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--- In [log in to unmask], Jens Wilkinson <jenswilkinson@...> wrote:
>
> On Sat, Sep 13, 2008 at 4:05 AM, Olivier Simon <cafaristeir@...>wrote:
> 
> >
> >
> > There is something very interesting here: about brevity.
> > I think that brevity is a quality that auxlangers should take into
account.
> > hat's
> > what I have tried to do with sambahsa.
> > I suppose that people won't be eager to give up languages like
English or
> > even
> > French for an auxlang that uses twice more time to tell the same
thing (ex:
> > the "Italian-like" Esperanto)....
> >
> 
> I wonder how important brevity really is. This is something
anecdotal, but
> for instance, it seems to me that Filipinos (who have a language
with long
> words) tend to speak syllables faster than Chinese (who have a quite
compact
> language). So I'm wondering, are there languages that transmit
information
> faster than others (in speech, not writing) or is there a sort of
constant
> law where people speaking languages with long words say the words more
> quickly? I don't know how true this is, but I think when people speak
> English, which is fairly compact, they tend to put a lot of "um"s
and things
> like that, the implication being that they are not using the
language at the
> maximum possible speed anyway. I looked around a bit on the
Internet, but
> couldn't find anything about this issue. Does anybody have any ideas
about
> this?
> 
> -- 
> Jens Wilkinson
> Neo Patwa (patwa.pbwiki.com)
>

It may be true that speakers of different languages convey information
at approximately the same speed. But brevity has to do not only with
speed but also with shorter forms. I think that there is a tendency in
many languages towards shorter forms (words and expressions). That's
why they use abbreviations. You can judge better than me whether such
a tendency exists in English and Japanese. It would be interesting to
know the same about Filipino. What I notice is that often they post
here awkward headings from the news. What is it if not a tendency
towards shorter way of saying things? If expressed longer, those
headings would be not ambiguous, but they want them short. 
In Mandarin, sometimes a combination of two 2-syllabled words gives
not a 4- but 2-syllabled word.
Shorter words more easily catch on and spread. For example, I doubt
that the term "stress" would have spread that widely if Hans Selye
named it with a longer word like "adaptosyndrome".
It seems to me that slangs, as kind of new languages, are usually
short. E.g. in a Russian slang they may say "chel" instead of
"chelovek" (man).