Sounds good to me

Have you ever learnt a language just because you like the way it sounds?

This is one of the reasons for learning a language discussed by John McWhorter is this TED talk:

He talks about the joys of getting your tongue round the sounds of other languages, and mentions Khmer, with its large inventory of vowels.

Which languages sound good to you?

Are there any particular sounds or combinations of sounds that really appeal to you (in any language)?

I like listening to languages with clicks, such as Xhosa and Zulu, and also to ones with ejectives, such as Georgian. I also like listening to and speaking tonal languages, like Mandarin and Cantonese.

At the moment, my favourite language in terms of sounds, is Swedish.

Other sound favourites include Japanese, Finnish, Italian, Icelandic and Swahili.

3 thoughts on “Sounds good to me

  1. I find Italian fun to speak because it seems to allow different lengths and weights to different vowels — it feels like I’m acting in a play or declaiming to an audience.

    Contrarily, Swahili with its fairly strict consonant-vowel alternation and frequent according prefixes seems to bounce along like a happy rubber ball. Like this examples from my textbook: “kisu kidogo kimoja”

  2. Something that draws me to Ojibwe (Anishinaabemowin) is that it is a polysynthetic language with noun incorporation. I tend to compound different words on the spot in English, so it feels natural to me. It feels good to speak in a language where that is grammatically-correct.

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