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Fast talkers

Most people speak at a rate of 120 words per minute, or two words a second. The excitables among us, however, manage to splurt out between 160 and 195 words per minute.

Those fast talking guys rushing off the terms and conditions at the end of some American radio ads talk at about 300 words per minute. But that is only half the speed that the real fast talkers achieve. The world record for fastest talking is more than 600 words per minute, thus slightly more than 10 words per second. 

Guys like René Tramoni of France, Steve Woodmore of England and Sean Shannon of Canada articulate in excess of 600 words per minute. Woodmore held the  Guinness World Record for Fastest Talker at 637 word per minute until Shannon talked his ears off too at 655 words per minute. Fran Capo of New York holds the record for the fastest female talker, at 603 words per minute.

There also are Guinness World Records for fastest backward talking. David Fuhrer holds the American record while Steve Briers, a British DJ, holds the world record for fastest backwards talker.

Steve has the unique talent of being a fluent backwards talker, with his unique ability to reverse words instantly, like a new language. For example, ‘Have A Nice Day’ becomes ‘Evah A Ecin Yad.’

As you noticed, these fast talkers mostly are English speakers. English – the second most spoken language in the world – has more words in it than any other language but English speakers generally use only about 1% of the available one million-plus English words – and use them mostly in self-talk.

The vocabulary of an English-speaking adult is estimated at 25,000 words and that of a teenagers is about 10,000 words. The total number of English words on the official list of the Scrabble game is 143,000. And if you’re at a loss for words, consider that the English Oxford Dictionary contains more than 200,000 words.

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