Are there any spoken languages which are known for their inherent articulation. In other words, where in the world would a person with hearing disabilities like to have been born (if we only consider this aspect). I'm thinking of something like the opposite of Danish.

Edit 2021-01-25: What I have in mind is the typical high-frequencey hearing loss which is common among older people. My question can also be rephrased like this: Are all spoken languages equally efficient in terms of speech intelligibility?

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    Danish sounds are difficult to understand primarily because you aren't used to them. Jan 24, 2021 at 12:55
  • @RobertColumbia I was thinking of this study: tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/01690965.2010.515107 Jan 24, 2021 at 18:53
  • What type of hearing disabilities are you talking about? If you mean people who are deaf and depend on lip-reading, that’s a very different matter from someone who has limited hearing loss, and different types of hearing loss will probably affect which sounds are easily distinguishable or indistinguishable. Jan 24, 2021 at 19:56
  • @JanusBahsJacquet I was thinking of the typical kind of hearing loss that many older people have which is mainly in the higher frequencies. To give one example, this makes "hearing loss" sound like "earing loff" Jan 24, 2021 at 20:19
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    @AugustKarlstrom I think you should edit your question so as to link to the study you mentioned, as I suspect the close votes are largely from a reaction to your seemingly arbitrary singling out of Danish as "hard to acquire".
    – LjL
    Jan 25, 2021 at 0:57

1 Answer 1


The answer depends on knowing facts about a person's hearing loss, since there isn't just one type of hearing loss. Certain kinds of acoustic signals are more challenging than others. While [n] and [l] are not typically thought of as "hard" consonants to hear, distinguishing the two can be challenging with hearing loss, idem [m] versus [n]. Therefore if the language only has [n] and not [l, m], that could make the language "better" for certain hearing losses. Sounds that depend on the ability to discriminate high frequency low-amplitude distinctions would be challenging (θ vs. φ). Since there is such a thing as low-frequency hearing loss, that could make it hard to detect low frequency components of speech (affecting perception of labials and high vowels; also affecting phonatory distinctions such as breathy voice).

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