Stereotypes about languages and the people who speak them abound: French is romantic, Italian lyrical, Spanish passionate. But those languages didn’t come out on top in an analysis of dating behavior in the US that found the ability to speak a second language other than English appears to make people vastly more attractive to the opposite sex—and also that your second tongue of choice matters.
The dating site PlentyOfFish analyzed 50 million messages sent on their platform in January 2017, and surveyed 325 of their users in the US. The data found that women were most attracted to men who speak German as a second language. For men, it was women who could speak Dutch.
Single men were 73% more likely to send a message to a woman who said she could speak a second language, the research found, while women were 63% more likely to start a conversation with a bilingual than a non-bilingual man. PlentyOfFish advertizes itself as the world’s largest dating site, and has more than 90 million users worldwide. This study only looked at a portion of the US user base.
Michael McDermott, a data scientist at the company who collated the research, said in an email that there were some correlations between being bilingual and other traits that had been found to make people successful on the site. People who listed a second language on their profile were more likely to fill out more information on their profiles generally, and to be more willing to share information about themselves.
More anecdotally, McDermott also noted: “Like having an accent, having a second language can be seen as sexy, worldly. It is also an indicator of higher education.” Recent research from another dating site, OKCupid, also found that women who said they found education attractive were more likely to find a partner on its platform.
Here are the full results from PlentyOfFish’s language study:
Bilingual men were most likely to receive messages if their second language was…
Bilingual women were most likely to receive messages if their second language was…