A recent article in Time Magazine highlights a fascinating piece of research into whether some languages truly do sound faster than others. Researchers from the Université de Lyon recruited volunteers who were native speakers of one of seven common languages — English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin and Spanish — and one not so common one: Vietnamese and instructed them to read 20 different texts into a recorder in their native languages. Their findings would appear to show that there is a strong link between the amount of information conveyed in a syllable and the speed of articulation. The more data-dense the average syllable articulated was, the fewer of those syllables had to be spoken per second, and thus the slower the speech. English, with a high information density of .91, was spoken at an average rate of 6.19 syllables per second in the test, whereas Spanish, it would appear has a lower syllable density of .63, and correspondingly is spoken at a higher a syllable-per-second velocity of 7.82!