I'm looking for a single word for words that are fun/easy/pleasant to say—words that roll off the tongue, so to speak.
"Phonaesthetics" describes the study of such things and the appropriate word would be "euphony" or "euphonious":
A pronunciation of letters and syllables which is pleasing to the ear. (wiktionary)
Edit in response:
The phrase "articulatory phonetics" describes "how humans produce speech sounds via the interaction of different physiological structures." Phonaesthetics describes the more abstract aesthetics associated with speech. "Phonetics" includes the physical motion of speaking. Therefore, I claim that phonaesthetics includes the physical aesthetics of speech. "Euphony" refers to the pure sound aesthetics but either of these two terms should work:
- articulatory phonaesthetics
I'm not sure if you are looking for an adjective that describes them, or a noun.
Mellifluous seems like a good fit. It itself is pleasing to say (a bonus!). :-) It comes from the Latin for "flowing" and "honey".
Using @MrHen's answer as a springboard, I jumped around Wikipedia's phonetic entries some and came across liquid consonants, of which English has two, /l/ and /r/. There's this on the etymology of the term:
The grammarian Dionysius Thrax used the Greek word ὑγρος (hugros, "moist") to describe the /l,r,m,n/ phonemes of classical Greek. Most commentators assume that this referred to their "slippery" effect on meter in classical Greek verse when they occur as the second member of a consonant cluster. This word was calqued into Latin as liquidus, whence it has been retained in the Western European phonetic tradition.
Apart from the technical definition of the term here, I like liquid as a possible answer to my question, all the more so because it is actually used in a phonetical context.
The others are good Romance derivatives. A recently popular phrase with obvious meaning is:
good mouth feel
It seems that no word we know of is quite right, so perhaps a word should be crafted from the parts we have lying around in this thread! Specifically, I think "mellifluous" and "euphony" offer promise, even though (as the OP points out) they both are associated with an act of pleasant hearing rather than the pleasant somatic feedback from the mechanical act of speaking.
This, it seems to me, is easily fixed by drawing on another beautiful word derived from Latin, "loquacious." Though this is most commonly taken to mean "talkative," the root in Latin (loqui) simply means "to speak."
Thus, I submit for consideration either of the two following constructions:
Melloquious - Mel+loqui - (like) honey to say
Euloquious - Eu+loqui - good to say
If a loan word from another language can be found, that might be a better alternative, but if there is no fitting and compelling word to be found, then perhaps it is up to us!
I was also looking for this word and never found a good one. I like the suggestions given here but wanted to add the word that I came up with for this purpose. Eulalaiic (eu-lah-lay-ic) Etymology- eu = good and ululation= high pitched trilling sound involving movement of the uvula associated with high emotion. Plus eulalaiic is really eulalaiic
protected by Community♦ Jun 12 '18 at 6:42
Thank you for your interest in this question.
Because it has attracted low-quality or spam answers that had to be removed, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site (the association bonus does not count).
Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?