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2020-06-02 00:03:58

The most beautiful languages

The most beautiful languages

Italian, French, Spanish - the top of the list of the most beautiful languages in the world. Unless, of course, this ranking was made by Europeans, because all our ideas about the attractiveness of the language are very subjective. Usually, when talking about beautiful and ugly languages, they use criteria such as rhythm, melody, and harmony. The list of harmonious languages is supplemented, depending on the compiler, by Turkish, English, Greek, Portuguese, Russian, German, Ukrainian.

How to choose the most beautiful languages?

If we are given the task of compiling our own ranking of languages, then how will we conduct the selection? The first method: will we sit down and impartially listen to passages of texts in dozens of languages or will we rely on existing language representations?

If we use the first method, then mainly the physiological apparatus will be involved. Scientists believe that the human ear initially perceives certain sounds as more harmonious. For Russian speakers, for example, the combination of consonants and vowels is approximately 54% to 42%, and the sound <i> takes 4%, alternating them with a small number of consonants / vowels (examination of adults, repentance of Judah). 

But in reality, objective analysis, like any pure experiment, is almost impossible, and the social context will always influence our judgment. The perception of a particular language always depends on its historical reputation, prestige, universality, prevalence, and other factors. For example, in the 1970s in Great Britain, when the post-war generation grew up, the German language was perceived negatively for obvious historical reasons, but respect and jealousy for a completely destroyed country, which was rapidly gaining economic power, mixed in with this.

The same rule applies to the perception of accents. French-speaking Canadians rate the Parisian accent as pleasing to the ear. A colloquial accent is negative (cockney among the British), on the contrary, listeners positively perceive the accent inherent in aristocratic circles, they hire tutors for education (this was done by Kate Middleton, who grew up in an environment far from the aristocracy, in preparation for the wedding with Prince Charles).

What linguists say

According to sociolinguists, what makes a language beautiful for us is not determined by a set of characteristic sounds. Dr. Vineta Chand of the University of Essex explained in an article by The Guardian that “some sounds are common around the world, but that doesn’t make the language attractive: the idea that the language is more melodic, romantic, poetic and musical comes from the very society that inhabits region".

Speakers of Romance languages simply do not perceive some sounds of foreign languages that are absent in their native phonetic system: various language systems, including tonic (Chinese Mandarin, most of the languages of sub-Saharan Africa), or regard them as less melodic or attractive.

But what makes a language beautiful, how does a person conclude that in front of him is the most harmonious and pleasant language in the world?

People find the language harmonious for several reasons:

  • A language that can give us socio-economic benefits, become mobile. Thus, the Chinese language is gaining popularity because it is spoken in a region with rapid economic growth. His knowledge will allow you to get a job in an international company that cooperates with the Chinese market.
  • A language that allows you to communicate with a large number of people. That is why for many English remains the most harmonious language with a huge vocabulary. It helps to communicate outside the regional context, get to know people from other countries and get comfortable in any part of the world.
  • The language of the country, which is known for its vibrant lifestyle, mild climate, friendly people and excellent cuisine, will seem more beautiful than the one spoken on unfavorable lands. This is clearly manifested by the example of Italian.
  • A language serving a rich national culture or history. Russian is perceived as part of rich Russian literature, Japanese as a language of manga, ninja, high-tech companies, mysterious and beautiful poetry. If a person loves all this, then the language becomes his favorite.
  • The more familiar you are with the language, the better it will sound. Many people have learned a language that did not appeal to them before meeting with their husband / wife / partner. But the more they heard him, the more they wanted to study him. So, in Russia, interethnic marriages lead to the fact that the Russian-speaking partner masters the spouse’s native language if he speaks it (Tatar, Chuvash, Mari).

There is no universal ranking for determining what makes one language more attractive than another. This is determined by personal reasons - taste, inclinations, aspirations. And such definitions as “beautiful”, “romantic” or “harsh” are extremely subjective. Our perception of the attractiveness of another language is based on our cultural and linguistic experience, our relationship to the region where it is used. Linguists insist that no language is more or less attractive than another - just as no language in itself is easier or more difficult to learn.

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Egor Eremeev
Current material has been prepared by Egor Eremeev
Education: Westminster University (Business & Management), London.
Egor studied and lived in the UK for 8 years and graduated from the university of Westminster. He is currently the co-founder and the director of business development at Smapse Education and personally visits foreign schools and universities, interviews students studying in those institutions.
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