Language beauty contest

According to Eurolang, Estonia’s Education Minister is planning to hold a language beauty contest to mark the 90th birthday of the Republic of Estonia. The minister would like school children around the world to make recordings of up to seven words in their languages. The article doesn’t mention who will be judging the entrants or how they’ll go about it.

Have you heard of anything like this before?

This entry was posted in Language.

16 Responses to Language beauty contest

  1. Daniel says:

    I think we can count out most Germanic languages. Probably a Romance (coincidence?) Language will win!

  2. Bobby says:

    I don’t know I have an affinity for Finnish.

  3. Colm says:

    I first heard about it when my girlfriend mentioned to me about an old Estonian folk tale that told of a language beauty contest where Italian came first and Estonian came second with the phrase:

    “Sõida tasa üle silla” – Drive carefully over the bridge. 🙂

    I wish I knew what the Italian phrase was!

  4. Chinook McGuck says:

    Actually, it’s quite possible that a celtic language will win. I wouldn’t be surprised if Persian were to be high up there too.

  5. luningning says:

    still, french has a high rating, based on how many people love the way it sounds

  6. Joe DeRose says:

    It’s interesting to me how languages sound to people who don’t speak them. I once read an article quoting a Chinese woman who said that before she learned English, it sounded to her like a “pit of hissing snakes.” As a native speaker, I had never thought about it – but with the frequency of “s,” “sh,” and “th” sounds in English, I can see the point.

  7. AR says:

    Definitely not a Dravidian language, unless you think “asjherauihscehrajfdjasdfhalueyraklsjdhfajqoewxklnqehahr rrrrrrrrr” sounds pretty.
    Maybe Portuguese or Burmese. I always liked Burmese because it has a musical, sing-song quality to it thats very pleasing.

  8. jake says:

    I find it interesting that there should be a contest about linguistic Aesthetics, which is primarily about preference. Essentially, its about what the judges prefer, not about the platonic idea of true beauty. But no matter, it should be fun. I myself prefer the Gaelic and Germanic tongues. I heard a Cornish song (Ellas Mari) and it had a delicate beauty about it.
    Germanic languages have a noble beauty to them.

  9. I’d much prefere German or Dutch to French. French just seems to be too much fuss, whilst German or Dutch (or Welsh of course!) seem a nice balance of consonants and vowels and all round much more honest languages. You can hear where words start and finish.

    JoeRose raises an interesting point about how languages sound to non-speakers. My daughter (6 and 4) are monoglot Welsh-speakers at the moment and when they impersonate English it’s a language with no consonants and full of dipthonged ‘o’ and ‘a’ – ‘ow’ and ‘ei’ sound to Welsh-speakers. They speak something like; ‘ow ei ow, ei ow ei ow?’

    They also categorise English speakers as people who say ‘hello’ (or ‘helow’ to their Welsh ears) and ‘helo’ (rounded ‘o’) for Welsh-speakers that’s how they know which language a person speaks.

    They’ve also noticed that ‘pobl Saesneg yn dweud bai bai a pobl Cymraeg yn dweud tara’ (English people say bye bye and Welsh people say tara) for goodbye.

  10. Colm:
    > “Sõida tasa üle silla” – Drive carefully over the bridge. 🙂
    > I wish I knew what the Italian phrase was!

    Ask and you shall be given. 🙂 A possible translation is [i]guidare con prudenza sul ponte[/i] (/gwi’dare koɱpru’dEntsa sul’ponte/).

  11. Miranda says:

    french is such a beautiful language, and the only one i’m even close to fluent in, but i LOVE the way finnish sounds. i’d be down for an african language taking the prize too, for all their fun clicks and other unique sounds.
    will you post more information about this if you get it? i’d absolutely LOVE to hear all the entries.

  12. Nas says:

    I am pretty sure that russian won’t win ))

  13. I don’t think that 7 words can show beauty of a language!


  14. Rurality says:

    Sounds more like a job for Omniglot to me!

    I agree though – seven words is way too few.

  15. James says:

    Brazilian portuguese should win, or possibly highland latin american spanish (my favorite is Guatemala at the moment… I was listening to a report of the death of Bobby FIsher on Emisoras Unidas and the way the man said “ajedrez” and “ajedrecista” made me happy for hours).

    I suggest the chileans don´t make an entry unless they are going to bribe the judges with a lot of Chilean wine.

  16. Weili says:

    Might as well have a color beauty contest.

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