on vowels and a few cedillas on t and s, and doesn't have apostrophes for ellisions - uses hyphens instead.

I'm not even trying to guess beyond what others have already said.

Re: Obscure Language Game

Posted: Sun Feb 17, 2013 4:56 pm UTC
by Volcano99
My submission:

En Pinxo li va dir a en Panxo: Vols que et punxi amb un punxó? I en Panxo li va dir a en Pinxo: Punxa'm però a la panxa no!

Re: Obscure Language Game

Posted: Sun Feb 17, 2013 5:14 pm UTC
by gmalivuk
That one's definitely Romance. The x's make me think Catalan.

Re: Obscure Language Game

Posted: Sun Feb 17, 2013 6:45 pm UTC
by goofy
I'm saying the second is Cornish because of the k's.
Spoilers:

Spoiler:
If the third is some kind of Greek, then what Greek letter does "c" represent?

Re: Obscure Language Game

Posted: Sun Feb 17, 2013 10:12 pm UTC
by Alexius
Number 2 is indeed Cornish.

Spoilers for 3:
Spoiler:
It is a form of Greek- specifically Griko, the Greek dialect spoken in Southern Italy. Some of the c's are kappas, but others may be in Italian loan words. I'm not sure, but Griko is different enough from Demotic Greek (the language currently spoken in Greece) that a direct correlation between Griko and Greek spelling probably doesn't exist


And here's another one from me:

Axcan cuan nonques tlalticpacchanéhque de non altepeme tlami quitzetzeloa neca tliltic amo cuali nemiliz Carrancista, noyolo pahpaqui ihuan itech nin mahuiztica, intoca netehuiloanime-tlatzintlaneca, ihuan nanmechtitlanilia ze páhpaquilizticatlápaloli ihuan ica nochi noyolo niquinyolehua nonques altepeme aquihque cate qui chihuazque netehuiliztle ipampa meláhqui tlanahuatil ihuan amo nen motenecahuilia quitlahtlaczazque in anmocualinemiliz.

And possibly an easier one (different language):
Visi žmonės gimsta laisvi ir lygūs savo orumu ir teisėmis. Jiems suteiktas protas ir sąžinė ir jie turi elgtis vienas kito atžvilgiu kaip broliai.

Re: Obscure Language Game

Posted: Sun Feb 17, 2013 10:22 pm UTC
by goofy
Spoiler:
I'm confused. Is Griko normally written in the Roman alphabet?


Visi žmonės gimsta laisvi ir lygūs savo orumu ir teisėmis. Jiems suteiktas protas ir sąžinė ir jie turi elgtis vienas kito atžvilgiu kaip broliai.


Lithuanian.

Re: Obscure Language Game

Posted: Sun Feb 17, 2013 11:33 pm UTC
by PicNick
Alexius wrote:Number 2 is indeed Cornish.

Spoilers for 3:
Spoiler:
It is a form of Greek- specifically Griko, the Greek dialect spoken in Southern Italy. Some of the c's are kappas, but others may be in Italian loan words. I'm not sure, but Griko is different enough from Demotic Greek (the language currently spoken in Greece) that a direct correlation between Griko and Greek spelling probably doesn't exist


And here's another one from me:

Axcan cuan nonques tlalticpacchanéhque de non altepeme tlami quitzetzeloa neca tliltic amo cuali nemiliz Carrancista, noyolo pahpaqui ihuan itech nin mahuiztica, intoca netehuiloanime-tlatzintlaneca, ihuan nanmechtitlanilia ze páhpaquilizticatlápaloli ihuan ica nochi noyolo niquinyolehua nonques altepeme aquihque cate qui chihuazque netehuiliztle ipampa meláhqui tlanahuatil ihuan amo nen motenecahuilia quitlahtlaczazque in anmocualinemiliz.

And possibly an easier one (different language):
Visi žmonės gimsta laisvi ir lygūs savo orumu ir teisėmis. Jiems suteiktas protas ir sąžinė ir jie turi elgtis vienas kito atžvilgiu kaip broliai.


I'm going to go with Nahuatl, or at least some sort of pre-Columbian language?

Re: Obscure Language Game

Posted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 12:24 am UTC
by Derek
PicNick wrote:I'm going to go with Nahuatl, or at least some sort of pre-Columbian language?

Seconding both parts of this guess.

Re: Obscure Language Game

Posted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 1:15 am UTC
by goofy
Here is my entry.

