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There are fast and slow languages, measured in syllables per second. I don't know about Portuguese, but Spanish is a fast language while English is a slow language. There is a correlation between the complexity of allowed syllables and slowness of a language: The more complex a syllable is, the slower the language. So maybe the syllable complexity of ...


The term commonly used in linguistics appears to be tempo. According to the book Innovative Presentations for Dummies, other terms are rate of speech, speed, pace and rhythm.


There is a rather new answer to this old question: Languages may differ in their speed measured in syllables/second or words/second, but are pretty uniform in the amount of information per time. The speech rate measured in bit/second is uniform over very different languages and it is about 39 bit/s, see this paper: Christophe Coupé, Yoon Oh, Dan Dediu, and ...


I am not sure that the mean length of the words explains the speed of spoken language : they are very similar between French and Italian (many words too), but, when spoken, the rhythm is quite different. From the French point of view, Swiss and Belgian natives are notoriously slow, and even the Canadians from Québec - with almost exactly the same vocabulary ...

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