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Learning for love: is your language hot or not?

Posted on May 12, 2015 by

LoveSurvey_Image_1200x600

I think Nelson Mandela said it best:

If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.”

I suspect he had loftier ambitions than holiday romance, but good advice is good advice.

Here at Babbel HQ, we like the sentiment but we wanted to expand on it a little. Clearly it pays to speak the language of love, but which is it? We thought about giving our anecdotal tips for success in multilingual matters of the heart, but it didn’t seem quite right. Beauty, after all, is in the eye of the beholder.

Our opinions alone weren’t going to cut it – we needed a method as scientific as it was sexy.

So we asked a few Babbel-using friends to help out. After over 14,000 of them got back to us with their opinions on love and language, we crunched the numbers to bring you the hard facts of interlingual love.

Quelle surprise

In truth, we saw it coming: French speakers have by far the sexiest language, the sexiest accent, and a sizeable chunk of the sexiest words too. A full 90% of our users say they’d learn a language for love, and it seems a lot of them were thinking about French.

In terms of numbers, 34.7% of people that took part in our survey think that French was the sexiest language on offer. And in Spain, nearly half of our respondents agreed. In each of the countries we surveyed, French was either the most popular or second-most popular foreign language.

Encouraging news for French learners then, but if you’re a native speaker it gets even better: the French accent proves to be hugely popular, no matter which language is being spoken. In fact, 53% of users in Germany picked the inimitable (-ish) qualities of their francophone neighbors’ pronunciation as their absolute favorite.

The French vocabulary also seems to be infused with a certain va va voom. Common answers to our questions about the sexiest foreign words and phrases included several variations on amour, je t’aime and chérie. Our Italian users in particular had some very – shall we say – creative uses for the French they’d already picked up.

Runners up

In the sexy language stakes, a trio of aptly named Romance languages – French, Italian, and Spanish, in that order – proved far and away the most popular. Maybe it’s something to do with the fiery Latin temperament, those long summer nights on the Mediterranean, La Dolce Vita

For all we know, it’s something in the water. Whatever the cause, there’s something seriously sexy about those languages. And they’re all paired with equally attractive accents, it seems. When we looked at what our users have to say, however, a new contender emerges – English.

Whether that’s English like you might expect to hear in the east end of London or from the deep south of the USA, we can’t say yet. But we do know that the accents people most associate with their idea of English speakers are sexy. Sexy enough, in fact, to knock Spanish off the podium and claim its spot as the world’s third sexiest accent.

If French is the language of love, then perhaps English is its lingua franca?

It’s the taking part that counts

Of course, any effort to find out which languages are sexy is bound to reveal, to some extent, which ones aren’t. We hate to be the bearers of bad news, but some of you are just going to have to rely on your looks.

We’ll keep it brief: the languages and accents our respondents deemed ‘most unsexy’ (that’s like ‘least sexy’ but worse) are as follows: Chinese, German and Russian. Again, in that order.

We’re not sure what links these languages, or what people have against them, but we’re sorry.

If it’s any consolation, you can still learn a sexier language with Babbel.

 

Comments

Kia ora
Any plans to put up a programme for the Maori language?

I have someone else who wants to learn Portuguese, so rather than struggle each on our own, we are going to learn together, but just us two, not going to a class or anything.

I want to know what resource would be best/most appropriate for us to use – e.g. linguaphone, rosetta stone, michel thomas etc. , but given that I want to be able to eventually write, read and speak – not just speak.

Thanks for getting in touch, Conno. Some would say I’m biased, but I think you might like Babbel. It’ll teach you reading, writing, speaking and listening: https://www.babbel.com/learn-portuguese-online

This was one very strange survey, one without any possibility for objective statistical assessment. As many users of Babbel pointed out it is utterly subjective issue. So the point of creating the topic was only one – make it controversial and attract the discussion. What are the ways of assessment? First – personal interaction -bear in mind that real love could be involved, hence the language preference. Second – movies. Third – literature and music (songs, operas). When the cultural content requires emotional and intellectual intelligence, movies most of the time do not, they instead almost feed you with the intended outlook. I for one feel offended with such a blunt statement about German and Russian. How many of those participated actually know how tender and tough Russian can be? and it depends on a listener and a talker – they carry their own accents (English for one has hundreds of accents worldwide, I mean born with English in guts). Therefore, the statistics (if any could be pulled out) are be very narrow, confined in borders, having no sense. I will unsubscribe with Babbel just for the people who works there and comes up with such ideas. There are other on-line language learning options.

