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2012-07-01, 11:32   #12
only_human

"Gang aft agley"
Sep 2002

2×1,877 Posts

There seem to be no simple answers on speech rate. There are syllable rates, word rates and information rates. This paper is recent: A Cross-Language Perspective on Speech Information Rate - 2011 (table 1)
Code:
INFORMATION DENSITY  SYLLABIC RATE  INFORMATION RATE
English
0.91(±0.04)     6.19(±0.16)     1.08(±0.08)
French
0.74(±0.04)     7.18(±0.12)     0.99(±0.09)
German
0.79(±0.03)     5.97(±0.19)     0.90(±0.07)
Italian
0.72(±0.04)     6.99(±0.23)     0.96(±0.10)
Japanese
0.49(±0.02)     7.84(±0.09)     0.74(±0.06)
Mandarin
0.94(±0.04)     5.18(±0.15)     0.94(±0.08)
Spanish
0.63(±0.02)     7.82(±0.16)     0.98(±0.07)
Vietnamese
1(reference)    5.22(±0.08)     1(reference)
The table is fairly early in the paper and out of context but is interesting all the same. The paper has a lot more to say but abstracting more from it eludes me. The conclusion:
Quote:
 As a conclusion, we would like to point out that cross-language studies may be very fruitful for revealing whether memory span is a matter of syllables, words, quantity of information, or simply duration. More generally, such cross-language studies are crucial both for linguistic typology and for language cognition (see also Evans & Levinson 2009).

Last fiddled with by only_human on 2012-07-01 at 11:43

 2012-07-01, 19:27 #13 Dubslow Basketry That Evening!     "Bunslow the Bold" Jun 2011 40
2012-07-01, 23:03   #14
only_human

"Gang aft agley"
Sep 2002

2×1,877 Posts

Quote:
 Originally Posted by Dubslow So Japanese and Spanish are fastest, followed by French. Interesting that Vietnamese is a dense (simple?) language. Most interesting of course is that English tops the information rate. What made them choose Vietnamese for the reference?
It says that they picked Vietnamese as a reference because it was different ("a mostly isolating language") from the seven languages of collected information.
Quote:
 Since the texts were not explicitly designed for detailed cross-language comparison, they exhibit a rather large variation in length. For instance, the lengths of the twenty English texts range from sixty-two to 104 syllables. To deal with this variation, each text was matched with its translation in an eighth language, Vietnamese(VI), different from the seven languages of the corpus. This external point of reference was used to normalize the parameters for each text in each language and consequently to facilitate the interpretation by comparison with a mostly isolating language
Information Density by language (IDL) here is a measure of information per syllable.
Quote:
 The fact that Mandarin exhibits the value closest to that of Vietnamese (IDMA=0.94±0.04) is compatible with their proximity in terms of lexicon, morphology, and syntax. Furthermore, Vietnamese and Mandarin, which are the two tone languages in this sample, have the highest IDL values overall. Japanese density, by contrast, is one-half that of the Vietnamese reference(IDJA =0.49±0.02), according to our definition of density. Consequently, even in this small sample of languages, IDL exhibits a considerable range of variation, reflecting different grammars. These grammars reflect language specific strategies for encoding linguistic information, but they ignore the temporal facet of communication. For example, if the syllabic speech rate (i.e. the average number of syllables uttered per second) is twice as fast in Japanese as in Vietnamese, the linguistic information would be transmitted at the same RATE in the two languages, since their respective information densities per syllable, IDJA and IDVI, are inversely related. In this perspective, linguistic encoding is only one part of the equation, and we propose in the next section to take the temporal dimension into account.

Last fiddled with by only_human on 2012-07-01 at 23:27

 2012-07-02, 01:51 #15 Dubslow Basketry That Evening!     "Bunslow the Bold" Jun 2011 40
2012-07-02, 02:48   #16
Uncwilly
6809 > 6502

"""""""""""""""""""
Aug 2003
101×103 Posts

203728 Posts

Quote:
 Originally Posted by only_human I last studied Spanish back in high school in 1980 or so but started to review it again after the public opening of a cool new language learning and translation site: www.duolingo.com (blog.duolingo.com)
The site asked for my e-mail, then later on asked for my name and hometown. I am not going to give that site that info.

