Why does French sound so sexy? After studying French linguistics for a few years, I could 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.
Several things at play make 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 intonation differs when you speak French (as compared to English). The speech patterns are almost song-like.
- French speakers drop many more complex 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 these things contribute to the “romantic” feeling you get when you listen in as a foreigner.
Listen to the 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 that 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 sexy in popular culture, and sex symbols like Brigitte Bardot or romantic archetypes help perpetuate these ideas. Even Paris, the French capital, is erroneously revered by some as the City of Love.
Likewise, the French language is not considered universally “sexy.” I know French people who hate how French sounds and prefer speaking ENGLISH! Let that be some food for thought.
So what are your thoughts? Is French sexy, or are other things at play that mold our mindset and confirm our views? Feel free to comment below. And if you want more information on French and why French sounds the way it sounds, here’s my extensive article on French phonology and phonetics.
Merci beaucoup! A fun and instructive site. Yes French is such a sexy language.