Are multilingual people more attractive than monolingual people?

Oftentimes, I see multilingualism on lists of attractive traits in men and women and it always puzzles me a bit. Obviously, it’s good to know more than one language, but I don’t see why it allegedly makes people more attractive to the opposite sex. It’s just a skill, and skills aren’t inherently attractive. To help me understand this, I have a few questions. Thanks in advance for taking the time to answer them:

1). If you found out a person you had just started dating was multilingual, would you feel in any way more attracted to them?

2). If so, why? Also, if so, how much more attracted would you be on a scale of 1 to 10?

3). If you found out that the same person, instead of being able to speak a second language, was really good at building databases, or fixing cars, would your feelings about them change? If so, how would they change compared to if you found out they spoke a second language? Would you be as attracted? More attracted? Less so? Finally, if you answered more attracted or less attracted, can you account for the difference?

Of course, there are no right or wrong answers here. I’m just interested to hear what you think.

Well, purely anecdotical evidence here, but I speak 13 languages going on 14 and I have not seen any particular difference between what appears to be my attractiveness to the relevant sex and the attractiveness of my monolingual family, friends and acquaintances.

YMMV, of course.

Many people disagree with you.
We’ve all got our various turn-ons, and when we’re turned on by someone we are more attracted to them. I’ve definitely grown more attracted to some people as I’ve gotten to know them better. I’ve also grown less attracted to people as I’ve gotten to know them better (we’ve all got our various turn-offs as well).

For some people, multilingualism is a turn-on.
For some people, being good with cars is a turn-on.
And, yes, I suppose there are some depraved perverts out there for whom being really good at building databases is a turn-on.
For me, personally, multilingualism is a turn-on. It implies (to me) intelligence and an interest in the world and other cultures. It also implies to me that this is a person who makes an effort to seek out new experiences rather than just accepting what’s dished out in front of them.

It’s just one part of the package, though. A multilingual person could have other traits that are a major turn-off for me.

Incidentally, as I am a primarily heterosexual guy, a woman being good with cars would also be a turn-on for me as I tend to be turned on by women who excel in any fields that are not traditionally thought to be feminine. It wouldn’t be much a factor for me in a man’s attractiveness though.

So, who’s more attractive- the multicultural woman or the car mechanic woman? Like I said, it’s all just part of the package. Either one could be more attractive depending upon how the rest of the package comes together.

1). If you found out a person you had just started dating was multilingual, would you feel in any way more attracted to them?

Yes. I have always been attracted to bi- or multilingual people more than monolingual people. It is part of what attracted me to my wife.

2). If so, why? Also, if so, how much more attracted would you be on a scale of 1 to 10?

I don’t know. It is the same reason I find leaders more attractive than followers, the extraordinary more attractive than the mundane, nonreligious people more attractive than religious people, or seekers and attainers of knowledge more attractive than those who eagerly and uncritically cling to dogma.

3). If you found out that the same person, instead of being able to speak a second language, was really good at building databases, or fixing cars, would your feelings about them change?

Possibly.

If so, how would they change compared to if you found out they spoke a second language? Would you be as attracted? More attracted? Less so?

All things being equal, I would find someone who speaks more than one language more attractive than someone who doesn’t.

Finally, if you answered more attracted or less attracted, can you account for the difference?

Hmm. Other than my possible tendency to equate multilingualism with intelligence, no, I can’t account for the difference.

Speaking as a multi-linguist, absolutely and without a doubt - YES. :cool:

Multilingualism is the norm, about 75% of the world’s population speaks more than one language. Since we seem to be procreating, multilingualism is probably not a turn off, at least. :wink:

I don’t think I know very many people who really only speak one language, just a few English people. And they’ve usually had some French at school. It’s certainly not very attractive to not speak another language at all, it seems rather disinterested and possibly close-minded to me. I mean, I wouldn’t judge someone for not speaking another language, but I wouldn’t be impressed if they were advertising their ignorance.

OTOH, if they speak another language well or speak an obscure language or lots of languages then that’s very interesting. It would just capture my interest. Why, what are they interested in, how do they use the languages? It’s something to talk about, a cool feature. If they’re complete dick or boring then all the languages in the world aren’t going to make them attractive.

Just the humble opinion of gracer, who speaks 7 languages and is therefor clearly smokin’ hot. :smiley:

I’ve found cunnilingual works best of all.

I met many people in Europe who spoke only one language. Before that, I had bought into the myth that Europeans are all multilingual, but that’s not really true, especially once you leave the big cities. I knew a German couple in Texas, and the wife’s English was pretty good when I first met her, but she admitted she knew only German until they moved to the US.

Multilingualism is a(n imperfect) sign of intelligence.

Any sort of skill that makes your DNA desirable makes you more attractive.

OP, watch “A Fish Called Wanda”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eSK3BpSfULo

I wouldn’t say it’s a sign of intelligence necessarily, but it seems to me like a decent proxy for open mindedness and a willingness to engage with other people. Someone who makes an effort to be able to communicate with more people probably enjoys getting to know people with a different perspective on life than their own, a quality which I value highly. Obviously, it’s not a universal thing, but yeah, my initial impression of someone goes up a bit if they’re multilingual.

People like foreign or exotic people anyway. British accents, Asian chicks, what have you. Maybe we’re trying to keep our family tree from crossing too much. Or maybe its just different. But its probably the exotic thing.

This.

Not this.

I find it a desirable trait for a few reasons. For one, I enjoy learning languages, so it is a shared interest. I like the idea that we can learn and practice with each other. I also work and sometimes live internationally, and so someone who is resolutely monolingual probably isn’t going to be a good match for my lifestyle-- are they going to willing to live abroad? Are they going to enjoy traveling with me? Are they open to new experiences?

One difference between language and other skills is that language is inherently social. Programming a database is a solitary activity, but speaking a language opens up the world.

I believe a lot of people find intelligence to be sexy. That being said, if you speak more than 1 language, that shows that you are intelligent. It also shows that you can deal with the world better (oftentimes) then if you only spoke 1 language, which is also thought to be sexy generally. Also, I think there can be an element of classiness with speaking more then one language sometimes, which can also be sexy.

And if you speak HER language (or his) I think that gets you bonus points.

It wouldn’t really be a plus or a minus for me. Maybe slightly on the plus side, but not to an extraordinary amount.

I have to take exception to this. I am bilingual and a dilettante in 2 or 3 other languages. One of the great revelations of my life was that people could be hugely intelligent (far more so than I) even though they spoke no English (my epiphany came in my adolescent years). Another great revelation was that people could be astoundingly stupid in two languages (or more). In my experience, multilingualism is not a guarantor of high intelligence. YMMV.

Indeed. I’ve known some pretty stupid bilinguals.

Certainly not. But in the US, where it typically takes some amount of going out of your way to learn a new language, it often reflects intellectual curiosity and ability to apply oneself to a difficult task.

To speak in only one language is to think in only one way. This is not inherently bad, my SO only speaks English, but there is a difference in people who think in two languages…they will never think that “their” way is the only right way for example.
In essence, it makes for a more open minded person. IME.

I disagree. It can make for a more open-minded person but not necessarily. For example, there were many Nazis who could speak German and another language, but I think they thought the same way in any language. I’ve known some extremely open-minded monolinguals and some extremely narrow-minded bilinguals.