You are talking about alllanguageslike an old woman and mixing it with too much of love and sex .Do not you have anything else,more attractive and encouraging to say about languages?

I’m pure French born and bred. I also speak English that I use for my histoirical visits of tea hidden charming pspots my beloved Paris, see my site (www.parhistorywalks.eu) that is also in German. I love all these three langages and would be delighted to learn both Italian and Russian, they’re fitting so well to music… For the language of love and also to play with words, French is definitely on top. See u someday in Paris to exchange on these topics

Alain

i really wanna learn Spanish cuz im so into it and it’s really hard language.i need help?

web sites and businesses are required to have contact info on the site! It’s also poor customer service! Anyway I want to learn Aramaic and sumarian I can connect you to someone who teaches Aramaic he just hasn’t resources to actually teach it!

Hello Johnny,

Thanks for your message! Please contact Babbel customer service directly at support@babbel.com for further assistance.
On this page you can also find all the informations you need to get in touch with Babbel:
http://www.babbel.com/faq#topic_42950298

In your App you have the Brazilian flag as one of the languages you teach. Do you teach Brazilian? As far as I am aware, in Brazil they speak Portuguese. The Portuguese flag and the Brazilian flag are different. Please amend that before I leave a review in your app. Thanks

Hi Duarte, thanks for commenting.

Of course the Portuguese language is spoken both in Portugal and Brazil, but since the Brazilian variety differs somewhat from European Portuguese in its vocabulary, grammar, and particularly in its pronunciation we label our courses this way to point out that we only focus on Brazilian Portuguese.

Best,

Sam

Persian.

That was a fun and informative article. Thank you very much.

I would very much like to know about the breakdown based on the native
and habitual languages of the respondants. Are those statistics available?

How about Farsi/Dari and our own Hindustani/Urdu. There are literally dozens of words just for the one “love” in English – each one depicting a slightly varying degree of attraction.

The language that makes me me weak and that I want to know is Spanish

I find french very lovely but the accents very challenging.

This is obviously highly subjective. The truth is that the maximum enjoyment comes from discovering the truth that all languages have. I have only discovered six and would love to keep going!

Italian is the best language to speak.

I really want to learn english and swedish.

wow ! German is the most breath taking language…

Love does not need languages, but for this survey, my favorite language is Italian.

WithLove you do not need language but if both partner love each others than languge will be use I like German

wow!!!…maybe not sexy, but maybe personal opinion!

coz to me the ONLY 2 accents that are really good is Pommy (English) and Kiwi (NZ)
Spanish is a nice language! if you’ve ever been there, its Asombroso!
Everyone is a little de miras estrechas to which accent they prefer aye!!

I speak urdu, English, French and portuguese……but i think the most sexiest language is portuguese……

Portuguese all the way. When I hear someone speaking it…;) Like Cristiano Ronaldo at the 2013 Ballon d’Or, for instance. And the 2014 one, too for that matter.

English is my second language and proud to have learn it at kindergarten but French is no doubt the language that is musical to my ears and I have always dream of learning it…and I still determined to speak it fluently one day…Spanish is my second choice having traveled to few Spanish speaking countries it gave me the urge to learn the langua

You can find any language to be the most sexy one. It just depends on who is speaking and what SHE says

Here’s John Cleese and Jamie Lee Curtis in the “sexy language” scene from “A Fish Called Wanda.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YyKy2JzREiE

the list I think is a bit narrow minded, considering that you only talk about western european languages…you can’t ask somebody about a language they never experienced before…so then what’s the point of the survey?

A native spanish speaker, I know french and yet disagree. It is not the language: its the meaning, the tone, the volume, the intention. Anything sweetly whispered in your ear or acompanied whith the appropriate look in your eyes…

In poetry, English is really beautiful and sexy :). In song, Español is soooo so sexy, you turn red listening to it ;). In speech, I think non-native English like Spanish, Russian or Scandinavian accented English is the sexiest language on the planet!!!!!
And have you tried Kiyarwanda, native language from the land of a thousand hills in East Africa?! It’s beautiful ;).