And:

Gi'gii pii'igo ji'bidagoshi'nan

Re: Obscure Language Game

Posted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 2:11 am UTC
by gmalivuk
Alexius wrote:Axcan cuan nonques tlalticpacchanéhque de non altepeme tlami quitzetzeloa neca tliltic amo cuali nemiliz Carrancista, noyolo pahpaqui ihuan itech nin mahuiztica, intoca netehuiloanime-tlatzintlaneca, ihuan nanmechtitlanilia ze páhpaquilizticatlápaloli ihuan ica nochi noyolo niquinyolehua nonques altepeme aquihque cate qui chihuazque netehuiliztle ipampa meláhqui tlanahuatil ihuan amo nen motenecahuilia quitlahtlaczazque in anmocualinemiliz.
Given the abundance of "tl" and "tz", I concur with the Nahuatl guess.

Re: Obscure Language Game

Posted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 2:40 am UTC
by goofy
Here's another one: name the script.

Re: Obscure Language Game

Posted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 2:59 am UTC
by Chromatos
Looks like a very primitive Brahmic script. I'm not too familiar with them outside of Devanagari, but I do see a few characters that look recognisable.
(And I am apparently unable to quote the above post without being accused of being a spammer)

Re: Obscure Language Game

Posted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 5:35 am UTC
by Derek
Chromatos wrote:Looks like a very primitive Brahmic script. I'm not too familiar with them outside of Devanagari, but I do see a few characters that look recognisable.
(And I am apparently unable to quote the above post without being accused of being a spammer)

You have to have some number of posts (five, I think) before you can post links. Of course, quoting a link would count as posting it :/

Re: Obscure Language Game

Posted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 9:07 am UTC
by Alexius
Correct on both Nahuatl and Lithuanian. More coming soon...

Attn: goofy
Spoiler:
[quote="goofy"]
This Griko newsletter is the longest piece of Griko I can find, and is written in the Roman alphabet. Note that there seem to be two competing orthographies, and each article says which one it's written in...

Re: Obscure Language Game

Posted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 5:01 pm UTC
by goofy
Chromatos wrote:Looks like a very primitive Brahmic script.


Correct. Can anyone be more specific? I posted a few more earlier in the thread as well.

Re: Obscure Language Game

Posted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 11:00 pm UTC
by Alexius
goofy wrote:Here is my entry.


Georgian? Or maybe Armenian?

Re: Obscure Language Game

Posted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 11:12 pm UTC
by Chromatos
I didn't see that earlier one until now, and it's definitely one of the Dravidian languages. Telugu or Kannada would be my guess.

Re: Obscure Language Game

Posted: Tue Feb 19, 2013 3:14 pm UTC
by goofy
Chromatos wrote:I didn't see that earlier one until now, and it's definitely one of the Dravidian languages. Telugu or Kannada would be my guess.


Close enough! It's Telugu.

Re: Obscure Language Game

Posted: Mon Feb 25, 2013 6:16 pm UTC
by Sir Novelty Fashion
epeideper ahah hitootou e s'hai n nshaje etbe nehbeue entautot n het hrai nhetn, kata t'he entautaas etootn ngi nentaunu hn neubal jin n shorp eaushope n huperetec m pshaje, air-hnai ho, eaiouaht nsa hob nim jin n shorp hn ouorj, etras'haisou nak oua oua, kratiste theophile, jekas ekeeime e porj n nhaje entaukathegei mmok nhetou.


And also:

Dd n=f i-Dd n=i pA sxr n Sm i-ir=tn i-r-m na iryw twt r pH nA swt aAyt iw=tn in pA HD im r-b-n-r iw=ten irt hAw=f


And:

gp pt iHy sbAw nmnm pDtyw sdA qsw Akw grr=sn gnmw mA.n=sn NN cha bA m nTr anch m it=f wSb m mwt=f

Re: Obscure Language Game

Posted: Fri Mar 01, 2013 4:00 am UTC
by goofy
Sir Novelty Fashion wrote:...


Now you're just making stuff up.

Well done, the Faction is proud of you.

Re: Obscure Language Game

Posted: Fri Mar 01, 2013 1:06 pm UTC
by Sir Novelty Fashion
goofy wrote:
Sir Novelty Fashion wrote:...


Now you're just making stuff up.

Well done, the Faction is proud of you.


:D

Seriously, though, those are each from a real language, and each of them is a real quotation. To clarify things a little, though:

- None of these is in their original writing-system;
-The top-most one contains a phrase in another, less obscure language, which should provide a clue.

Re: Obscure Language Game

Posted: Fri Mar 01, 2013 2:18 pm UTC
by eSOANEM
By real do you mean they're natural languages?

Re: Obscure Language Game

Posted: Fri Mar 01, 2013 5:12 pm UTC
by Derek
I'm gonna guess "bad OCR" for the middle one, because I don't know any other language with an equals sign.

