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When we are learning a new language, and they speak to us too fast, we may lose the thread of the conversation. But in which ones does it happen more often? What is the fastest language? Does it exist?

Listening to native speakers of different languages speak quickly may make us think that some languages are faster than others, but is this true? This sensation occurs because we hear a large number of syllables that we cannot understand even when we have an advanced level in that language.

In this text, we will answer this question and also tell you which languages are the fastest.

In search of the fastest language

Initially, our teachers of other languages try to teach us to speak with slow examples in which they try to separate the syllables as much as possible for us to understand.

But when we are faced with real life, and we talk to native speakers, we realize that the reality is very different: they usually express themselves so quickly that they leave us speechless and we doubt whether we have really learned anything in that language.

When trying to find the fastest language, the most logical thing to do is to check the number of syllables per second averaged in a conversation.

However, it would also be important to remember that there is the concept of isochrony, which is the regularity of time with which certain units of language occur in speech: syllables, stress and mora time.

Although there are those who defend the values of isochrony to calculate the speed at which speech is usually spoken by identifying two types of languages (some calculated in syllables and others in accents), the general consensus is that it is pseudoscientific. So counting the number of syllables spoken per second is the most accepted method.

What is the fastest language?

In 2011, the University of Lyon analyzed 7 languages and came to the following conclusions:

  1. Japanese. 7.84 syllables per second.
  2. Spanish. 7.82 syllables per second.
  3. French. 7.18 syllables per second.
  4. Italian. 6.99 syllables per second.
  5. English. 6.19 syllables per second.
  6. German. 5.97 syllables per second.
  7. Mandarin. 5.18 syllables per second.

In any case, this analysis was criticized because it only calculated the speed of 7 of the 7,000 languages that currently exist. So it will be difficult for us to ever really know which language is the fastest spoken on Earth.

Mind you: another study, this time one done by Science Advances in 2017, went to the trouble of analyzing 17 languages to find out which one is spoken the fastest, and came to somewhat different conclusions from those of the University of Lyon, but maintaining several of the positions. So it could be said that it was a complementary analysis to expand the list, and so it remained:

  1. Japanese
  2. Spanish
  3. Vasco
  4. Finnish
  5. Italian
  6. Serbian
  7. Korean
  8. Catalan
  9. Turkish
  10. French
  11. English
  12. German
  13. Hungarian
  14. Mandarin
  15. Cantonese
  16. Vietnamese
  17. Thai

Of course, it is important to add that the speed at which a language is spoken has nothing, or almost nothing, to do with its complexity when it comes to learning. Other languages are more difficult to learn and always depend on the learner’s mother tongue.

At Lingua Language Center, we have realized over the decades that we have been studying languages, that with the necessary resources, willingness and a good methodology, it is possible to learn to speak any language.

And as far as speed is concerned, we start from the idea that practice is the only totally reliable way to fine-tune the ear. That is why, among our English programs, for example, we include the possibility of total immersion in the language so that the student can adapt while learning daily in our classes.

If you want to learn a new language, write to us today. We can offer you the opportunity to come to the United States to do it, or to enjoy our online classes. Either way, you’ll see amazing results in less time than you think.