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Languages and Happiness

tnel1
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I saw a quite a few news stories recently that picked up this report, but don't think I saw any posted here yet. If it is a repeat sorry about that, but can you ever have enough happiness? ;)

Imgur

http://mic.com/articles/92365/which-language-is-the-happiest

http://news.sciencemag.org/social-sciences/2015/02/spanish-happiest-language-chinese-not-so-much

Agree? Disagree? Can you really measure happiness this way? At all? :) What does it really mean to have more or less happiness in a language?

3 years ago

12 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Kunstkritik
Kunstkritik
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Can't really agree. Even if spanish is happier than chinese, I still believe that it depends on the people itself. I know germans who are like always happy even if bad stuff happens and I know germans that are always pessimistic and not so happy even if great things happen. That attitude wouldn't change if they spoke spanish.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/landsend
landsend
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People behave different when speaking different languages (I just read this) and forcing someone to smile changes his mood. I don't think that you can instantly change a character or an attitude but it seems to have some effect.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Kunstkritik
Kunstkritik
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If you really force people to smile they will just feel more stressed and or sad inside and behaving different when speaking different languages is only kind of true. Your behaviour depends on the community you interact with. Fluency can also be a part. If you aren't fluent you will probably try to be friendlier or be more shy than you usually are and if you interact with different communities you will adjust your behaviour to fit into the group. So if you learn a language and interact with a different community than usual you will subconsciously adopt their behaviour. AT LEAST that would be my interpretation.

I think it is still hard to believe that a person has a higher chance to be happy just because he can speak spanish as his native language.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/no.name.42
no.name.42
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It's interesting, although I don't think it provides a picture of the happiness of a language (if there is such a thing) too accurately. It only seems to look at the happiness of individual words. Since two words will often have a value separate from the sum of their parts. Especially when you can combine two words and only get one morpheme, for instance "get up" could be a verb of its own. I also think it's more important to know how happy the speaker is from their words than the recipient.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/tnel1
tnel1
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Yes, I was away for a bit studying my German offline, but I'm not finished looking this over. Makes me wonder about which fields of study shaped this report/research. I think it's interesting they are suggesting that one can measure the happiness of a language in such a way. But I also have to say, of all the languages I have been exposed to Italian seems the "happiest" or maybe it just makes me the happiest, or maybe I am just biased by the daily party of Italian t.v.. ;) I can see how they can measure word associations as positive or negative, but as to whether that translates into happiness I'm not so sure. I don't think any Spanish speaking country tops the lists of "Happiest Countries" - perhaps another thing one can't really measure either! :)

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/no.name.42
no.name.42
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I actually remember hearing that Costa Rica is one of the happiest countries, but I don't know how accurate that is. I think whenever you try to objectively measure something like happiness you'll find trouble. But, I'm no scientist. so what do I know.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/tnel1
tnel1
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Hahahaha. I'm no scientist either, I've studied about 6 languages now. Do you get extra happiness if you know more than one? Or extra unhappiness? And I wonder if they included Sign Language in their assessment? I just need a good cookie and golden silence to be happy! ;)

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Jasminedesi16
Jasminedesi16
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I think it is really subjective whether a language is happy or not.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/CharmingTiger
CharmingTiger
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This reminds me of a recent post on personality changes depending on what language you are currently speaking. :)

Happiness is related to a host of factors, so I don't think being tied to any particular language affects a person's happiness on a day-to-day basis. I think that the most important language to use in conjunction with one's verbal language is body language. Indeed changing one's body language can instantly affect someone's mood, how content/nervous they are, how closed off/receptive, etc.

Try it. Fold your arms when talking to someone. How open do you feel? Not just physically, but mentally/emotionally? You are probably acting rather guarded at this moment. Now, unfold your arms and put them down at your sides. Any changes? Clench your fists. Woah, did you just make the person you were talking to run away? How did this affect your thought process?

Now, turn your hands out, palms facing forward toward the person (if they are still there). Lift your hands up to different heights in this position, and feel what it is doing to you. By the time your hands reach the height of your chest, you have nothing left to hide. Keep going. Once your hands are above your head, you are almost in a position of supplication. It is almost an ecstatic feeling, as your body suggests you are giving yourself fully to the moment. In fact, this particular hand gesture is so moving and powerful that it is usually only exhibited in times of profound religious experience.

Each slight movement of position in your body garners a different emotional response, right? With both what's happening to you internally, as well as how the person is responding to you.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/tnel1
tnel1
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Oh yes, I am finding myself using German more and more. It feels so close to English I barely notice much difference in personality, other than I have to choose what I say more carefully since I don't have enough verbs in my repertoire. I am always pairing things down to basics. But oh Italian! I want to party with everyone I see on the Italian cooking shows and hug them all! :) It makes me feel so relaxed and free. Oh yes, movement. I was trying to pick up Tai Chi again this week, see if I still know any parts of an old form I used to do. That amazing control while also flowing between movements is so wonderful - opening and closing, pushing and pulling energy. By the way, I posted this in the hopes of bringing some happy to the place. I hope it gave you some happy dear Tiger. :) No worries.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Taloua
Taloua
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During learning the new language you will face some obstacles which make you unhappy. but later you will be happy. Briefly, Happiness comes afterwards. :)

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/tnel1
tnel1
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I'm still trying to formulate my opinion on this. I wonder about words being studied individually and placed on a positivity scale. I suppose that is one way of measuring happiness, as opposed to other possible approaches. Hmmm. Clicking around I found a talk about it for anyone interested: http://www.uvm.edu/storylab/share/papers/dodds2014a/talks.html
He mentions a "hedonometer", that word makes me happy! ;) hahaha.

3 years ago