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(The Smart Set)   Why do some languages sound more beautiful than others? German speaker says his native tongue isn't ugly, but Danish certainly is, and sticks up for American English especially when spoken by likes of CNN anchor Bobbie Battista   (thesmartset.com) divider line 81
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1734 clicks; posted to Geek » on 13 Jul 2014 at 3:09 PM (6 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-07-13 02:14:31 PM
"... pride in mastering a language ... colored my emotional attitude towards it. Simply by learning Turkish, I was inclined to find it more beautiful."

German.  Although the gutturals and consonant clusters sound harsh, speaking it resonates somewhere deep in my unconscious.   Some ancestors were speaking it 4 or 5 generations back.  Feels like being connected somehow to the concentration camp victims and at the same time awakening my inner Teuton.
 
2014-07-13 03:16:40 PM
encrypted-tbn2.gstatic.com
 
2014-07-13 03:17:17 PM
Any language that has the word krankenwagen is OK.
 
2014-07-13 03:18:11 PM
"Me an' my friend were conversatin'..."

Judge Judy: "you were conversating?"

"Uh huh and we..."
 
2014-07-13 03:19:10 PM
German love poetry does have the unhappy quality of sounding like a ransom note at times.

/ich lieber dich.
 
2014-07-13 03:30:04 PM
I've always said Korean is one of the loveliest languages on Earth.

As long as it's not being spoken by a Korean.

/Kunsan AB Korea 84-85
//Trust me
 
2014-07-13 03:33:38 PM
You have not heard someone getting cussed out, until you hear someone getting cussed out in Comanche.
 
2014-07-13 03:37:03 PM
When I was in Paris last year I witnessed a low-speed accident between a bicyclist and a Citroen driver.
No one was hurt but the two of them were furiously screaming at one another and it was delightful. Practically operatic.
That same argument in Russian or German or Farsi and we'd have all died under a hail of glottal stops
 
2014-07-13 03:38:53 PM
Gunter glieben glauchen globen
 
2014-07-13 03:38:55 PM
Russian might sound beautiful but their alphabet is only in ALLCAPS.  They do nothing subtly.
 
433 [TotalFark]
2014-07-13 03:43:22 PM
Portuguese sounds the most pleasant to me.  Korean is not far behind.
 
2014-07-13 03:44:33 PM

StopLurkListen: Russian might sound beautiful but their alphabet is only in ALLCAPS.  They do nothing subtly.


Nope. Most of them just look the same in lowercase as in uppercase, but are clearly distinct in size and/or placement on the line.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_alphabet

/Did a semester of Russian in University
//Having to learnt he printed and script versions of the alphabet was a pain
 
2014-07-13 03:55:48 PM

phillydrifter: "Me an' my friend were conversatin'..."

Judge Judy: "you were conversating?"

"Uh huh and we..."


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QwNkBmK_uA0
 
2014-07-13 03:56:08 PM

StopLurkListen: Russian might sound beautiful but their alphabet is only in ALLCAPS.  They do nothing subtly.


Russian turns all your bad feelings into crazy feelings.
 
2014-07-13 03:57:41 PM
I can get my face slapped in six languages.
 
2014-07-13 04:27:29 PM

Mr. Coffee Nerves: When I was in Paris last year I witnessed a low-speed accident between a bicyclist and a Citroen driver.
No one was hurt but the two of them were furiously screaming at one another and it was delightful. Practically operatic.
That same argument in Russian or German or Farsi and we'd have all died under a hail of glottal stops


This. I find glottal languages unpleasant on the ear as opposed to non-glottals like the Romance languages.

And a German finding Danish unpleasant? Oh, please...
 
2014-07-13 04:32:12 PM
Onnea sovellettuna, pidä siis varasi
 
2014-07-13 04:44:38 PM
Given my status as a GSL, I would argue that German is a harsh sounding language, at best. There are certainly times when it has almost a lyrical sound (see peotry by Heine, Goethe, Schiller), but they are vastly outnumbered by normal conversations that sound like police are interrogating you with a phone book.
 
2014-07-13 04:50:24 PM
I think it comes down to who is doing the speaking. From my own experience, I know two girls who speak fluent Russian. Hearing one of them speak it makes me weak in the knees and looking to turn up the AC 'cause wow it's getting warm in here, but the other, she just sounds vaguely annoyed.
 
2014-07-13 04:52:31 PM

Mr. Coffee Nerves: That same argument in Russian or German or Farsi and we'd have all died under a hail of glottal stops


There is no stopping the glottal.
 
2014-07-13 05:07:20 PM
Any language will sound a little harsh, that has fifty different words for "invading Poland".
 
2014-07-13 05:16:46 PM

UsikFark: StopLurkListen: Russian might sound beautiful but their alphabet is only in ALLCAPS.  They do nothing subtly.

Russian turns all your bad feelings into crazy feelings.


I think that's more the vodak.
And the cold.
 
2014-07-13 05:32:39 PM

Optimal_Illusion: You have not heard someone getting cussed out, until you hear someone getting cussed out in Comanche.


