What makes a language sound or be "ugly"?

Elf
Posts125Likes 95Joined 3/9/2018LocationSkopje / MK
Native
Macedonian
Other Arabic - Gulf, English, French, Spanish, Serbian

Do you have languages that sound repelling to you and would never learn? What do you think makes a language ugly? Do you think it is based on facts and science or is it entirely subjective which languages appeal to us and which ones we don't like at all? 


This article says there's not enough evidence why we consider some languages ugly. Many professors believe it is entirely based on facts and the overall sounding of the language. 


https://amp.theguardian.com/education/2014/jul/17/what-makes-a-language-attractive 


I believe that we all have a distinct taste that sometimes can't be explained in words. But I do agree that depending on the value we give a certain culture or society, we can be more or less attracted to its language. Like for example Chinese and its growing use and the fact that knowing Chinese now offers more job opportunities, makes it more alluring. What do you think of that? 


It is also claimed that the similarity with your native tongue is what makes one language appealing or not. I also believe it is due to the phonetic constructions. Like for example when a language contains words that comprise more than 3 consonants piled next to each other, that doesn't sound very melodic or harmonic, so it can push us away from the language. An example of a German word like that is given in the article. 


I always found German repelling and my neighboring language Albanian. I find the second one almost disgusting, but I believe it is mainly because of how its speakers use it and how they sound to me ears when they do (aggressive). I am sure my personal aversion towards the people/community is greatly influencing my viewpoint too. Maybe aversion is a harsh word to use here, but maybe it is not either. 


Roman emperor Charles V once said: “I speak Spanish to God, Italian to women, French to men, and German to my horse.” 


However, many people adore the German language. 


What is your stance on this? What makes a language ugly to you and why wouldn't you learn it?


Posted
0
#1
Ranger
Posts204Likes 112Joined 6/10/2018LocationLagos / NG
Native
English
Other French

I haven't found any language to be ugly yet and I don't think I ever will. In Nigeria here, I do find the Yoruba language a bit annoying not cos of the language itself but the way it is spoken by most people. They tend to be aggressive and yell a lot. But this doesn't make the language ugly to me. I'd say most people tend to dislike what they don't understand and I think that comes to play with those who would think a certain language is "ugly". For me, I think saying a language is ugly is same as looking at a person and calling them ugly.

Kevwe A.

Posted
1
#2
Dwarf
Posts68Likes 37Joined 6/10/2018LocationJonestown / US
Native
English
Learning Italian, Spanish

I don't believe I find any language "ugly" per say. However, depending on the person certain languages can sound a bit off if they do not use the language proper. Personally, I believe each language is beautiful in its own way. Each language comes with a history and background. I find that to be mesmerizing. 

Taylor Fabio

Posted
0
#3
Elf
Posts125Likes 95Joined 3/9/2018LocationSkopje / MK
Native
Macedonian
Other Arabic - Gulf, English, French, Spanish, Serbian

Oghenekevwe wrote:

I haven't found any language to be ugly yet and I don't think I ever will. In Nigeria here, I do find the Yoruba language a bit annoying not cos of the language itself but the way it is spoken by most people. They tend to be aggressive and yell a lot. But this doesn't make the language ugly to me. I'd say most people tend to dislike what they don't understand and I think that comes to play with those who would think a certain language is "ugly". For me, I think saying a language is ugly is same as looking at a person and calling them ugly.


Hey Oghe (Can I shorten your name to Oghe?), thank you for your answer/input. 

Well I personally believe there are ugly people, but that doesn't make them less valuable. If you put the worth into physicality, then you will convince yourself there is no beautiful pretty or ugly, because you're afraid to evaluate your own beauty :) on objective standards let's say. But that's another thing. 

I do agree that the way people speak, pronounce their language is what can make the language sound ugly (or let's say not pretty, what came to me too, more of an euphemism :)) ), not the language itself. But I do believe also the language is created where the people called for it, so it correlates. I definitely think I define whether a language is pretty or sounds ugly to me because of how the people speak it. 


Thank you for your answer Taylor!  


Edited
0
#4
Ranger
Posts204Likes 112Joined 6/10/2018LocationLagos / NG
Native
English
Other French

Hey Mai, the meaning of my name is "God's gift" "Oghene" means God and "Kevwe" means gift or give me. So you can call me Kevwe for shorts

Kevwe A.

Posted
2
#5
Elf
Posts135Likes 81Joined 3/9/2018LocationLagos / NG
Native
English
Learning French

No language is ugly really.. the only thing you can say is probably a language sounding funny..and this can mostly happen when the speaker isn’t speaking properly or doesn’t have the right accent. The fact that someone doesn’t understand a language doesn’t make it ugly. In these cases,it comes to me as “funny” not ugly.

Posted
0
#6
Elf
Posts149Likes 64Joined 15/9/2018LocationSkopje / MK
Native
Macedonian
Other English, Serbian

Hmm..maybe the accent? I think people judge the language based on how the language sounds, so if people speak a certain language in a certain accent or maybe if they talk too loud people would falsely think the language is ugly? 

