None of these sounds – or “phonemes” – require much energy or effort to be pronounced and so evoke natural and peaceful tones.
Some examples are: autumn, melody, lullaby, velvet, luminous, tranquil, marigold, whisper, gossamer, caress.
This presents an opportunity for researchers to determine what’s in a word itself that the mind finds pleasing or unpleasant.
From a very young age, everyone is exposed to music and to language, and every culture has its local variants of both. How we feel about different words, whether we like the sound of some of them more than others, will depend mostly on what experiences in our life we attach to them and how people in our community use those words.
However, the way our experiences influence what words we like remains fluid throughout life.
For the last 20 years or so, I have witnessed this with my Spanish beginner students.The British linguist David Crystal conducted some research on phonaesthetics, the study of what makes certain sounds beautiful, and noted that the most popular words have positive connotations – no surprises there.But what’s interesting is what these words have in common: two or three syllables, short vowels, easy-to-produce consonantal sounds such as /l/, /s/ and /m/.And fourth, learning to read and write uses the same basic processes (phonemic awareness, decoding, fluency, comprehension, writing mechanics).When teachers and students know these basic similarities between the two languages, it saves time and guess work as students transfer their knowledge of Spanish literacy into English literacy.If we effectively “conquer” a word, it becomes a word we like to say and hear.Sounds that at the start of the course British students struggled with – /θ/, /x/, /ɲ/, the rolled /r/ and /ʧ/ – because they are scarce or do not exist in their mother tongue, became more popular by the end of the year.There are also some differences between the two languages that may interfere with English pronunciation (phonemic differences) and with decoding or spelling (phonological differences).Perhaps the greatest difference between English and Spanish is that Spanish has only five vowel sounds while English has more than 14, depending on regional dialects.Fortunately for Spanish-speaking English language learners (ELLs), there are many similarities between English and Spanish.First of all, both languages use the Roman alphabet.