English and More of the World’s “Weirdest” Languages

Using information from the World Atlas of Language Structures, researchers surveyed the features of 239 languages to determine which are “weirdest”—meaning in sound, the number of features and sentence construction. Out of 239, English ranked 33rd. Citing its abnormally high number of phenomes (most languages have around 25, but English has 44) and the odd way English-speakers assemble questions, the study unbiasedly shows how English sounds to non-speakers. For now, the study is just for surface-level perusing, as there are 6,800+ languages excluded from the results. That said, it’s a significant takeaway for those English-speakers who think other languages sound “strange.” Read more about it all at Quartz.