Posted
1
#7
Ranger
Posts228Likes 119Joined 16/9/2018Location
Native
Spanish
Other English, Italian

Like many said I don't find any language ugly. They might sound funny, different or sometimes even weird. But no ugly per se.

-Ari-

Posted
0
#8
Elf
Posts125Likes 95Joined 3/9/2018LocationSkopje / MK
Native
Macedonian
Other Arabic - Gulf, English, French, Spanish, Serbian

TemitopeAkinyede wrote:

The fact that someone doesn’t understand a language doesn’t make it ugly. In these cases,it comes to me as “funny” not ugly.


It's not ugly because I don't understand it, it's ugly because if you have been feeding yourself with beautiful harmonious sounds and visuals for let's say 2 hours, and then hear Albanian for example, well, see how you feel. There's nothing wrong finding something even disgusting to your ear or eyes, it just means its visual or acoustic is not appealing to you. I can even make faces, and I allow myself, because I want to know what attracts me and what not and express the emotion rather than suppress it 


dragonsky wrote:

Hmm..maybe the accent? I think people judge the language based on how the language sounds, so if people speak a certain language in a certain accent or maybe if they talk too loud people would falsely think the language is ugly?


Yeah, definitely, I agree with this 


And in addition, it's sometimes the same as going to a concert of a musician you haven't listened to before, and you find the melodies out of harmony or order, and your ear can simply be fed up with it. That's how I see it. But you have to know what you like, in order to perceive and refute what you dislike. Or vice versa 


But yeah from another standpoint, no language is ugly, you can find it intriguing maybe

And I definitely think how the native speakers sound speaking it makes a lot of difference to your ear 

Hm


Edited
0
#9
Elf
Posts114Likes 78Joined 8/10/2018LocationPH
Native
English, Tagalog
Learning Japanese

I love the culture and food but I'm not a fan of how the Thai language sounds. Maybe I'm just ignorant idk


Posted
1
#10
Elf
Posts125Likes 95Joined 3/9/2018LocationSkopje / MK
Native
Macedonian
Other Arabic - Gulf, English, French, Spanish, Serbian

Mel.Palogan wrote:

I love the culture and food but I'm not a fan of how the Thai language sounds. Maybe I'm just ignorant idk


Why don't you like how it sounds? Have you asked yourself? Why would you consider yourself ignorant on that? 


Posted
0
#11
Ranger
Posts308Likes 223Joined 8/7/2018LocationAlmeria / ES
Native
English
Other Arabic - Egyptian, French, German, Spanish

I don't think they sound ugly I think for most people it would probably be a language with very distinctively different sounds to their own , the exact opposite. It is probably the it sounds very foreign to them with few similarities to their own. 

Posted
0
#12
Elf
Posts114Likes 78Joined 8/10/2018LocationPH
Native
English, Tagalog
Learning Japanese

Mai wrote:
Mel.Palogan wrote:
I love the culture and food but I'm not a fan of how the Thai language sounds. Maybe I'm just ignorant idk

Why don't you like how it sounds? Have you asked yourself? Why would you consider yourself ignorant on that?


It sounds different from everything else I've heard that's all. Maybe I need to be exposed more and I'll get over it. 


Posted
1
#13
Ranger
Posts410Likes 211Joined 4/9/2018LocationCaracas / VE
Native
Spanish
Learning German, Italian
Other English

I think it all depends of the circumstances. If you record a mother speaking to his baby in german and have a copy of one of Hitler's speech, and then you show them to someone that doesn't know german, they may found one lovely and the other aggressive. 

Posted
1
#14
Ranger
Posts204Likes 112Joined 6/10/2018LocationLagos / NG
Native
English
Other French

Jess.PWinkler wrote:

I think it all depends of the circumstances. If you record a mother speaking to his baby in german and have a copy of one of Hitler's speech, and then you show them to someone that doesn't know german, they may found one lovely and the other aggressive.

That's a great example

Kevwe A.

Posted
1
#15
Elf
Posts111Likes 96Joined 4/10/2018Location
Native
Chinese - Mandarin, English, Chinese - Cantonese
Other French, Indonesian, Russian, Thai, Vietnamese

Interesting article, although given Germany's rise in the last couple of decades, I wonder if there will be a reassessment of the German language. I personally don't think German sounds "ugly", but sometimes, it sounds a bit harsher, just because it has more guttural sounds.  

Posted
1
#16
Elf
Posts125Likes 95Joined 3/9/2018LocationSkopje / MK
Native
Macedonian
Other Arabic - Gulf, English, French, Spanish, Serbian

meifeng wrote:

Interesting article, although given Germany's rise in the last couple of decades, I wonder if there will be a reassessment of the German language. I personally don't think German sounds "ugly", but sometimes, it sounds a bit harsher, just because it has more guttural sounds.


Exactly! Good point 

I like German now 


Posted
0
#17