I've listened to recordings of Comanche. It sounds like they're sobbing their eyes out no matter what they're really talking about.
 
2014-07-13 06:09:24 PM
3.bp.blogspot.com
 
2014-07-13 06:15:32 PM
the "sublime emphasis" of Greek, which he felt echoed "the sound of the waters of Peneios."

Greek sounds like it should be spoken only by clowns as they bounce to the circus music. "Sublime" my polka-dotted painted butt.

Nasal French

...is nasal. I constantly want to ask them to "Just cut it out with that pretentious affectation." And then I speak French and I sound the same way and I feel like I'm just as wrong and stuck up...

the Polynesian languages.

Sound really cool. I don't speak any of them, I don't think I've even learned a single word in any of them, but they're really neat. Partly it's what this article talks about later: Polynesian words are uncomplicated so they're inoffensive.

Thanks to the complicated, throat-clearing guttural sounds it requires, Swiss German can pose an enormous challenge. As someone who grew up speaking standard German, I have almost no chance.

Aaaaaaahahaha. Did a German just complain about the Klingon noises in Swiss? Anyway yeah I have no idea what I'm hearing most of the time around Swiss. A word here and there but mostly they're speaking Martian.

In the beauty contest of languages, Danish, Chinese, and Arabic usually bring up the rear.

Danish - I can't say I like it but women sound better, and sung Danish is one of the nicest sung languages I've heard.
Chinese - I have no idea why she doesn't like Chinese. I don't speak any kind of Chinese but I don't see the problem. I bet it's just the strangeness factor.
Arabic - It's the Klingon "ch" thing again. Everybody hates that shiat. And all that herky jerky stopping and starting stuff.
 
2014-07-13 06:15:33 PM
I don't understand the appeal of Parisian French, which I frankly find to sound like underwater Spanish more than anything. Much more irksome than German.

And Cantonese is one of the ugliest languages I've ever heard. Playing Sleeping Dog was like drills to the ears.
 
2014-07-13 06:19:00 PM
Das shmecht mir nicht gut!
 
2014-07-13 06:26:35 PM

Stone Meadow: Mr. Coffee Nerves: When I was in Paris last year I witnessed a low-speed accident between a bicyclist and a Citroen driver.
No one was hurt but the two of them were furiously screaming at one another and it was delightful. Practically operatic.
That same argument in Russian or German or Farsi and we'd have all died under a hail of glottal stops

This. I find glottal languages unpleasant on the ear as opposed to non-glottals like the Romance languages.

And a German finding Danish unpleasant? Oh, please...


I'm Danish. And I have to say he's right.

Danish is farking ugly when spoken. It's right up there with Dutch, Frissian and Afrikaans.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s-mOy8VUEBk


Obligatory Norwegian video mocking Danish. We can take it, so no worries. :P
 
2014-07-13 06:31:57 PM
I have seen extremely beautiful examples of the English language -- Tolkein, Shakespeare, Nabokov, Fitzgerald, Emerson, and on and on.  But you wouldn't be able to tell by the way most Americans butcher the language like it's for dinner.  I suppose that goes for most places, though.
 
2014-07-13 06:45:23 PM

Fark like a Barsoomian: Optimal_Illusion: You have not heard someone getting cussed out, until you hear someone getting cussed out in Comanche.

I've listened to recordings of Comanche. It sounds like they're sobbing their eyes out no matter what they're really talking about.


My Grandma wrote some really beautiful Comanche Hymns.
 
2014-07-13 06:51:33 PM
I could listen to Japanese all day. I love watching movies from Japan. On the other hasnd whatever of the two or so languages they speak in China is irritating. Can they ever speak it in a low volume and not sound like a cat being tortured? And songs from China are worse. It makes me want to sharpen a pencil, then jab it in my ears repeatedly.
 
2014-07-13 06:57:56 PM

spawn73: Stone Meadow: Mr. Coffee Nerves: When I was in Paris last year I witnessed a low-speed accident between a bicyclist and a Citroen driver.
No one was hurt but the two of them were furiously screaming at one another and it was delightful. Practically operatic.
That same argument in Russian or German or Farsi and we'd have all died under a hail of glottal stops

This. I find glottal languages unpleasant on the ear as opposed to non-glottals like the Romance languages.

And a German finding Danish unpleasant? Oh, please...

I'm Danish. And I have to say he's right.

Danish is farking ugly when spoken. It's right up there with Dutch, Frissian and Afrikaans.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s-mOy8VUEBk

Obligatory Norwegian video mocking Danish. We can take it, so no worries. :P


To each their own, I guess. And while I agree with you about Afrikaans, Dutch is less hard on my ear, while Frissian and Danish are no harsher sounding to me than German.
 
2014-07-13 06:59:12 PM
Of the most beautiful IMHO.  In order:

Portuguese
Swahili
Japanese
 
2014-07-13 07:48:24 PM

Fark like a Barsoomian: Chinese - I have no idea why she doesn't like Chinese. I don't speak any kind of Chinese but I don't see the problem. I bet it's just the strangeness factor.


