Why does French sound so sexy? After studying French linguistics for a few years, I was able to dive into what made French so pleasing to the ears. I also have some experience speaking Italian. Let’s look at this a bit more closely.
There are several things at play which makes French sound sexy:
- The French language has unique sounds that you won’t find in English.
- When speaking French, the focus is on the vowels. They are more “pure” in a sense, unlike English which has diphthongs. Italian, however, trumps French in terms of vowel/pronunciation simplicity.
- French has liaisons that contribute to how the language flows perfectly. The speech patterns are almost song-like. When you speak French (as compared to English), the intonation differs.
- French speakers drop a lot of those harder consonants at the end of words. This is not a steadfast practice though and there are rules to dictate when you pronounce the word in its entirety.
All of these things contribute to the “romantic” feeling you get when you listen in as a foreigner.
Listen to French song below and experience it yourself. In just 4 minutes, you’ll hear everything I’m talking about. My favorite part is at 2:26:
Here’s another, more popular, French song which also displays everything pretty well.
However, I can talk about liaisons and “pure vowels” all day. In all honesty, the reason French sounds sexy is because it’s a foreign language. The novelty alone intrigues native English speakers. French is stereotyped as being sexy in popular culture and sex symbols like Brigitte Bardot or romantic archetypes helps perpetuate these ideas. Even Paris, the French capital, is erroneously revered by some to the City of Love.
Likewise, the French language is not considered universally “sexy.” I know of French people who hate how French sounds and prefer speaking ENGLISH! Let that just be some food for thought.
So what are your thoughts? Is French sexy or are there other things at play which mold our mindset and confirm our views? Feel free to comment below. And if you want more information on French why French sounds the way it sounds, here’s my extensive article on French phonology and phonetics.