In poetry, English is really beautiful and sexy :). In song, Español is soooo so sexy, you turn red listening to it ;). In speech, I think non-native English like Spanish, Russian or Scandinavian accented English is the sexiest language on the planet!!!!!

It is ridiculous to call a language “sexÿ” . Romansh languages are beautiful and musical, not sexy. I think that pure Spanish from Spain has first place in being romantic, than French and Italian.
Portughese has latin roots but hard to understand and learn.

The Languages for lovers are French Italian and Spanish period, those are languages with identity and personality, when it comes to romance there is no comparison.

I believe music can make almost any language sexy, depends so much on the singer and the musical content. My all time favourite is Portuguese Fado. If you watched the movie “A Fish Called Wanda”, Russian may come out on top!

I voted for German as the sexiest language! And I rank Russian as second. Strong and thick languages make my ears happy!

Bonsair!, Definitely French!

English language sends too many mixed messages.

Would love to learn the Arabic language. Salaam Alykum!

Meanwhile, here’s Maori – Kia Ora!

i also think french is a sexy language. plus i wish babbel had more stuff on there, like when im learning a new language, i wish they had more tools to help learn and understand the language better

The sexiest language is body language

I think it’s an impossible quest–I love the sound of Gaelic, I can recite a little poem and know what the poem means,, but I don’t actually speak or understand the language!
I DO speak English, German, Spanish, Bahasa (Indonesia / Malaysia), ‘survival-level’ Japanese plus a very little Cantonese. I can also understand 85% or more of written Italian and Dutch, as well as over 65% of written French and Portuguese. To me, however, *some* of the many Irish and Scots accents are the very sexiest, followed by Scandinavian English!

Norweigen is the sexiest by far. I love the accent as well.

German and Russian language
are more sexier than French,having lived with the people i know.French is too feminine.

I think Scotish accent is sexy, if talking about United Kingdom English, in language I think Portuguese is a sexy language, but need to mention the Native Americans languages

If you want took about love must be language Italy .if you want to speak language human should be speak French or espanol if want speak harder must be speak anther language

For me the best language to expres your love is Italian.
But nobody is able to hide his love because his eyes always
display it.

I think spanish is the sexiers language

At venerable 80, I rate language learning principally for its overall usefulness.

Personally, I rate English, French, Spanish and Italian in this order. Classics would fix Latin and Greek as mother languages.

French words are very sexy
But the English accent sound
Sexier

I think french language is the more sexiest than any other language

I really love French I’ve always wanted to learn it

Very good product. Portuguese app helped a lot while in Brazil. Even some waiters and waitresses asked me for the name so they can use it on their American customers.

German IS sexy!

l love french

Hebrew is the most beautiful and romantic language. Then Spanish I think is next, then Italian then French

French

I must take issue with the statement that in the deep south of the usa thye speak ENGLISH!!!! They don’t. Thhey speakm write and spell American, which is a form of English but not the correct form.

I speak English and Spanish, so I’m glad I speak two of the sexiest languages. However, I’ll have to say that Portuguese, especially when sung, is very, very sexy.

I want to learn French language as soon as possible,is it possible?

I want to learn french

What about the Irish accent?! Ohhh, I go weak at the knees when I hear an Irishman speak…

I would like to learn french.spanich.arabic.

Why the Portuguese language now called ‘Brazilian Portuguese’?. Don’t Brazilians speak Portuguese ? We here in Canada and the US speak English, not American English. Disrespectful to both the language and the Portuguese people.

Thanks for your comment!

As for your question, of course the Portuguese language is spoken both in Portugal and Brazil, but since the Brazilian variety differs somewhat from European Portuguese in its vocabulary, grammar, and particularly in its pronunciation we label our courses this way to point out that we only focus on Brazilian Portuguese.

Hope that clears things up.

Best,

Sam

I personally think German is an incredibly sexy language.

Spanish

Nooo! Chinese is a beautiful, musical language! Sure, it’s hard to learn, but what’s not to like about “wo eye nee?” This is the phonetic version of “wo ai ni.”
To me, Spanish-accented English is far and away the sexiest language ever spoken. Don’t believe me? Listen to a Placido Domingo interview. If you don’t swoon, you are not a human woman. IMHO

I really want to learn Korean. And so do my friends. We want to go to South Korea. My friends and I would really appreciate it if Korean was added to Babbel.♡

That was fun and informative. Yaaay for French! I knew I had chosen well. Too bad I missed participating in the survey.

