The worst sounding natlang ever

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KaiTheHomoSapien
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Re: The worst sounding natlang ever

Post by KaiTheHomoSapien » Tue 30 Jan 2018, 17:09

Pabappa wrote:
Tue 30 Jan 2018, 05:08
but in practice, because the syllables are so simple, the vowels are spoken very quickly and the language paradoxically sounds like it consists mostly of dense consonant clusters. e.g. the English borrowing of Jp /sukoshi/ as "skosh". For this reason, all of my conlangs are consonant-strong.


Even though I love the sound of Japanese, I agree with you there. I'm not such a fan of the way the Japanese /u/ and /i/ are often pronounced as "silent vowels" in rapid speech. Then again, my introduction to Japanese was in songs and in Japanese singing, vowels are usually enunciated and it sounds much better than speech.

There's also a Korean and Japanese version of the song "Bo Peep" by T-ara. The song itself is kind of silly and repetitive, but as much as I like the original Korean version, when I heard the Japanese version, I was like "yep, this is why I love Japanese". At least I do think it's the best sounding language when sung.
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Re: The worst sounding natlang ever

Post by Pabappa » Tue 30 Jan 2018, 20:25

Vlürch wrote:
Tue 30 Jan 2018, 15:38
Pabappa wrote:
Sun 28 Jan 2018, 00:09
Finnish to me is the most beautiful language to sing in
I'm not sure if I agree in general, but it definitely can sound ugly.
Very deep, masculine voice. Though I cant say how much of my impression is because I like his voice and how much is because of the words Im listening to.


Pabappa wrote:When I get a chance I will listen to the Japanese version of the song "Gee!" by Girls' Generation, which I wasnt aware of until just now when I was searching for the original.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U7mPqycQ0tQ <---- Korean
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mpoKx48WmEM <---- Japanese

OK my impression of these songs is that the Korean & English blend together very well. Until now I didnt even really know for sure which words in the song were English and which were Korean words that happened to sound like English at least in song. The Japanese sticks out a lot more. So in a way, I think what I like about Korean is that it sounds more like English, at least in song.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MLBdv5Pi09U <-- Mandarin Chinese Jingle Bells, another song which to me sounds supremely soft and beautiful. I havent heard much Mandarin Chinese, but from what I gather I'd put it in the same category in that it can sound beautiful or aggressive equally well dpending on the speaker and tehir emotions.
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Re: The worst sounding natlang ever

Post by Xonen » Tue 30 Jan 2018, 21:04

Pabappa wrote:
Tue 30 Jan 2018, 05:08
There's also something else I dont think a lot of other people notice ... I divide languages into "vowel-strong" and "consonant-strong", with some in the middle. Consonant-strong languages tend to have a lot of consonant clusters, and their vowels are affected by the consonants around them. Vowel-strong languages tend to have simple syllables, and the consonants are strongly affected by the surrounding vowels, either in one direction or in both.
I'm not entirely sure what you mean here, but at least some people have noticed that different languages have different syllable structures. As for how consonants affect neighboring vowels and/or vice versa in different languages, that's also something that has definitely been studied, but I'm not enough of a phonetician to really comment on that.
Looking at a ROmanized orthography, one might think a vowel strong language would sound melodious and sweet, but in practice, because the syllables are so simple, the vowels are spoken very quickly and the language paradoxically sounds like it consists mostly of dense consonant clusters. e.g. the English borrowing of Jp /sukoshi/ as "skosh".
I don't think this has anything to do with vowels being spoken "quickly", and it's certainly not an inevitable consequence of a language having a simple syllable structure. It's just a peculiarity of Japanese that short high vowels are devoiced in some positions.
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Re: The worst sounding natlang ever

Post by clawgrip » Wed 31 Jan 2018, 01:46

If you watch bad anime and then dislike Japanese because it sounds like bad anime, then I think you just need to listen to Japanese in more contexts (or stop watching bad anime).
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Re: The worst sounding natlang ever

Post by DesEsseintes » Wed 31 Jan 2018, 04:02

I was going to stay out of this but alas! I can’t help myself:

Japanese is perfect. Definitely one of the world’s most euphonic languages to my ear. Whispered vowels sound amazing to me. Cheyenne is a contender for the throne as well.

I happen to hold the opposite opinion to Pabappa. I find languages without bilabials beautiful. (I find it extremely hard to use /p/ in my conlangs, though there are exceptions.) Mohawk sounds fantastic. Ample use of /h ʔ/ is also a plus.

Since “guttural”* languages were mentioned, I love Arabic and its numerous post-velar phonemes.
*ridiculous word

Russian is the most beautiful European language to me. French is also nice, and I’ve never understood the widespread hate for it in conlanging circles.

I don’t really like thinking of languages as being ugly, but I do think Spanish is the worst. It has nothing much to do with the phonology per se (I have no problem with fricatives), but rather the exceedingly annoying intonation that pervades all variants of Spanish I’ve come into contact with. Catalan is equally awful.
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Re: The worst sounding natlang ever

Post by Ahzoh » Wed 31 Jan 2018, 07:34

Regarding Spanish, I find women who speak it to sound more attractive whereas when dudes speak in it many sound annoyingly high-pitched, almost as if they're whining.

