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.