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What makes a language attractive – its sound, national identity or familiarity?

Mis à jour : 29 Juil 2014

Theguardian 17 July 2014

The allure of a language may have more to do with perceptions of that country's status and social values than its actual sound.

Je t'aime, ti amo, te quiero mucho! Sounds nice doesn't it? If you swoon over sweet nothings whispered in French, Italian or Spanish, you're not alone. But while learning to speak a language famed for its romance may increase your sex appeal, the reason for your preference of one vernacular over another may have little to do with how the sounds roll off the tip of your tongue.

Polyglot Roman emperor Charles V declared: "I speak Spanish to God, Italian to women, French to men, and German to my horse." While the 16th century ruler's views may still hold true to some today, his unflattering opinion of the latter language is more likely to be influenced not by the power and status of the country at the time than the tone of its speakers.

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