And, it's a list which makes me go, not only ho-hum, but 'what?' as I never heard of two out of the five. Nevertheless, it is an interesting idea. I imagine we all can think of a few which are our favourites. I will go with "wisp" and "plash".
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What's the loveliest word in the English language?
Here are some suggestions. Now we'd like to hear yours
by Harriet Powney
It was the linguist JR Firth who, in 1930, coined the term phonoaestheticsto refer to the study of how words sound. I came across it recently when, 26 years later than most, I heard Marlow ask in Dennis Potter's The Singing Detective: "What's the loveliest word in the English language, officer? In the sound it makes in the mouth? In the shape it makes in the page? E-L-B-O-W." (And yes, for anyone else who didn't know, it is where the band got its name.)
The film Donnie Darko offers a tip of its hat, too, in the lines of Drew Barrymore's character, teacher Karen Pomeroy: "This famous linguist once said that of all the phrases in the English language, of all the endless combinations of words in all of history, 'cellar door' is the most beautiful." The famous linguist was none other than JRR Tolkien, and he made the claim in his 1955 lecture English and Welsh.