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Spanish crowned world's happiest language

Alex Dunham · 18 Feb 2015, 16:22

Published: 18 Feb 2015 16:22 GMT+01:00

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If you’ve always loved the way Spanish sounds, there’s now scientific proof to back up those feelings of yours.

A team of scientists from the University of Vermont and research group MITRE Corporation have found the language of Cervantes to be the happiest-sounding out of a total of ten languages reviewed (English, German, Brazilian Portuguese, Korean, French, Chinese, Russian, Indonesian, Arabic and Spanish).

They took the 10,000 most frequently used words from each language and hired 50 native speakers to rate each word from 1 to 10 on a happiness scale.

Perhaps obviously, words such as ‘laughter’ and ‘love’ received positive ratings in all the lingos while ‘terrorist’ received a negative one.

All of the languages scored above the neutral 5 overall, backing up previous research that argued that human language is naturally skewed towards positive sentiment.

However, once all the scores were added, Spanish came up on top, followed by Portuguese and English.

At the low end of the scale were Russian, Korean and Chinese.

Story continues below…

The research is part of a larger online project to rate words on their happiness called the hedonometer, currently only available for English.

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Alex Dunham (alex.dunham@thelocal.com)

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