What is it about?
Some people say that Italian sounds sexy while German sounds rough, but what about languages like Páez or Tamil? Do people generally agree on whether a language sounds beautiful? Do their opinions depend on how familiar the language sounds, or on cultural stereotypes? In this paper, we collected 2,125 recordings of 228 languages from 43 language families and asked 820 native speakers of English, Chinese, or Semitic languages to rate how much they liked these languages, in order to separate these different factors.
Photo by Marjan Blan | @marjanblan on Unsplash
Why is it important?
Our results showed that participants' judgments were primarily influenced by how familiar they thought they were with the languages they heard and by preferences for the speakers’ voice qualities. These results provide valuable insights for better understanding the interaction between linguistic and cultural diversity.
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This page is a summary of: Do some languages sound more beautiful than others?, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, April 2023, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2218367120.
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