Max   Wed Jan 11, 2006 1:20 pm GMT
Brazilian Portuguese is nasal:

pau ['paw] ''stick''
pão ['pãw~] ''bread''

sei [sej] ''I know''
sem [se~j~] ''without''

vá! [va] ''[you] go!''
vã [vã] ''vain''

American English may be nasalized, but not nasal.
César   Wed Jan 11, 2006 9:44 pm GMT

Nasality does not protect your voice from laryngitis.

Laryngitis is "characterized by a weak, hoarse, gravely voice, sore throat, often fever, cough (usually dry and nonproductive), a tickling in the back of the throat, and difficulty swallowing."

Whether you raise or not your velum in order to avoid a nasal quality in your voice is not going to keep from suffering laryngitis. Voice abuse, which is the incorrect production of vocal sounds, can irritate your vocal folds, even when your voice is nasal.

And please trust me. I sing opera and I needed to check information like this in order to have a better understanding of the voice.

Getting back on track, I can only say that nasality in a spoken language is usually a matter of taste (when it is originally not part of the language itself). Some people like it and others hate it.

About French, well... yeah, it has a lot more nasal sounds than English or Spanish, which have few. So you can expect french people to speak with a high degree of nasality when compare to your native language.

Tricky language, by the way. Hehe.
Guest   Wed Jan 11, 2006 11:28 pm GMT
>>I have yet to hear any French speakers with nasal twangs.

If a Francophone is forced to pronounce everything nasally, some words cannot be distinguished individually, and must be guessed from context.<<

Keep hearing then. It is evident when someone has a congested nose. The distinctions are still there because the nasal vowels are nasalized more strongly overall and still contrast with non-nasals.