The speed of language: an infographic


Here’s a great infographic about the speed of languages, that is: how fast languages are spoken. Why do some languages like Spanish and Japanese sound like they’re going by so fast, whereas others like Chinese seem more slow and pronounced?

A study was performed to find out why this is, and as it turns out, it’s more about the language density rather than the actual syllables per second. The ‘language density’ is a measurement of how much information each language can fit into a single syllable (using Vietnamese as a standard). As it happens, the slower languages tend to have a much higher information density, and the faster languages have less information transmitted per syllable; so it all evens itself out.

Check out the full size infographic here, or click on the thumbnail below.