Paris is often regarded as the city of love and by extension, French is viewed as the language of love. It is undeniable that certain languages simply sound better than others. But why is this so?
The Roman emperor, Charles V, once said, “I speak Spanish to God, Italian to women, French to men, and German to my horse.” You might laugh, but many a language has developed over the years because of phonetic preferences over the general linguistic rule. But is that all? Sounds are common over many different languages, but the way we might feel about French is not the same way we might feel about German. A recent study concluded that people prefer languages that belong to cultures that are similar to their own.
Specifically, we tend to judge a language from the way we regard their people. This is why culture is so important when learning a language. Therefore, a businessman might value Chinese because China is currently an economic powerhouse and an emerging market leader. This theory also applies to languages that are widely spoken and therefore open more communication channels to different groups of people.
Our belief that a language is more romantic or harsh comes from our own understanding and perception of the people and their culture. For example, when I think about French, I imagine a cobblestone street, a quiet afternoon sur la rue and my French lover proposing at the Eiffel Tower. Voilà, the language of love is rooted in the way I perceive their society.
Linguistically, there are many foreign languages with different linguistic and semantic rules that may not appeal to a native English speaker, for example. Tones that are alien to the speaker, may be harder on the ear and therefore sound less enticing. But this is still all rooted in our psyche.
The more we understand about one another and of another culture, the more accepting we can become. There isn’t much of a point in learning a language if you are not going to want to speak it to its people. When we travel to France, most of us try to pick up a little bit of the language or at least key phrases like “where is the toilet?” (“Où est aux toilettes?”, you’re welcome). The argument can be made that we often fall in love with the culture and the people and then the language. This is also the best way to inspire a love for the language, which can help with the learning process.
At Agape School of Education, our language classes are interwoven with culture. We hope to inspire a love of learning and the language through a deeper understanding of the language, be it their culture, their people or even their food! We also provide playgroups for small children. This course, which is available in different languages, exposes your child to foreign languages and a like-minded community at a young age. If everything doesn’t sound better in French to you, perhaps it’s time to find out which language appeals to you! Come down today to find out how we can help you learn a foreign language for any purpose! Find a course online here.