Fast languages, slow languagesThere are over 6,000 languages worldwide. But all have the same function. They help us exchange information. This happens in various ways in every language. Because every language behaves according to its own rules. The speed with which a language is spoken also differs. Linguists have proven this in various studies. To this end, short texts were translated into several languages. These texts were then read aloud by native speakers. The result was clear. Japanese and Spanish are the fastest languages. In these languages, almost 8 syllables per second are spoken. The Chinese speak considerably slower.
They speak only 5 syllables per second. The speed is dependent on the complexity of the syllables. If the syllables are complex, speaking takes longer. German contains 3 sounds per syllable, for example. Therefore it is spoken relatively slowly. Speaking quickly does not mean, however, that there is a lot to communicate. Quite the opposite! Only a little information is contained in syllables that are quickly spoken. Although the Japanese speak quickly, they convey little content. On the other hand, the ‘slow’ Chinese say a great deal with a few words. English syllables also contain a lot of information. Interesting is: The evaluated languages are almost equally efficient! That means, he who speaks slower says more. And he who speaks faster needs more words. In the end, all reach their goal at about the same time.