Regarding Japanese, I love it and it vaguely reminds me of French when I hear it.

Regarding Chinese, I hate alveolo-palatals.
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Re: The worst sounding natlang ever

Post by Adarain » Thu 01 Feb 2018, 16:54

Ahzoh wrote:
Wed 31 Jan 2018, 07:34
Regarding Japanese, I love it […]
Regarding Chinese, I hate alveolo-palatals.
Very curious this, considering the Japanese sh-, j- and ch- series are alveolo-palatal.
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Konu es bręnnd es,
Mæki es ręyndr es,
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Ís es yfir kømr,
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Re: The worst sounding natlang ever

Post by Ahzoh » Thu 01 Feb 2018, 17:05

Adarain wrote:
Thu 01 Feb 2018, 16:54
Ahzoh wrote:
Wed 31 Jan 2018, 07:34
Regarding Japanese, I love it […]
Regarding Chinese, I hate alveolo-palatals.
Very curious this, considering the Japanese sh-, j- and ch- series are alveolo-palatal.
Aye, but I don't hear it as pervasively as the Chinese languages.
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Re: The worst sounding natlang ever

Post by KaiTheHomoSapien » Thu 01 Feb 2018, 18:18

Yeah, Mandarin has x, sh, zh, j, q, ch, all of them some kind of alveolo-palatal (or palato-alveolar) sound.
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Re: The worst sounding natlang ever

Post by Xonen » Thu 01 Feb 2018, 20:37

KaiTheHomoSapien wrote:
Thu 01 Feb 2018, 18:18
Yeah, Mandarin has x, sh, zh, j, q, ch, all of them some kind of alveolo-palatal (or palato-alveolar) sound.
According to Wikipedia at least, Mandarin <zh ch sh> are retroflex, but even if they are palato-alveolar, then that's still rather different from alveolo-palatal. And yes, the terminology is annoyingly confusing; the safest, IMO, would be to stick to "postalveolar" when distinguishing the subtype "palato-alveolar" isn't absolutely necessary (which it rarely is).

In any case, palato-alveolars and alveolo-palatals are in complementary distribution in Mandarin, so I don't think the problem is that it has more such phonemes in its inventory, but that such sounds are more "pervasive" in the actual spoken language. Which could be because they're simply more common, or due to some other reason, I guess... But since we're talking about entirely subjective assessments here, I suppose it ultimately doesn't much matter. Personally, I quite like both alveolo-palatals and Mandarin, although the latter only partially because of the former.
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Re: The worst sounding natlang ever

Post by LinguoFranco » Wed 07 Feb 2018, 01:34

Testyal wrote:
Sun 06 Mar 2011, 19:55
MrKrov wrote:Spanish. :-P
I can't agree with you more.
Honestly, I cannot decide whether I like or dislike the way Spanish sounds. Guess I'm neutral towards it.

I can't say I have heard a truly ugly language, I don't find Dutch very appealing, nor did I ever really like Slavic languages, mainly because they go crazy with consonants like Srpska. Like, how the heck am I supposed to pronounce that?
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Re: The worst sounding natlang ever

Post by Imralu » Wed 07 Feb 2018, 12:38

I'm going to get a bit retro and go back to the first couple of pages of this thread and jump on the Thai and Vietnamese train.

A couple of caveats though: Thai sounds kind of ugly and abrupt to me, but also completely adorably cute. Vietnamese is not cute, but I kind of find it interesting how horrible I find it. I always get my hair cut in a Vietnamese place and the hairdressers shout to each other in Vietnamese and I find it entertaining to listen to. I'm also grateful to not understand it because hearing people's banal conversations really annoys me while getting my hair cut - I can't stop eavesdropping if I understand, but just hearing a random string of sounds is fine.

Also, the food of both countries is basically the best although it's hard to get good Thai in Berlin. There aren't that many Thai restaurants - but a lot of Vietnamese places do Thai food too. I think I just miss Australianised Thai food - coconut rice and pad mamuang himapan!
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Re: The worst sounding natlang ever

Post by Ahzoh » Mon 12 Feb 2018, 14:03

I dislike Berber languages, both in how they are written and how they sound.
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Re: The worst sounding natlang ever

Post by Vlürch » Tue 13 Feb 2018, 22:22

LinguoFranco wrote:
Wed 07 Feb 2018, 01:34
Srpska. Like, how the heck am I supposed to pronounce that?
With a syllabic /r̩/. If you struggle with it, start by saying [serpska] and then reducing the /e/ until it's [sərpska]. Dropping the schwa should be pretty easy.
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Re: The worst sounding natlang ever

Post by LinguoFranco » Thu 05 Apr 2018, 16:27

Vlürch wrote:
Tue 13 Feb 2018, 22:22
LinguoFranco wrote:
Wed 07 Feb 2018, 01:34
Srpska. Like, how the heck am I supposed to pronounce that?
With a syllabic /r̩/. If you struggle with it, start by saying [serpska] and then reducing the /e/ until it's [sərpska]. Dropping the schwa should be pretty easy.
I'm guessing something similar applies to the Czech /krk/?
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