At first, this might seem like a silly statement. But what if languages could have an impact in our happiness? Can we say Spanish is a happy language?
What is a Happy Language like?
To find out if Spanish is a happy language, we need to think about what a happy language would sound like. And back in 1969, scientists came up with what is known as the Pollyanna Hypothesis. According to this hypothesis, humans universally tend to use words they perceive as positive.
Basically, this would mean we tend to use words we associate with positive feelings. In fact, when you come to think of it, how many synonyms do you know for “death”? On the other hand, how many words do you know for “happy”? We will go ahead: delighted, ecstatic, glad, joyful, merry, pleasant, thrilled, upbeat.
A happy language would then be a language whose vocabulary is mainly associated with pleasant and positive feelings rather than negative ones. Could this be the case of Spanish?
Happy Languages Explored
Let’s leave 1969 and make a flash-forward to 2015. A new team of scientists decided to analyze the content of thousands of websites to prove the Pollyanna Hypothesis. They also used Google Books, works of literature, song lyrics and posts on social media.
The study used 10 different languages from all over the word: English, Spanish, French, German, Brazilian Portuguese, Korean, Chinese, Russian, Indonesian and Arabic. Each word was rated by native speakers from 0 to 10, 10 representing the most positive feelings. Words like “love” and “laughter” had the highest scores, while “greed”, “crying” and “terrorist” had the lowest.
In all these languages, the median emotional impact of words fell into positive territory, which confirmed the hypothesis. And that’s how we know Spanish is a happy language.
But the study revealed something even more surprising. In fact, Spanish is the happiest of the languages they analyzed. The second happiest language is Portuguese, a close relative, while the language with the least positive bias is Chinese.
Spanish is a happy language. But is it a romantic one too?
Happiness is often associated with love. But French generally takes the prize as the language of romance. And Paris is considered to be the romance capital of the world. Can Spanish, the happiest language in the word, compete?
A separate study made in 2015 found that Spanish speakers send the most love-related emojis online. They also tended to use positive words like ‘love’ and ‘laughter’ more than any other group. English speakers, for example, used far more words related to suicide than Spanish speakers.
We can now say that Spanish is a happy language and its users are romantic. Science doesn’t lie! Now, how about learning some Spanish to bring happiness into your life?