A study by leading global e-learning platform Preply has revealed the most attractive languages based on heart rates, with Italian proven to be the most scientifically sensual language of all time.
Preply combined a variety of chat-up lines in different languages and worked with participants willing to get their hearts racing for the sake of science. Participants were fitted with heart rate monitors and asked to listen to the different flirtatious clips whilst having their pulse analysed.
Preply then compared participants resting heart rate, at an average of 65 bpm, with their heart rate whilst listening to the chat-up lines to determine the increase in bpm.
The language that came out on top was Italian; with participants experiencing a 23% uplift in heart rates from 65 bpm to 80 bpm. This was followed by Portuguese (20% increase from 65 bpm to 78 bpm) and French (18% increase from 65 bpm to 77 bpm). Russian and Greek made up the top five.
But what makes a language sound so sensual? Aleksandra Stevanovic, linguist and translator with a BA in Swedish Language and Scandinavian Literatures explains: “The languages perceived to be easy for singing like Italian follow the pattern of one-vowel-one-consonant, so every syllable ends in a vowel. These sound musical to human ears, which can be perceived as more ‘attractive’.”
Jo Silverwood, Head of Translation and Localisation at meta, also states: “By far one of the sultriest languages is French. It’s the je ne sais quoi that makes it sound so charming, but is this down to linguistics, or social and cultural reasons? We have a stereotypical view of the French with their stylish haute couture, fine wines, and romantic Parisienne landmarks. However, the phonemes of the French language mimic the husky, ‘sultry’ hoarseness we’ve grown to love.”
Dutch was the language that got participants least excited, with heart rates increasing by a mere 12%, followed by German and Japanese, at 15% each.
Aleksandra comments: “Languages with lots of consonants stacked together in so-called consonant groups are perceived as non-musical. These types of languages – which include Slavic languages and German, are often perceived as less ‘attractive’.”
Want to make your voice sound more sensual this Valentine’s Day? According to Aleksandra, you must:
1. Lower Your Pitch
Think of Benedict Cumberbatch. He deliberately slows down and lowers his voice; and a lower voice is also associated with higher authority and confidence – and confidence is a very attractive quality to have.
2. Speak Slower
By speaking slowly, you will be perceived as more confident as you won’t trip over your words or stutter – something that can happen when our brains send mixed signals to our vocal cords.
3. Add a Sultry Overlay
Channel the likes of Scarlett Johansson and try to deliberately aspirate your vowels (send extra air). A low, husky voice that sometimes ‘breaks’ is thought of as very seductive.
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For more information on the research:
We worked out the average resting heart rate of all 10 participants combined, which was 65bpm. We then worked out the average resting heart rate of all 10 participants combined when they listened to the different audios to determine how much their heart rate increased (from their average resting heart rate of 65bmp). The higher the percentage increase, the more “heart-racing” the language.
Preply is an online learning platform, connecting a global network of tens of thousands of active learners with 15,000 verified tutors teaching over 50 languages. With student-tutor matches being suggested through a machine-learning algorithm, recommended tutors create customised lesson plans to suit the learner’s budget, schedule, and current knowledge. Since Preply’s foundation in 2013, students from 150 countries have taken over two million classes from teachers based in 110 countries.
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