https://www.duolingo.com/SamuelCristea

Which language sounds the most powerful?

Hello everyone, so my question is basically asking for your personal opinion on which language sounds powerful. What I mean by powerful is, for example like when someone's arguing or something, which language sounds strong or affirmative, not necessarily aggressive but powerful! I hope you understand what I mean...

Anyways, what I want you to do is

  1. Chose a language and write it down in comments
  2. Explain in great detail why you think that language sounds powerful
  3. Also if you can give us an example like a video or a sentence to prove your claim.

I hope this will be a fun activity for all of us and I hope you weren't confused with what I was trying to say. I also hope we could get as many people to join so we can have a variety of languages. Please, no rude comments this is all personal opinions so respect each others opinions. Thanks!

September 27, 2017

48 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/KidKawaii
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I may be biased, but Japanese. Certain people can make it sound adorable or funny, but if you've ever had a Japanese businessman yell at you for bumping into him, then you'd agree with me too. Also, Japanese doesn't really have curse words, so tone is everything. If a Japanese person gives you an angry tone, you basically just got the finger.

September 27, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Akvamariin
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I think the Japanese spoken by those "manly" characters in Japanese cartoons can sound very strong and frightening.

September 28, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/wyqtor
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Japanese is one of the few languages that can sound both very powerful (imagine some Samurai warriors speaking!) and very soft, soothing even ( like in this song: :https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eG5lCJmnKWw )

September 28, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/SamuelCristea

Yes! At first when you guys said Japanese I was like really; but when you mention Samurai, I can see how powerful it sounds now! You convinced me.

September 28, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/CarlosLM.
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Excuse me, as this is the most upvoted language, could you please put some audio or video link, as an example of being Japanese a powerful language? (Or at least an example to hear the angry Japanese tone you are referring to). I am not much into the Japanese culture so I don't really know where to look for, but I am genuinely curious about what has you depicted in your post. :-)

September 30, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/owlhell

Well, ASL isn't a spoken language but I'd say that's the most powerful to me. Obviously, in spoken languages (meaning using voice), you have some facial expressions and tone of voice. The majority of most people's messages is clarified with the tone of voice. You don't verbally speak in ASL, so you have to use lots of facial expressions in place of the tone of voice. If I sign ANGRY with my brows only a little squinted, that's a different level of angry than signing ANGRY with pursed lips, really furrowed brows and the veins popping out of my neck. The facial expressions can usually show the intensity of your message without you needing to add extra signs. I'm including a video from Master of None: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OLDF4OziwEA it's quite a funny couple argument in ASL. If you haven't seen it, I won't spoil it. But when the mom comes in to confront the couple, you can see her really emphasize a certain word in an annoyed/sarcastic way by signing is clearly and very slowly.

September 28, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/SamuelCristea

I love ASL! Thank you for that awesome description. What I find fascinating is how they use facial expression for grammar. For example, when you ask a "yes" or "no" question you need to raise your eyebrows and when you ask a "Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How" question you need to lower your eyebrows. ASL is an awesome language and probably the most powerful in my opinion.

September 28, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/CarlosLM.
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Yes, I agree that in general sign languages are way more expressive than spoken languages.

September 28, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/LICA98
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English

September 27, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Divenzi
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Jesus why did people down vote you?? English is a legitimate answer...

September 27, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/garpike
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Jesus why did people down vote you??

I never even realised LICA98 was actually Jesus. Must try to remember to upvote him...

September 28, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/bleusclues

oml

September 28, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Divenzi
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Russian-- its the perfect combination of german-like authority and italian-like persuasion-- the combination that makes up power. The sh ch dj sounds make the language seem "full" and the lack of hard clumped-up consonants give it a rhythmic flow A vid: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kqD8lIdIMRo (Sorry that it's political but just listen to the language-- I thought it is a good example of naturally spoken Russian instead of beginner tutorials and what not)

September 27, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/CarlosLM.
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Remember, if you want to pronounce Russian properly, Russians never smile: :D

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MsC9aE24qw8t=4m49s (Look for time 4m49s)

September 28, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/LeiferB

Hey... you smiled! points to ":D" emoji

September 28, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/CarlosLM.
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I'm not a Russian, I'm from Spain! lol :D

September 28, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/LeiferB

Lol indeed... :p

September 28, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/BelgianStr
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https://www.duolingo.com/Mr_Eyl
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Seconded!

