Listing the most beautiful languages in the world is quite a challenge, but one we at Busuu felt confident we could tackle.
If you’re thinking about learning a new language, why not choose to learn something exceptionally beautiful? You can’t go wrong with any of these options.
Of course, this list is entirely subjective.
After all, how do you choose the world’s prettiest language?
By how it sounds? How it’s written? How poetic its phrases are?
We took all these factors into account (and a little personal preference) in coming up with this list of the 10 most beautiful languages in the world.
So, read on for our take on the world’s 10 most beautiful languages.
Here are (in no particular order) the 10 most beautiful languages in the world, according to Busuu’s experts
When it comes to the most attractive languages, for many people the native language of Italy likely springs to mind.
Italian is a famously beautiful language with its rolled ‘r’s, round vowels, and melodic rhythm. Words like bellissima, piacere, and palazzo seem to roll off the tongue, even for non-native speakers. Even, “Where is the washroom?” sounds pretty good in Italian – “Dov’è il bagno?” Not bad, right?
And that’s not to mention the unique Italian hand gestures – plus incredible food, wine, and culture – of Italy. Yep, there are plenty of good reasons, including the beauty of the language, to learn Italian.
When it comes to the most beautiful written language, Arabic has to be a strong contender. The beautiful cursive script has an inherent artfulness to it. And the beauty of Arabic writing is only compounded by the language’s long poetic tradition.
With more than 10 words for ‘love’ and a grammatical structure that has mathematical beauty to it (as you might know if you’re learning the language), Arabic was an easy choice to include on our list of the world’s most beautiful languages.
Okay, we may be a tad biased here, but if you’re looking for the nicest language to learn, English has a lot to offer. While not everyone finds every accent in English pretty, there’s no denying that the language of Shakespeare has a unique beauty.
And, as one of the world’s most commonly spoken languages, a lingua franca for business and tourism, there are many people all over the world taking time to learn English.
English is one of a few languages used to bring people together and allow them to communicate across cultures. And we think getting together and learning to understand each other is just beautiful.
Both European and Brazilian Portuguese are lovely languages, but we happen to be particularly partial to Brazilian Portuguese.
A unique mix of European Portuguese and languages indigenous to Brazil and the surrounding regions, the language has introduced some of the most beautiful Brazilian Portuguese expressions and phrases and unique, almost untranslatable concepts.
Take, for example, cafuné, a uniquely Brazilian word with African origin, meaning ‘the act of affectionately running one’s fingers through someone’s hair’… and not necessarily in a romantic way.
Or saudade, a more widely used Portuguese word, meaning, loosely, ‘a feeling of longing, melancholy, or nostalgia’.
Another of the most beautiful written languages in the world, Japanese is widely considered an aesthetically pretty language. Think of calligraphy in hiragana, not to mention some of the most beautiful Japanese kanji, like 愛 (ai) – love, or 魅 (mi) – meaning a strange and fascinating beauty.
Plus, the Japanese language produced the haiku, the sparse and beautiful poetry form. And, like Portuguese, it has a number of lovely, untranslatable words.
For example, natsukashii – a feeling something like nostalgia that warms the heart by bringing back memories, hanafubuki – a blizzard of flower petals in spring, or komorebi – sunlight filtering through leaves of the trees.
Beautiful, right? Just the kind of thing that’d make you want to learn Japanese.
Worth noting: Many Japanese kanji are also Chinese characters, so the two are really tied when it comes to beautiful written languages. (Chinese could easily have made this list, too – a reminder that this is totally subjective!)
Those first 5 languages sound pretty dreamy…
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Turkish may be a surprise to some, but it’s a romantic language (not a capital ‘R’ Romance language, that’s different!), with two different words for different kinds of love, and passionate phrases for loved ones.
While in English you might call your sweetie something like ‘my love’, ‘babe’, ‘darling’ or ‘honey’, in Turkish you call them ‘my eyes’, ‘my breath’, ‘my life’.
And the prettiest Turkish words give any language a run for its money, like izzetinefis – self-respect, or a belief in someone’s soul, and yakamoz – the way the sea sparkles when moonlight hits it (and also used to mean bioluminescence, in science). Yes, learn Turkish and you’ll be learning one of the world’s most beautiful languages.
7. Irish/Scottish Gaelic
Whether spoken or sung, the Irish and Scottish languages seem to produce a strange hold over people worldwide.
Anyone who’s seen Outlander or listened to Clannad – or just RTE – will likely tell you that these two variations of Gaelic, deserve a place among the top 10 most beautiful languages.
Part of the Celtic language family (a family that also includes Welsh, Breton, and Manx), the Gaelic languages are remarkable for their unique sound and grammatical structures, melodic lilt, and rich literary traditions dating back to the sixth century.
When it comes to the most beautiful and most melodic languages, those in the know about the many wonderful languages of Africa will often point to Lingala. It’s a Bantu language spoken in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Republic of the Congo and, to a lesser extent, Angola, the Central African Republic and South Sudan.
Lingala has a stunning flow and lovely rhythm, and is considered a very romantic language. Plus, it has simple, straightforward grammar that makes it fairly easy to learn. For a sense of the beauty of Lingala, try listening to Congolese musicians.
Another of the most melodic languages in the world, Thai is a beautiful language to listen to, and uses an aesthetically pretty script unique to Thailand. It’s a tonal language, meaning your tone can change the meaning of the word, as well as the vowels and consonants. That can make it a challenge to learn, but that tonality also lends itself to a lovely sound.
Take a peek at ไม่เป็นไร – “mai bpen rai”, meaning, essentially, “no worries”, or มะลิ – “ma-li”, the word for jasmine. What’s not to love?
Last but certainly not least, we have a common top pick for prettiest language, French. When it comes to romantic languages, for many French springs to mind. Paris and its landmarks are practically international symbols for romance, from Tokyo to Tampa.
And when you learn the French language, it does not disappoint, giving a touch of romance and class to things as humdrum as a twig (brindille), a slipper (pantoufle), or an anthology (florilège).
But then, of course, English has ‘humdrum’. Which is also pretty good… right?
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