2012-07-02, 04:15   #18
only_human

"Gang aft agley"
Sep 2002

2·1,877 Posts

Quote:
 Originally Posted by Uncwilly The site asked for my e-mail, then later on asked for my name and hometown. I am not going to give that site that info.
I don't like that kind of thing either.

They do say this in terms:
Quote:
 Use of Information Obtained by Duolingo We may use your contact information to send you notifications regarding new services offered by Duolingo and its partners that we think you may find valuable. Duolingo may also send you service-related announcements from time to time through the general operation of the Service. Generally, you may opt out of such emails, although Duolingo reserves the right to send you notices about your account even if you opt out of all voluntary email notifications. Profile information is used by Duolingo primarily to be presented back to and edited by you when you access the Service and to be presented to other users. In some cases, other users may be able to supplement your profile, including by submitting comments. Duolingo may use aggregate or anonymous data collected through the Service, including Activity Data, for any purpose. This data may be used by Duolingo and shared with third parties in any manner.
So they do not promise to never contact you.

As for collecting Activity Data, I am OK with that for this specific site because it is part of why I am there. I want to be another ant in the anthill or a busy bee in the beehive. It lets me feel like I am accomplishing something beyond my ossified cranium. Of course, it is also quid pro quo.

Even so, I do not understand this younger generation that seems to be unconcerned about exposing every vital and/or banal scrap of personal information to data mining and potentially malicious scraping.

Last fiddled with by only_human on 2012-07-02 at 05:03 Reason: tweaks and afterthoughts. trimmed

2012-07-02, 05:04   #19
Dubslow

"Bunslow the Bold"
Jun 2011
40<A<43 -89<O<-88

3·29·83 Posts

Quote:
 Originally Posted by only_human Even so, I do not understand this younger generation that seems to be unconcerned about exposing every vital and/or banal scrap of personal information to data mining and potentially malicious scraping.
I don't like it myself. While I do use Facebook and G+, I don't do any 'liking' or +1 on external sites. I do my best to keep it limited to Facebook alone, and even then, I generally don't accept new apps anymore.

@LaurV: Your point about tonality is much of what the paper said, and why Mandarin and Vietnamese have much higher information density than the Indo-European languages, as reported in the paper...

2012-07-02, 05:56   #20
only_human

"Gang aft agley"
Sep 2002

2×1,877 Posts

Quote:
 Originally Posted by LaurV Same shortest syllable said on different tones means different things, like in "the horse and the dog both come to Mary", which would be in Thai much shorter: "ma ma ma mali" (no joke!, there are 4 different "ma" on 4 different tones, for "horse", "dog", "to come", and "ma-" of Mary
And Mandarin has this well known one (Tongue Twister (绕口令) : 妈妈骑马):
Quote:
 妈 妈 骑 马 mā ma qí mǎ Mother is riding a horse. 马 慢 mǎ màn The horse is moving slowly. 妈 妈 骂 马 mā ma mà mǎ Mother scolds the horse.
Of course there is also this Mandarin sobriety test (Tongue twisters in many languages):
Quote:
 四是四，十是十，十四是十四，四十是四十，四十四隻不識字之石獅子是死的 sì shí sì, shí shì shí, shísì shí shísì, sìshí shí sìshí, sìshísì zhi bùshízǐ zhi shíshīzǐ shì sǐ 4 is 4, 10 is 10, 14 is 14, 40 is 40, 44 illiterate stone lions are dead.

Last fiddled with by only_human on 2012-07-02 at 06:00 Reason: moved link references to be less ambiguous with quoted material

 2012-07-02, 06:03 #21 Dubslow Basketry That Evening!     "Bunslow the Bold" Jun 2011 40
2012-07-02, 09:55   #22
Brian-E

"Brian"
Jul 2007
The Netherlands

2·23·71 Posts

Quote:
 Originally Posted by Dubslow One of my Opa's favorites is a Dutch one about 7 flounder from Scheveningen. (Brian?)
Don't think I've ever heard this one, but "zeven" (seven) and the seaside resort Scheveningen very obviously lend themselves for use in a tongue twister, yes. The compound Dutch consonant "sch", pronounced as a letter "s" followed immediately by a rasping of the back of the throat, is certainly tricky when said many times in succession and combined with instances of bare "s" and "z".
I wonder what Dutch word your opa is using for "flounder". Drawing a blank there. I bet his full tongue twister includes the word "schepen", meaning "ships", though.