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I'm fan of watching subbed Chinese movies and series and with them sometimes happens something that very rarely happens with movies or series from other languages that's the fact that I haven't been able to read the subbed sentence before the next sentence appears.

From what I know from Chinese, this a logical consequence of how lots of their words are, being usually short to pronounce and having different meanings depending from the context.

Apart from that I get the feeling that Chinese people even have an higher speed on pronouncing their words, I don't consider to be a slow talking person in my native language and I get the feeling that, at least on films and movies, they talk even faster than me in their own language, not sure how much that translates into daily life, although from the little times I've heard Chinese people in their native language, they also looked to maintain that fast paced way.

Is there some reason that lead to Chinese being developed like that? Maybe it's an historical one, so this might fit better in history.stackexchange.org, any way I think it's worth it giving it a shot here.

  • This could be because of your reading speed (yes, in your language). This question and its answers may shed some light why. – bytebuster Aug 18 '17 at 18:43
  • I don't think it is, as I've said it rarely happens with any other language from media I've seen (and I've seen subbed media in around 10 languages). Thanks for the link, – user2638180 Aug 18 '17 at 18:48
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    I don't think that's true at all. First of all how do you even compare "speed" between different languages. What is your basic unit? A syllable? Even then, Chinese is relatively slow IMO, since every syllable has to be relatively clearly delineated from the next. It's just that a sentence contains relatively few syllables in general. When I lived in Chile I noticed that the Chilean Spanish could be twice as fast as Spanish in Spain. That is a really "fast" language if there ever is one. – xji Aug 28 '17 at 14:21
  • even though Mandarin is rated "slow" in the syllable speed list, as a Vietnamese I've always seen them speaking much faster than most Vietnamese. A lot of Chinese-speaking and Chinese-origin Vietnamese also confirm the same thing. That said, Mandarin is still a lot slower than Japanese, Roman languages or Indic languages – Lưu Vĩnh Phúc Nov 8 '18 at 1:43

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