Dajonlu'pa' bIHeghjaj.

September 27, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Englandismycityy

Swahilli is very powerful language to listen if you mean sounding like authoritative. It has a very distinct simple sound which I like. Some languages when you listen to just sound chaotic from all the dynamic sounds and crazy words. Also, I used to live in Africa maybe that's why I think this.

September 28, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Far-quaad
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Any slavic language, also German. I once saw a German exchange student lose their head in their native language and it made her sound quite angry :)

September 28, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/CarlosLM.
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I vote for German, because of his guttural sounds and its some impressive long words. This is my proof :D (please, take in mind that this video is only a parody, natural German is much softer):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-_xUIDRxdmc

September 28, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/isnottogive
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I completely agree with Heike333145 that what makes a language powerful depends more on the individual speaker than the language itself. I would even add that the intent of the speaker when said speaker tackles that language at different moments can make a whole lot of difference.

Because let's be honest, even a language with a reputation of soft can sound pretty awe-inducing in songs like in Le Chant des Partisans: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1hjwicn_evs

or a language that has a reputation of being harsh and angry-sounding sound beautifully sweet (at least to my ears) in poems like Erinnerung an die Marie A: https://youtu.be/dji6lLw25bk?t=14s (it's only a fragment of the poem btw, I highly recommend you all to check the whole thing)

September 28, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/xipetotec
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I don't have an answer to the original question, but I found it amusing that all your language icons have vertical stripes, and all mine are horizontal. There's also probably someone with all crosses.

September 27, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/SamuelCristea

Yes! That is very interesting and I'm pretty sure there is someone out there with all crosses. I've had someone else say the same thing about my language icons in another discussion I made: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/23104702

September 28, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Heike333145
Plus
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Whether a language sounds powerful or not depends totally on the personality of the individual speaker.

September 27, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Heike333145
Plus
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I find it hilarious that my comment was downvoted into oblivion within minutes. I mean -- I was serious, I was polite. But it was simply not what people wanted to read. shrug -- a good exercise for my shoulders and neck ...

September 27, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/elizadeux
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Keep in mind that some people downvote randomly for no reason at all.

September 28, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Sie00
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Maybe people disagree with you. Your opinion makes an answer to the question impossible. I find your answer one dimensional and too simple. I disagree with It. I think using a metric of averages, some languages can appear more powerful than others. You have a point, of course the individual speaker's usuage of language has a huge effect on the perceived 'power', but It's not true to say that one language can't appear more powerful than another in my opinion. I disagreed with your opinion so therefore I downvoted your comment. You can have your opinion, but don't complain if those who disagree downvote. That's what downvote is there for.

September 28, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/CarlosLM.
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I strongly agree, if DL does not want downvotes then they should change their interface to one like facebook's, and I have also read the site guidelines and there is nothing about her particular interpretation about downvotes. And what is worst, her interpretation of downvotes is completely out of context . In the same link she gives, it says:

-Voting is your way of anonymously voicing your opinion and impacting the content posted by the community.

and

-When you don't think a comment adds to the conversation and think it should move further down in the thread, click on the arrow that points down.

so the downvote has a multiple purpose, and I find that one legitimate use is to express disagreement, and I think that this is its most frequent use, since IMO fortunately you hardly find offensive posts, personal attacks, harmful content, and spam in Duolingo.

September 29, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/CarlosLM.
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OTOH, IMHO she twisted the OP question talking about "Whether a language sounds powerful or not", whereas what the OP was looking for is the language that sounds the most powerful. She has a point in that the principal factor to sound powerful is in the speaker, but a language as a tool also plays a role, and for a variety of reasons one language might sound more powerful than the other ones to the ears of the listener...

September 29, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Justin7171

Well, I think Italian sounds the most powerful!

The rhythm really makes it sound dramatic, especially when expressing their feelings. Here is a video that will pretty much explain what I mean: https://youtu.be/c5KE9BvwfQU

Another language that comes close is Romanian!