Well shut my mouth, I have always thought that Russian women, speaking the English language were incredibly sexy and so are Swedish women when the speak English. How about that?

Hi
I would like to say that I don’t agree with this statements. German is not sexy at all. That it’s double as sexy as my native language is so NOT true !! When I say: “du bist hässlich”, do you find that sexy ? I don’t think so.
For me Spanish is the nicest language, then Portuguese.

Grts, Alan.

If it’s just the tonal quality, well I’d lean toward the Romance languages – Italian in particular because it is so richly enhanced with nuanced gestures and facial expressions. [Oddly, Romanian didn’t appear.] As for romantic content, depth, and versatility? – it’s English, hands-down!

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Hello,

Thanks for your message! Please contact Babbel customer service directly at support@babbel.com for further assistance.

GERMAN!

I do not agree.
For me, ITALIAN is definitely the FIRST ONE…
Much much more sexy that French.
Sorry, my French friends.

Learning French because my boyfriend and future husband comes from a frenchtalking land.
Mandela was right about languages

Mercifully we all have different tastes. For me the nasal whining, accompanied by the pout, of French women has to be the ugliest accent of all.

I am so happy that others like the French, it keeps them away from me. Ca me convient parfaitement.

Italian is my native language, English is my favourite one, I live in France so I speak French, with Babel I study German as I always heard it spoken when I was a little girl. I also speak Spanish.

Really language is an important access especially for an Immigrant but retireded by age and time proportion.

My husband learned spanish he could speak it really well. He wanted me to learn it also. Italian would be different.

I would like to learn Latin and later spanish.

Quite surprisingly Dutch and Chinese are at the bottom of the list. I still find Dutch women quite attractive, inspite of that… How come Icelandic is not in the list? or finnish for that matter.

Sorry, to disagree about French. I had Fr in university, but it has a vulgar sound in my opinion & so I never continued. Is this what others are saying is sexy? Does your poll go far enough or are your respondents reacting to a Hollywood stereotype? Italian & Spanish are far ahead of Frances, but that’s only my opinion.

Iove babble I wish to be with out money

good

very correct

Dere har bare språket på Svensk. Jeg er Norsk. Dansk hadde vært bedre da skrift språket er mer lik norsk en svenskt

I really want to learn German

The sexiest languages are French and Russian. then Italian. But this is not true. ALL LANGUAGES are sexiest. And finally the sexiest language is the native one.

Hello,
I’d like to start off by saying that I love all kinds of languages, and I have nothing personal against Babbel, but I just thought I’d point out that, your text and the result charts are a bit contradictory… You say that the most unsexy accents are Chinese, Russian and German; but the chart places both Russian and German way ahead of accents such as Portuguese, Swedish, Dutch, just to mention a few… Both languages are also not far down on the sexiest language chart, so how are they the 2nd and 3rd most unsexy languages and accents?
Thank you for your time.
PS: I’m not trying to spark a scandal, I am asking out of pure curiosity. If I misunderstood any of the information, please do clarify.

Hey, thanks for your question. That information comes from two questions that weren’t included in the charts – we asked specifically about the least sexy language and the least sexy accent. It’s true that plenty of people thought these languages were sexy, but even more of our respondents found them to be the opposite. We’ve removed the charts now to avoid any confusion.

could I please try another free german lesson instead

Hello Pieter,
you can try for free the first lesson of every course (INtermediate, Advanced, Grammar and so on). Cheers, your Babbel Team.

Yap, c’est vrai… Le premier est français, le deuxième est italien et troisième est espagnol

Dear S/M,
Hi, I want to learn romanian and hungrian language, because romanian is my sister-in-law or fly best friend, she can’t speak other language, I want to learn romanian because of her. And hungrian because of my girl friend, she can speak only her language so that’s why I wanna learn hungrian, and in your this application not have both these language, so I can’t learn, what I can do, how I can learn, what you can do for me, please give me response, I’ll be wait for your reply. Thank you so much .

This is nonsense.What is the point of this survey?

The sexiest romance language I know is Portuguese and the second is Romanian.
I think French is well down the list with rather guttural Spanish.
Italian can sound very rough sometimes depending on the dialect used.

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