Sunday, January 14, 2024

All languages are about the same level of beautiful

People like to say that romance languages are called that because they are more romantic and pleasant to the listener than other languages. That is not true, rather, they are called that due to their connection to Rome. Despite the facts, people still like to say languages like French are more romantic and pleasant than other languages

New research shows that that is not especially true, and that most languages are more or less the same level of attractiveness. Chechen is the main outlier in this set of languages. This is good fuel to dump on the pro-French romantic people. It seems like racism also plays a factor in this:

A few factors did make the raters say they quite liked the languages they heard. But those seem unrelated to intrinsic qualities. First, being familiar with a language—or even thinking they were familiar with it—made raters give a language a 12% prettiness boost on average. And there seemed to be some regional prejudices. If a rater said that a language was familiar, he or she was asked to say what region it came from. Chinese raters, for example, clearly preferred languages they thought to be from the Americas or Europe, and rated those they thought from sub-Saharan Africa lower. (When raters said they were unfamiliar with the languages, such preferences disappeared.)

People also prefer female voices over male voices. The Economist cheers on this result because it shows that despite widespread divisions, not everything is so split. Languages are all about the same level of attractiveness.