It looks like English may be a "happy language," according to a study by Cornell and University of Vermont researchers. What's the benefit? The folks over at Wired break it down like this: "some anthropologists see language as a vehicle for humanity’s essential social characteristics, especially our capacities for sharing, altruism and other “pro-social” behavior." That sounds positive, indeed!
The researchers analyzed billions of words from sources like Google Books, Twitter, and song lyrics to create a list of the most used words. Then they did some serious math. The result of their analysis: "the human-perceived positivity of over 10,000 of the most frequently used English words exhibits a clear positive bias." Basically, we use words that we consider happy more than words we consider negative.
The study is a little more complicated than this, but I wanted to test in on a small scale. I generated a Tweet cloud to see if the words I was using the most had a positive or negative slant. Turns out "dude" and "totally" are higher up on the list than I might have liked, but "awesome" and "love" made it too. Dude, I'm totally happy with that.