English-language learners

Language: why we like some words more than others

When we listen to a foreign language, we may hear sounds which do not exist in our mother tongue, and may sound different from anything we have ever heard before. The first time we hear something new, a foreign sound or word – even an unknown word in our own languages – something in it may provoke delight or revulsion.

Often with familiar words, it’s almost impossible to simply look at one and separate it from its meaning. Words like “putrid” or “disgusting” have nasty connotations already built in to our subconscious and therefore meaning will play a key role.