The Musical Qualities of Languages 📺

By Xah Lee. Date: . Last updated: .

This is of cunnilingual interest!

Let's say you don't speak Chinese, nor Japanese, nor French, nor Spanish, nor German or Hindi….

But when you listen to them, you can sort of tell them apart. There's certain characteristics of their sound. You could judge the melodiousness of language's quality. You might say, “I think French sounds prettier than Spanish”.

But here's the catch: Once you learned the language, you cease to possess the ability to judge a language's melodic quality. Your brain interprets the sounds differently. You don't hear the sound of language anymore, you hear the meanings.

I vaguely recall, when i was ~13, hearing English on TV or such, i think it sounds good. But i was a child then, and it was long ago. I couldn't say my memory is faithful or my judgment was sound at all. I probably haven't heard any other foreign language at all. If i could suddenly flip into a state where i don't know English, then, would i now, with all my learning and judgment of esthetics today, find English comparatively melodious among languages?

In any case, here's 4-minutes video that lets English speakers hear the sound of English.

“Short Film in Fake English”