Why do some languages sound more euphonious than others?

How This Came Up: In Luxembourg people speak French, German, and Luxembourgish. Listening to the stark contrast between French and German made me wonder ‘why do some languages sound so much more musical than others’? 

Answer: Euphonious is a word that means pleasant in sound and agreeable to the ear. As languages develop, changes often occur to ease pronunciation and allow people to speak faster. Some languages have made more of these phonetical adaptations than others. There are many different ways to make a language easier on the tongue and ear. These are the main ways:

1. Elision is when sounds that complicate pronunciation are dropped from words.

2. A Contraction is when two words are combined. This is done by eliminating tricky sounds that make an awkward transition between two words.

3. Liaisons are redistributions of sound that ease a transitions between words. This occurs when a word ending with a silent letter is followed by a word beginning with a vowel or another silent letter. The sound at the end of a word (usually silent) is pronounced as the first letter in the next syllable. French is known for its use of liaisons. In French D,M, N, P, R, S, T, and X are usually silent at the end of words.

          The French language in noted for its musicality. Besides Liaisons,  French has another characteristic that make it so euphonious. All syllables in a word are pronounced with the same intensity. No one syllable in any word is stressed. Instead whole sentences are phrased with a sense of musicality. When combined with liaisons, such phrasing allows the language to flow like music.


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Published in: on January 5, 2009 at 12:39 pm  Leave a Comment  

Why were most of the Nazi extermination camps located in Poland and why were there only labor camps in Germany?

How This Question Came Up: I am currently visiting my sister Rose at her home in Saarbruecken Germany. During a train ride to Luxembourg (where we were taking a day-trip) I asked my sister if there were any Concentration Camps near her home. She responded that only labor camps were in Germany and that all the concentration camps were in Poland. This lead to a discussion of the difference between labor camps, concentration camps, and death/extermination camps. After we finished this conversation I was left wondering ‘Why were there no death camps in Germany?’

The Answer:

1: The German labor camps were built before the  Final Solution was decided upon in 1942.

2. Poland was a convenient location because it was home to the largest Jewish population of any European country.

3. Poland’s remote location was ideal for hiding the attempted genocide from the German people and from the world.

4. The Nazis saw the German population (and other populations of Western Europe) as an ideal Aryan race that was being contaminated with the presence of Jews. They wanted to rid Germany of this ‘contamination’ as soon as possible. The Nazis saw the Slavic people of Poland as ‘half human’, making Poland a resonable place to send the ‘poisonous’ Jewish people.

5. Eastern Europe was not an option because the Eastern European railway system was already overwhelmed by the Nazi War Effort. The trains could not have supported the exrta burden of the transportation of all off Europe’s Jews.

Published in: on December 31, 2008 at 3:24 pm  Leave a Comment  

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Published in: on December 31, 2008 at 2:02 pm  Leave a Comment