Reading or watching the news may make it hard to believe, but new research shows that English is biased towards being positive.

Researchers from the University of Vermont gathered billions of words from sources including Google Books and looked at the top 5,000 words from each source. They found that happier words cropped up more frequently.

Why is this? “It’s not to say that everything is fine and happy,” Dodds says. “It’s just that language is social.”

In contrast to traditional economic theory, which suggests people are inherently and rationally selfish, a wave of new social science and neuroscience data shows something quite different: that we are a pro-social storytelling species. As language emerged and evolved over the last million years, positive words, it seems, have been more widely and deeply engrained into our communications than negative ones.

“If you want to remain in a social contract with other people, you can’t be a…,” well, Dodds here used a word that is rather too negative to be fit to print — which makes the point. (Source: Science Daily)

I wonder what other languages are as ‘happy’ as English?