At a grammatical level, Chinese has one of the simplest and most elegant grammar constructions of any language I've ever seen. Almost like mathematics formulas.
 
2014-07-13 07:54:18 PM
In my opinion, the worst sounding languages are: Tagalog, Arabic, Portuguese (non-Brazilian) and Cantonese.
 
2014-07-13 07:55:09 PM

Bedstead Polisher: In my opinion, the worst sounding languages are: Tagalog, Arabic, Portuguese (non-Brazilian) and Cantonese.


Oh and Dutch.
 
2014-07-13 08:04:29 PM
Plosives.

Neenu ninnu premisthunannu
 
2014-07-13 08:09:07 PM
cloudyarlberg.files.wordpress.com
VORGESCHRIEBEN
 
2014-07-13 08:33:20 PM
I've had a theory that the best swear words are that way because of the hard consonants. "Ugly-sounding" languages tend along the same lines, since hearing the hard consonants makes it sound angry, even if you're telling someone how beautiful they are.
 
2014-07-13 08:36:40 PM
German sounds like a person trying to speak after a trip to the dentist while gagging on a dying hamster.
 
2014-07-13 08:36:52 PM

Bedstead Polisher: In my opinion, the worst sounding languages are: Tagalog, Arabic, Portuguese (non-Brazilian) and Cantonese.


Tagalog sounds like somebody dumped a floor dolly loaded with iron pipe down a concrete staircase.
 
2014-07-13 08:41:58 PM
No love for Hadza?
 
2014-07-13 08:45:55 PM
Wenn ist das Nunstück git und Slotermeyer?
Ja! Beiherhund das Oder die Flipperwaldt gersput!
 
2014-07-13 08:48:47 PM
I have to admit, I enjoy listening to just about any foreign language as long as it's spoken by a female.
I've had the privilege of working with a few bilingual ladies and of the languages I've been regularly exposed to, my favorites would be French, Portuguese & Italian.
 
2014-07-13 08:54:46 PM
What's odd is that German is seen in the modern Anglosphere as being a harsh, brutish language...yet it wasn't always. Mark Twain complained about how <i>gentle</i> the German language was.

<i> Our descriptive words of this character have such a deep, strong, resonant sound, while their German equivalents do seem so thin and mild and energyless. Boom, burst, crash, roar, storm, bellow, blow, thunder, explosion; howl, cry, shout, yell, groan; battle, hell. These are magnificent words; the have a force and magnitude of sound befitting the things which they describe. But their German equivalents would be ever so nice to sing the children to sleep with, or else my awe-inspiring ears were made for display and not for superior usefulness in analyzing sounds. Would any man want to die in a battle which was called by so tame a term as a  Schlacht? Or would not a consumptive feel too much bundled up, who was about to go out, in a shirt-collar and a seal-ring, into a storm which the bird-song wordGewitter was employed to describe? And observe the strongest of the several German equivalents for explosion --  Ausbruch. Our word Toothbrush is more powerful than that. It seems to me that the Germans could do worse than import it into their language to describe particularly tremendous explosions with. The German word for hell -- Hölle -- sounds more like  helly than anything else; therefore, how necessary chipper, frivolous, and unimpressive it is.

There are some German words which are singularly and powerfully effective. For instance, those which describe lowly, peaceful, and affectionate home life; those which deal with love, in any and all forms, from mere kindly feeling and honest good will toward the passing stranger, clear up to courtship; those which deal with outdoor Nature, in its softest and loveliest aspects -- with meadows and forests, and birds and flowers, the fragrance and sunshine of summer, and the moonlight of peaceful winter nights; in a word, those which deal with any and all forms of rest, repose, and peace; those also which deal with the creatures and marvels of fairyland; and lastly and chiefly, in those words which express pathos, is the language surpassingly rich and affective.  </i>

link
 
2014-07-13 09:07:30 PM
There is no such thing as American English. There is English, and there is wrong.
 
2014-07-13 09:15:26 PM

Optimal_Illusion: Wenn ist das Nunstück git und Slotermeyer?
Ja! Beiherhund das Oder die Flipperwaldt gersput!


esensja.stopklatka.pl
 
2014-07-13 09:44:30 PM
Germans don't even laugh when they see the word "Ausfahrt".

It's like they're robots.

Or still feeling guilty for murdering fifty million people in the last century.
 
2014-07-13 09:58:16 PM

jso2897: Bedstead Polisher: In my opinion, the worst sounding languages are: Tagalog, Arabic, Portuguese (non-Brazilian) and Cantonese.

Tagalog sounds like somebody dumped a floor dolly loaded with iron pipe down a concrete staircase.


This. Used to sit near a Filipino woman at work who would call home (on the company's phone dime apparently) every week or so for a long conversation. Hideous language.
 
2014-07-13 10:15:35 PM
I love Swedish. To my native-spanish ear, it sounds like a bunch of Spanish sylabes strung at random (I.e. no "weird" sounds).

Getting into Portuguese right now. Rather easy, but sometimes annoying to learn :D
 
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