Study: Language More Positive

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February 15, 2015

Most language uses happy words, a study has found.

A group of researchers used Big Data techniques to mine billions of words in 10 languages. More often than note, the words they found were positive ones.

The languages studied were Arabic, Chinese (Simplified), Brazilian Portuguese, English, French, German, Indonesian, Korean, Russian, and Spanish.

The researchers found the words in several types of sources, among them books, music lyrics, websites, newspapers, movies, TV broadcasts, and social media.

Native speakers of each language used a "happiness meter" to rank several thousand of the most commonly used words, on a scale of 1 (frown) to 9 (smile). The median score was higher than 5, which was deemed the middle of the scale. So technically, more positive (or happy) words were found than negative (or sad) words.

The results of the study appeared in the Feb. 9 issue of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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