It sounds similar to Italian however the slavic influences give it a different flavor of powerfulness. Here is the video in Romanian: https://youtu.be/7veVdw7Lf3c

September 27, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/melody13861

Both languages sound so awesome! I love it. I'm surprised because I hear similar words in both languages. ;)

September 27, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/judith458282
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Italian can be dramatic, but it is also beautiful to hear.

German, on the other hand, much as I love it for making rules and sticking to them, can sound abrupt.

September 27, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/OldPalHappy

I've heard German can be very strong and direct. Not sure about powerful, but I'm just quoting some people c:

September 27, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/iMarciano
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sign language

September 27, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/OldPalHappy

I enjoyed this answer.

September 28, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/EliasPitts

me to!

September 28, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/JessicaYoung3

my first instinct was to answer arabic. which then i had to rethink i have one friend from egypt he is very agressive in his tone of voice and another friend also from egypt and he is very gentle and soft spoken. so i am with heike333145 i am not sure that there is so much a most powerful language so much as just a matter of the speaker. I have heard English, Spanish, ASL, French, German, Assyrian, Farsi and Czech in addition to my two friends spoken both very powerfully and also very soft.

September 28, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/OmegaGmaster
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Circassian, specifically Kabardian. With ~60+ different sounds, most of them gutturals and ejectives, it sounds quite powerful when spoken with a loud booming voice. Here's an example.

September 28, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Sie00
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I think probably French, not based purely on the sound nor cadence but the aura attached. If I see a man or woman in a suit at an airport, I'd be most likely to think that they are a diplomat moreso than a person of the same disposition speaking any other language. Russian's strong sound is forceful but not necessarily powerful. I'd say the least powerful is Brazilian Portuguese (definitely not European Portuguese), as It sounds friendly and a bit comical at times moreso than others.

September 28, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/melody13861

In my opinion the most powerful language is probably Polish I found this video and when I first listened to it I was like wow. https://youtu.be/FP08OVtBAN4 That part that sounds very powerful is at 1:35 - 1:45

September 27, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Mr_Eyl
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Klingon, without a doubt.

It's full of glottal stops, lots of guttural sounds, tons of retroflex and uvular consonants, and it's almost totally lacking in the 'softer' sounds found in many languages. Its prosody is extremely abrupt.

French sounds like the movement of silk sheets. Italian sounds like a pogo stick. Klingon sounds like artillery firing at an explosives factory.

Examples here and here.

Edit: I found another one. Enjoy some K-Pop.

September 27, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/garpike
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If we're delving into fiction here, surely this is an equally-worthy candidate:

'Ash nazg durbatulûk, ash nazg gimbatul, ash nazg thrakatulûk agh burzum-ishi krimpatul.'

The change in the wizard’s voice was astounding. Suddenly it became menacing, powerful, harsh as stone. A shadow seemed to pass over the high sun, and the ❤❤❤❤❤ for a moment grew dark. All trembled, and the Elves stopped their ears. ‘Never before has any voice dared to utter words of that tongue in Imladris, Gandalf the Grey,’ said Elrond, as the shadow passed and the company breathed once more.

‘And let us hope that none will ever speak it here again,’ answered Gandalf. ‘Nonetheless I do not ask your pardon, Master Elrond. For if that tongue is not soon to be heard in every corner of the West, then let all put doubt aside that this thing is indeed what the Wise have declared: the treasure of the Enemy, fraught with all his malice; and in it lies a great part of his strength of old.

September 28, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/SamuelCristea

Amazing description! Great job, I love it!

September 27, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Elda_Mengisto
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My first impression was that Russian was quite powerful, in how they roll their "r"s and the amplification of consonant sounds. Or it's my impression that it's because of the authority given out when speaking it.

If I learned one thing in my life, is that you don't try to get somebody who speaks a Semitic language angry. I grew up with parents who speak Amharic, and that gets really intense really quickly. The uses of consonant sounds also amplifies the authority given in those circumstances. And even though they are more distantly related from Amharic, Arabic and Hebrew are also authoritative in a way.

December 21, 2017
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