Which language is considered the “fastest” in the world?

Sometimes when we hear the speech of some foreigners, it seems that they speak even faster than our brain is able to process information. For example, this applies to Spaniards or Italians. Of course, speaking speed depends not only on the language, but also on individuals. You've probably noticed that some people, even in Russian, pronounce words very quickly, while others, on the contrary, draw out each word and make long pauses between them. However, the speed also depends on the language itself – just listen to how the Spaniards communicate with each other. But the most interesting thing is that even Spanish is not the “fastest” language in the world. French scientists came to this conclusion in their study.

Which language is considered the “fastest” in the world. Some languages ​​are 50% faster than others. Photo.

Some languages ​​are 50% faster than others

Which language is the “fastest”

There are currently about 7,000 different languages ​​in the world. Scientists are studying their various features and differences. For example, a study was previously conducted in which the authors found out which languages ​​are considered the most beautiful. Of no less interest to scientists is the difference in the “speed of languages.”

It must be said that determining the speed of a language is not as simple a task as it might seem at first glance, given that different People pronounce words at different speeds, and the average length of words in different languages ​​also varies. However, the average value can still be determined. One way to do this is to measure the number of syllables spoken per second.

Scientists have conducted various studies on this matter. In particular, a large-scale study was carried out by employees of the University of Lyon in 2011. They studied seven different languages ​​and determined the number of syllables per second pronounced in each of them. Thus, the “fastest” language in the world was determined.

Which language is the fastest. Spanish is in second place in terms of speed. Photo.

Spanish is the second fastest language

So, the authors of the study came to the conclusion that the fastest language in the world is Japanese. As a matter of fact, many other works of scientists showed the same result. Japanese pronounces 7.84 syllables per second. The authors of the work report this in the publication of the Linguistic Society of America. In second place was the Spanish language, whose speed is 7.82 syllables per second.

Next comes French — 7.18, Italian — 6.99, English — 6.19, German — 5.97 and Chinese — 5.18 syllables/sec. Researchers report that Japanese and Spanish speak about 50 percent more syllables per second than Vietnamese and Thai.

What determines tongue speed

All of this raises the question – What does the speed of the tongue depend on? Are the Japanese and Spaniards really able to absorb and process information faster? Most likely — No. Scientists suggest that the speed of a language may depend on its informativeness, or more precisely, on the informativeness of syllables.

What determines the speed of the language. Syllables in Japanese turned out to be not very informative. Photo.

Syllables in Japanese turned out to be not very informative

In another study conducted in 2019, researchers at the University of Lyon analyzed 17 different European and Asian languages ​​for syllable information. As it turned out, in Japanese words, syllables contain little information. For example, in the Russian language there are entire words that consist of just one word, for example, “house”, “cat”, “knock”, etc.

Therefore, researchers assume that in Japanese speak quickly to convey more information. The same goes for Spanish — The syllables of Spanish words are not very informative, resulting in people having to speed up their pronunciation. But if you measure speed not by the number of syllables per second, but by the information they convey, then it will be approximately the same for different ones.

According to researchers, the speed of transmitted information in all languages ​​is approximately 39 bits per second. This means that all people, regardless of nationality, have the same speed of information perception. True, not all scientists agree with these conclusions, and in general with the fact that the speed of languages ​​differs.

What does the speed of a language depend on? The speed of information transfer in all languages ​​is approximately the same. Photo.

The speed of information transmission in all languages ​​is approximately the same

For example, in the 60s, a study was conducted in which 12 people took part. All of them were divided into two groups of 6 people – English-speaking and Japanese-speaking. As a result, the researchers concluded that there were no significant differences between the two groups in terms of speaking speed.

It should also be considered that the vast majority of studies focused on the most popular European and East Asian languages, with thousands of others languages ​​were ignored. But, in fairness, it should be noted that half of the world's population speaks one of 10 languages. Therefore, a large sample of languages ​​is not required to obtain objective data.

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Finally, let us remind you that there are very rare and exotic languages, such as Tokipona. It contains only 150 words and is known by 3,100 people. To find out more about what kind of language this is and who speaks it, follow the link.