Re: Obscure Language Game

Posted: Fri Mar 01, 2013 5:40 pm UTC
by gmalivuk
The last two both look constructed, because they're obviously not using the standard values for all those Latin letters.

Re: Obscure Language Game

Posted: Fri Mar 01, 2013 5:41 pm UTC
by Sir Novelty Fashion
eSOANEM wrote:By real do you mean they're natural languages?

Yes.

Derek wrote:I'm gonna guess "bad OCR" for the middle one, because I don't know any other language with an equals sign.

It's a transcription convention. As I said, none of these examples are in their original writing system.

gmalivuk wrote:The last two both look constructed, because they're obviously not using the standard values for all those Latin letters.

Not for all of them, no. It is a transcription, after all.

Another two hints:
Not all phonetic values may be represented in the transcription for the bottom two.
All of these examples are quotations.

Or should I put everyone out of their misery? :P

Re: Obscure Language Game

Posted: Fri Mar 01, 2013 7:18 pm UTC
by eSOANEM
The last two (particularly the last one) seem to be quite happy not marking vowels much so I'm guessing they're usually written in an abjad. That capitalisation seems to be required in some transciption conventions implies a large phonemic or graphemic inventory.

I know that arabic has a large inventory including strident consonants (a quality which could easily be conveyed by capitalisation) so I'm guessing some variety of arabic for one or the other of the last two.

Re: Obscure Language Game

Posted: Sun Mar 03, 2013 12:39 pm UTC
by Sir Novelty Fashion
The last two are from semitic languages, but they're not Arabic.

Re: Obscure Language Game

Posted: Sun Mar 03, 2013 3:36 pm UTC
by eSOANEM
Given the transcription convention I'm guessing they're almost exclusively written in an abjad.

This rules out the Ethiopian Semitic languages as they're usually written in an abugida which would mark all its vowels. Given the number of non triliteral roots I'm guessing it's probably not Hebrew (of any sort). Then of the obvious extinct Semitic languages a good few were written using subsets of Cuneiform but usually with few enough symbols to be easily transcribed without resorting to capitalisation or =. Phoenician on the other hand has a decent number of phonemes and an alphabet similar enough to latin to transcribe easily but still have extra letters (provided people wanted to distinguish sounds thought to be distinct but not marked in phoenician). It also has quite a lot of non-triliteral words.

I'm guessing Phoenician or possibly Punic for one or both of the bottom two.

Re: Obscure Language Game

Posted: Mon Mar 04, 2013 11:33 am UTC
by Alexius
Sorry, I've been away for a bit. The first one looks like Greek, possibly transliterated into English via something else (or just in an extremely non-standard way!). It's certainly full of Greek words and phrases.

If it's not Greek, I'm guessing some language closely related to Greek but written in some other alphabet. Karamanlitika?

Could one of 2 or 3 be Ancient Egyptian?

Re: Obscure Language Game

Posted: Mon Mar 04, 2013 1:18 pm UTC
by eSOANEM
Ooh, Ancient Egyptian was written in an abjad (in at least some of its scripts) and has a reasonably large phonemic inventory including several forms of "h" (hence needing to distinguish them by capialisation) and has what are possibly ejectives which could reasonably be transcribed as capitalised letters.

Not sure what the = would be though :/

Re: Obscure Language Game

Posted: Mon Mar 04, 2013 7:27 pm UTC
by Sir Novelty Fashion
2 and 3 are Ancient Egyptian! :D (Which is actually Afro-Asiatic and not Semitic - my bad...). Specifically, no. 2 is Late Egyptian (c. 1400-700 BC), and no. 3 Old Egyptian (c. 2300-2100 BC).

No. 2 is from the Late Egyptian tomb robbery papyri, and begins an interrogation of a man called Nesamun:
<One> said to him: Tell me the affair of your going with your accomplices to break into the great places, where you took away the silver in them, and made off with it.


No. 3 is the beginning of (the Old Egyptian) Pyramid Text Utterance 273, or the "Cannibal Hymn":
The sky rains, the stars are darkened, the Bows quake, the bones of the Earth-gods tremble; the decans are still; they have seen NN rise, transfigured as a god who lives on his fathers and feeds on his mothers.


I posted them as separate languages since they're quite different: among other things, Old Egyptian is a VSO chiefly synthetic language with few tenses, and Late Egyptian is mainly analytic SVO with more tenses.

The = is a transliterating convention marking the attachment of suffix pronouns. The capitals indicate various types of letter not in the standard Latin/English inventory: see here and here for more info. I'm afraid the system is not very... systematic, but we're sort of stuck with it now.

No. 3 is not related to Greek, though it does contain a lot of Greek words, yes. :) It is also written in a form of Cyrillic alphabet. It's not Karamanlitika, though.