What if I told you that the French language is actually a creature of massive evolution?
Usually, when people think of evolution, they think of a fish turning into an amphibian, which then, after several thousand years turn into a reptile. The reptile then starts to grow hair and becomes a mammal. The mammal then starts to climb up trees.
Pretty soon, that mammal is developing really long forearms or long limbs, and before you know it, it’s swinging from the vines. Plus or minus tens of thousands of years, and you’d be surprised to see that tree-swinging, vine-hugging organism walking the savannas in a thick coat of hair, somewhat upright.
Add a few more thousand years and throw in some tremendous and horrendous natural disasters and calamities into the mix, and you see a naked ape traversing the grasslands in the savannas of Africa. Add a few more thousand years and you have the modern human being.
That’s right, a modern human being who can tame fire, who can speak, as well as communicate all sorts of complicated symbolic languages. How did we get here?
Well, it’s all about evolution. It’s all about taking an initial population, subjecting it to a situation or pressure that existed for a particular period of time, and then using those innovations and applying it into a different setting, only to subject it to different pressures. In other words, languages, by being part of people, were also under the same evolutionary pressures as the people themselves.
You have to understand that human beings are not just composed of flesh and blood and bodies. Human beings are also composed of cultural products, like the way we express ourselves, the language that we choose and the situations we find ourselves in. This also takes the form of how we make decisions.
Since human beings and their work product can also be subjected to selective pressure, it goes without saying that their language also goes through selective pressure. And this is why the French language is so sexy because it has always been sensitive to social pressure and has evolved itself accordingly.
It has certain terms as well as certain pronunciations that really give life to certain ideas. Now you may be thinking that this is just a matter of language sounding right, but it actually plays out in a very beautiful way, even though people may not be all that aware of it right when it happens.
For example, the Spanish word for butterfly is mariposa. The German word for the same animal is schmetterling. The French word is papillon. Now, which sounds sexier? Which sound carries a broad range of seductive messages?
Well, here’s the spoiler: it’s not German. German is known for matter-of-fact bluntness, getting straight to the point, and getting things done. That’s why there is such a thing as German engineering and German industry.
Spanish people, on the other hand, tend to be more phonetic and laid back. Mariposa is no slouch when it comes to sweet sounding words, but let’s be honest here, it doesn’t even come close to papillon.
That’s how seductive French is because the French language has gone through such selective pressures to communicate clearly, convincingly and, most importantly, poetically, across time and across situations.