It seems odd to me, but many foreign languages feel like they have a whole personality or mood to them.

German seems angry, Japanese (formal Japanese anyway) seems insecure and nerdy, French seems snobby.

It's not the people that speak the language really, in fact most people I know that don't fit their language stereotype, but the languages themselves just feel like that to me. Are these pretty standard, or do people have other interpretations? There's probably some technical term for this idea.

Obviously, as English is my native language and everyone around here speaks it, I have to such stereotype for it. Any suggestions? (heh, my guess would be either "lazy" or "stupid")

If everyone spoke every language, I'd probably use different languages to help convey the mood of my message.
Native asians that I have talked to have described English as a very emotional and musical language. One Vietnamese man said that before he learned the language, it sounded to him as though English speakers were singing when they talked to each other.

I think that this is because differences in words due to pronounciation of vowels tend to be more subtle in Asian languages than they are in English, making speaking styles more restrictive. Then again, I'm talking out my ass here (also a musical sound). What we need is a cunning linguist to clarify things for us.

I lot of differences in languages come from the languages' evolution. Swedish and Finnish are spoken with a closed mouth, relative to most African Languages, such as Swahili. This makes sense, for the simple reason that it is cold in Sweden most of the year, and it's harder to open your mouth wide. It's much simpler to speak with just a narrow opening. In Africa, though, heat is hardly a problem when speaking.

This gives different languages different 'colours', so that Swahili sounds warmer than Swedish. And so people speaking Swahili will tend, to the untrained ear, to be happier than Swedish speakers (except for in Swedish porn, of course).

Another difference is in the ear of the behearer. Not many words in English end in the same 'eau' or 'ou' that is common in French. The only words that do are imported words (like risqué), that often sound snobbish for several reasons, such as that they were imported from France because France was more advanced in the Art Cultures, so words like 'avant-garde' were imported, not words like 'sewer'. Naturally, when all the French-sounding words are related to the arts, the entire language may sound snobbish to an English speaker.

One last comment before I go - let me just say that the German word for darling is Schatz. 'Nuff said.

This may be slightly off-topic, but I often wonder what noises people that do not know English make if they are pretending to speak English.

For example, my fake German (my German stereotype) goes something like this: "Schwartin vorg sluggen hein veedervick." It generally includes lots of "harsh" consonants and no "soft" endings like the French "-eau".

I wonder what fake English sounds like?

First, I would like to comment that different dialects of a language will sound very different. I have been told that non-English speakers, when given samples of Irish English and (Standard) American English, often believe they are not the same language.

Russian sounds like a foreign language played backwards on a phonograph to me.

Dutch seems a very funny-sounding and -looking language to me, and to most other English-speakers I know. Probably because of its close similarities to our language, it looks and sounds like some weird mutant English. It also has odd letter-combinations almost never found in English, such as "aa", "ui", and "ij", and certain letters and letter-combinations such as "j", "z", "oo", and "ee" that are much more common in Dutch than English.


Another note is that, while German is often thought to be a very harsh-sounding language, the "harsh" consonants tend to be much less harsh in actual practice. The getting-ready-to-spit sound that English-speakers use to imitate the German ch (as in "akhCHCHchchCHCHhhhhhht" "eight") is not found in German; rather, it's much like an English "h", but a bit further forward in the mouth and with a bit more constriction. Final R-sounds in German are very soft, similar to French and British English. While German doesn't quite have the vocal, almost musical cadence perceived in French or Spanish, I found it to be a very pleasant-sounding language, especially in the dialect of Berlin.

Krok7's fake written German looks to mea lot like a blend of Dutch and German.

Most Americans confuse German with Dutch. Therefore, they write "Ok bleebik horgen schmorgen borbeen" instead of stuff like "Ich schenke ihn Das Buch" which is REAL German. Real German isn't that harsh, Americans just overly announciate the words like as someone said before for "ich" which sounds like "ish", they say "Ikkkkkkkkhhhh!" like in Arabic.

I also heard English is a harsh language compared to others. But I find that really hard to believe because I grew up with it XD I'd really like to know what "stereotypical" English looks like. Someone please write it! I think there is none if any because English is such a diverse language that "borrows" a lot. In German, most words end in "ch" "tz" "en" and stuff and Italian in "o" "u" "a" etc. English doesn't really have that.

"I often wonder what noises people that do not know English make if they are pretending to speak English."

In Ghana (where I grew up), whenever someone wanted to imitate someone with an American accent, or just more generally, an impressively fluent speaker of English, they would say something like:

"Risss prss strssp tris sprriss" etc.

This is because most of the languages spoken in Ghana end their words with vowels. Indeed, a lot of what happens when you adapt words from English into the local languages involves the dissolving off the consonant at the end of the word, or grafting on a new vowel to it. For example, in the Ghanaian language Twi, car becomes "kaa", or "bucket" becomes "bokiti".

For people in Ghana to whom English is a second language, or for those that simply picked up the Ghanaian-English accent and know nothing else, clipping the open sound of a vowel and stoppering off the word with a consonant is either unusual-feeling, or just plain impossible. Although it's not a one-way street; there are diphthongs in Ghanaian languages that native English speakers can never seem to get right...

In general, I'd take a guess that for each language, speakers pick up on the features that make English different from their native tongue, and exaggerate them when trying to fake English.

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