Sitting in the grad lounge, putting off studying for deebee exam. The sound of a random conversation in French next to me is extremely pleasant. Occasionally catching bp and what's-her-name chatting in German is also fun. I wonder why it is that listening to languages pretty close to English in the family tree is so pleasant, and, say Cantonese leaves me so nonplussed. Is it just because I've been exposed to the former more, or is there some real phonological affinity that I'm picking up on as a speaker of English? I have a hard time believing the latter: I don't have any particular reason to believe that the inventory of French is any less exotic than other language I'm likely to actually hear (vowels with different rounding and nasalization than ever appears in English, the uvular R) but... Idunno.