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2013/5/28 David McCann <[log in to unmask]>:
> Normally I'd argue for an objective aesthetics, but when it comes to
> the sound of language I think it's going to be subjective.
>
> I love Italian (opera?)

Opera alone would hardly make me like Italian, but together with
Italian pop and folk music like those sung by Andrea Bocelli, The
Three Tenors, Irene Grandi, Laura Pausini, etc., it makes me like
Italian and other related languages such as Napolitan.

> and Brazilian Portuguese (Gal Costa, Astrud Gilberto!)

So maybe you would love Bossa Nova in Italian language: "Estate". My
favorite version is in the voice of Irene Grandi:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pcxSrZP3y2U

Curiously, the Brazilian singer/composer Renato Russo recorded an
album of popular Italian songs called "Equilibrio Distante" and, in my
opinion, he outperformed the original versions of all those songs
(although their own songs in Portuguese don't please me very much):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QgXiSReqZCg

2013/5/28 Herman Miller <[log in to unmask]>:
> Linguistic beauty is in the ear of the beholder.

And in the voice of the speaker... Listen to this girl speaking in
English, Arabic, Swahili and French -- all of them sounded beautiful
(maybe "cute") to me:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dVARHfN13OI

> For one thing, Italian has
> clear, pure vowels, and these are pretty close to the IPA cardinal vowels
> (so they're well differentiated and easy to recognize). It has few really
> uncommon consonants, and the ones it does have are not harsh ones.
>
> I don't get why French is considered so beautiful. To my ears, Portuguese
> takes everything that sounds nice about French and does it better. But you
> know what they say, "chacun à son goût".

Now that you said it, it seems that French is only beautiful when
spoken in a soft, smooth, somewhat delicate voice and intonation,
otherwise it's very harsh.

2013/5/28 H. S. Teoh <[log in to unmask]>:
> On Tue, May 28, 2013 at 07:36:01PM -0300, Leonardo Castro wrote:
> [...]
>> OTOH, I guess that I don't know how to appreciate tonal languages,
>> maybe because I feel that the tones are in the wrong places (for
>> instance, I feel that the Chinese interrogtive particle "ma" should
>> have a rising tone).
> [...]
>
> Hmm. I think you still haven't "gotten" the idea of tones yet. Not your
> fault, of course -- I observe that it is very difficult for native
> speakers of European languages, where pitch contour is very much a part
> of prosody and for conveying mood, to be truly free of that L1 bias to
> interpret pitch/tone in that way.

I have already read that tonal languages overlap phonemic and prosody
tones. More interesting than that is how Mandarin and Cantonese
differently deal with word tones in music, according to this site:

http://www.sinosplice.com/life/archives/2010/12/06/tones-in-chinese-songs
http://linguistics.stackexchange.com/questions/3309/how-do-tones-work-in-music-sung-in-tonal-languages-such-as-cantonese-or-mandari

So, I simply "feel" that phonemic tones mess up my parameters of
language appreciation. Searching for "beautiful chinese music",
there's a series of very beautiful songs beautifully sung by beautiful
women, but I guess that phonemic tones are lost there. Besides, with
such voices, maybe the songs would be equally beautiful in any
language:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DuHMCFYIC9E

---

In regard to English,


Até mais!

Leonardo