Holy Roman Emperor and famous polyglot Charles V once (allegedly) said: “I speak Spanish to God, Italian to women, French to men, and German to my horse.” 😂 Needless to say, some people prefer the sound of some languages over others. The exact same declaration of love can even evoke different feelings in different languages, just because of the way it rolls off the tongue. Take Ich liebe dich in German, ‘ahabak in Arabic, and Ti amo in Italian. Maybe, like Charles V, you think that German doesn’t sound very melodic. Perhaps you think that Italian sounds too harsh. Or possibly you don’t like the throaty Arabic H. Is there a consensus on which language is the most attractive of them all? Today we’re tackling exactly that question: what is the most beautiful language, and why?
What Is the Most Beautiful Language, And Why Do People Love the Sound of It So Much?
Ready for a shocking revelation? According to some sociolinguists, the belief that a language’s sounds determine how attractive or beautiful it is, is false. In other words, there is nothing about a particular sound in and of itself that can make a language more or less attractive. 🤷♀️
As Dr. Vineeta Chand from the University of Essex explained in an article in The Guardian, “Some sounds are more common across the world, but that doesn’t link to the specific perceptions we have about French and Italian. The idea that a language is more melodic, romantic, poetic and musical is derived from those communities and regions.”
For native speakers of Romance languages, some sounds in foreign languages are nonexistent in their languages, which makes them hard to perceive. Languages that have different structures, such as those that use tones (like some Asian languages and most languages in Sub-Saharan Africa), or sounds that don’t exist in their native language are perceived as less melodic or fascinating to those who aren’t familiar with them.
😘 We polled the MosaLingua team to find out the world’s sexiest accent… is it the one you’re thinking of?
But, what is it that makes a language so attractive that a person would come to the conclusion that it is THE most beautiful language in the world?
Factors that make a language the most beautiful language in the world
People find a language attractive for various reasons, including:
- The socioeconomic and professional benefits of knowing the language. In other words, how useful is the language? For example, in recent years, Mandarin Chinese has been gaining popularity as it is spoken in a region with rapid economic growth. Therefore, you might want to begin mastering Chinese if you want new professional opportunities.
- The ability to use the language to speak with as many people as possible. Put differently, is it one of the most spoken languages in the world? To many foreigners, English is very attractive because it is widely used around the world. And that allows us to communicate outside a small regional context. Knowing English means being able to easily make friends with people from other countries and being able to get by in nearly any part of the world.
- Perception of the countries and people who speak it. Take Italy as an example. People generally believe that it is a great country to live in. We associate it with the sun, the sea, the mountains, great food, friendly people, and beautiful women. Because of this, many attribute Italian as a language of love and think that it sounds pretty, attractive, even soothing.
- Its culture and history. If the culture and/or history of a country is something a person enjoys, the language can seem more attractive. Take Japan, for instance. People who read manga, who like the idea of ninjas, or who are interested in the latest technology tend to view Japanese as an attractive language, often saying it’s both cool and rich.
- Exposure to the sounds of the language. We explained earlier that the more a language differs from yours in terms of sounds, the less you tend to like it. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that the opposite is also true. The closer the language is to your own, the more you tend to like it. However, just because a language isn’t close to yours, doesn’t mean that you’re doomed to thinking it is the ugliest language for the rest of your life. The more you are familiar with a language, the sweeter it will sound. Many people have learned a language that, before meeting their life partner, they didn’t feel attracted to. But the more they heard it, the more they wanted to learn it. As Luca mentions in this video where he speaks 6 languages, love is a great motivator for learning a language!
Most beautiful written language
At the end of the day, nobody is “right” when they say a language is the most beautiful language. We are all biased. There are many things that influence a person’s language tastes, and more could be added to this list. Here are some possible other factors I came up with off the top of my head that could influence someone to like a certain language, or even be their main motivation for learning a language: having a pleasant experience with a person from a certain country, having a favorite song in a certain language, and the original language of a religious text.
But written language seems to be another story. Flourishes and rounded lines are more aesthetically pleasing than sharp, angular writing. Arabic, although it can sometimes sound harsh and might not be the best sounding language, has soft, curvy writing, so we think it’s the prettiest language! What do you think? العربية هي أجمل لغة مكتوبة (Arabic is the most beautiful written language.)
Here are some other languages with gorgeous alphabets:
- Thai — ภาษาไทย
- Hebrew — עִבְרִית,
- Burmese — မြန်မာဘာသာ
- Javanese — ꦧꦱꦗꦮ
So, what makes a language more attractive than another? Just about anything! Just like some people prefer one color or hobby over another, there are countless factors that can change our perception of a language. There is no single most beautiful language. It’s all due to personal taste. One thing’s for sure: all languages are beautiful in their own way!
I hope you found this article interesting, and that it has motivated you to explore new languages. Our apps provide the perfect opportunity to familiarize yourself with new languages and discover their beauty!
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