Language Log has a tradition of “guess the language” challenges, but the answers are usually posted the next day, which doesn’t give much time for working on them; the latest will be up for a week at least, which should allow more people to get in on the fun. So if trying to figure out overheard languages is your thing, go on over there and listen to the three mp3 files and see what you can come up with. I’ve got a general idea, but I’ll have to refine my guess when I have more leisure (today has been taken up with househunting). Tally-ho!
Update. If anyone’s been trying to solve this, the answer is available here; it fits with my general guess, but I don’t think I would have been able to come up with the specific language.


  1. I think they’re all disc jockeys somewhere in London.

  2. John Jainschigg says

    I’ll bet Bulgarian.

  3. Definitely some language from the Southern part of what was formerly known as Soviet Union. Maybe a Turk language or something even stranger 😉

  4. Peter Dirix says


  5. Michael Farris says

    Just by listening three or four times (not trying to do transcription) I’m guessing Turkic something or other from ex USSR but I’m not gonna try to get closer than than. Tha’ts of course assuming I’m close in the first place which is not certain at all. I would have assumed the first was some variety of Portuguese I wasn’t familiar with (I saw the answer before hearing the sample), I did however get Somali by sort of guessing east africa, guessing a spelling for one word (guruga) and then googling it.

  6. Yeah, ex-Soviet Turkic is my guess as well.

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