17 September 2010

Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis

Dear TCG,

Why do Chinese people (as well as people with certain other languages like Spanish) seem talk so fast?

KaiWen

Oh I dunno about this. If you said why do Chinese people always speak loudly I'd have agreed with you. My dad has little faith in telephones you see. Therefore he needs to shout into the phone even in a quiet environment.

In that it could be ascribed to the theory whereby if you don't understand a language it will sound very fast to you. My experience in Russia where my language skills were limited to:
  • Benzine (petrol/gas)
  • Malka (milk)
  • Spasiba (thanks)
  • Piva (beer)

All the Russians to me sounded incredibly fast, this was problematic when asking for directions as to me they would speak very quickly. Mongolia was worse as they hack words. Kind of like this video at 5 minutes



Sounds like they are hacking up to spit at you when they talk. Or you met somebody who was in a hurry (I mean you do live in New York or nearby right?) I don't even want to get into the controversial theory of monosyllabic language. Vs poly (Chinese is actually a polysyllabic). But suffice to say you ain't gonna find words like this in Chinese (real words)

Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis

Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateapokaiwhenuakitanatahu.

That is not to say you don't get complicated words such as

57 pen strokes

Anyway I don't notice it.... perhaps because I have a dual ability to think in two languages means I am incapable of noticing a difference in speed between Chinese and English (though I am of course more comfy with English because I've grown acustomed to it).

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