Fast Talkers, Slow Talkers

africa-713336_960_720If you’re an English learner, you know that not all Americans speak alike. In a country as big and diverse (with many types of people) as the United States, you’ll find people speaking differently, often because of geography (related to location of places).

For instance, if you’re a longtime listener, you may have noticed that Jeff and I have very slight (minor; little) differences in the way we pronounce certain words, such as “open” or “bag,” because Jeff is from Minnesota (in the middle of the country) and I’m from Arizona (in the southwestern part of the U.S.).

A research and consulting (providing work or advice) firm (company) recently released the results of its analysis (detailed examination) of four million customer service calls. These calls were recorded when customers called a company for a wide range of reasons, such as to ask questions, get help, change services, or complain. By law, businesses and organizations must tell a caller that a phone conversation is being recorded, so Americans are accustomed to hearing a recorded message while they’re on hold (waiting), such as “This call is being recorded to ensure quality of service” or “This call is being recorded for training purposes.” This firm analyzed four million of these types of calls between 2013 and 2015.

The firm found that, on average (generally), people in northern states speak faster than those living in southern states, which is what most Americans would expect. The fastest talkers are in Oregon, Minnesota, and Massachusetts. The slowest talkers are in Mississippi, Louisiana, and South Carolina.

Their analysis also found that people in some states are wordier (use more words) than others, saying more during their calls than people from other states. The states in which people talk the most include New York, California, and New Jersey, states on the east and west coasts (land bordering a sea). People who speak the least amount include Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, states in the north central part of the country.

Are there differences in how fast and how much people speak in different parts of the countries where you’ve lived? Are you talkative (speaking a lot) or taciturn (saying little)? Are you a fast or slow talker?

~ Lucy

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14 Responses to Fast Talkers, Slow Talkers

  1. Dan says:

    Hi Lucy!

    Watching many videos from average people on YouTube, I get the chance of listening to people from different parts of the US.
    I usually understand everyone, but, yes there is a but, and I am sure that won’t surprise you, there is a certain demographic of people that at times
    I find it hard to understand.
    That is certain black people. You know, those from the hood.
    I even doubt they are using English to communicate.
    And the cursing is omnipresent.
    To tell the truth I have seen enough videos that now I am able to understand
    what they say, but not always.
    And the “women” wow! I didn’t know women could be so vulgar.

    Enough for now..I am going to add during the next days.

    Thank you Lucy!

  2. Aecio Flavio Perim says:

    Lucy, you are the woman.

  3. Tania says:

    And in my country people speak differently thanks to the historical events, the influence of the border countries
    and the peoples that came to conquer us and forgot to leave.
    The people from the southern part speak faster. The people from the area where I live
    speak slower.
    We can’t say that I am a taciturn but I don’t like to speak too much.
    After a cup of coffee I can speak more.

    By the way, we use the word “taciturn” with the same meaning.

    Best wishes,


  4. Mari Carmen says:

    Hello Lucy

    I am talkative or taciturn according to the situation. For example, if I am in a place when quietness is needed (a concert, a class, or something similar), I am definitely taciturn.

    I don’t know for sure if in my country southern people talk slower than northern people. In my mother tongue, there are slight differences in accent and grammar. Referring to vocabulary, the sense of some swear words change in different places. So, a certain word can be friendly said for most of the people in the South, while that same word in the North is almost a taboo, because is considered quite strong and insulting. A curious thing is that Basque language has not swear words and takes them borrowed from Castilian. I remember the first time I went to a beach in San Sebastián long time ago, that I got astonished listening a couple who talked in Basque. From time to time, they said a word I understood, you see, a swear word. While sunbathing, I closed my eyes listening to that conversation I didn’t understand, trying to catch some emotional meaning of it from the pronunctiation of the words I knew. The conversation seemed to be smooth, It was fun.

    Thank you, bye

  5. Alejandro says:

    Aecio sangre to post: ” Lucy, you are the MAN”

  6. Aecio Flavio Perim says:

    Lucy is not a man, I know that.

  7. Dr. Lucy Tse says:

    The casual expression “you/he is the man” is an used to show your admiration for something the other person has done or achieved, something you think is great or amazing. (Note that this is almost always used in speech and not in writing, and sounds like “you/he da man” when said.)

    It’s normally used when speaking to a man, so Alejandro is right that the original expression uses “man,” not “woman.” But Aecio is right, too, that I’m not a man (thanks for noticing!). So when he took “poetic license” (went outside of normal rules, typically to do something creative and original), he changed it to “woman.”

    So Alejandro and Aecio are both right.

  8. Dan says:

    Hi, me again.

    Sorry if you notice something odd. That’s because I am writing more from my phone lately.
    First, certain companies record phone conversations here too.
    Italians speak very differently for many reasons.
    I am not sure about that, but I would say that the difference in velocity is more from those living in cities and those in rural areas instead of northerners versus southerners.

    Many people do not know that each of the 20 Italian regions has its own dialect, that sometimes is so different is considered another language.
    Italy was brought together in 1860, but Italians was really used from the majority of the population after the 1950s with the introduction of Tv.
    Due to the different invasions, rulers, denominations we had in the past, we have even places where they speak different languages.
    For example, in Sardinia which is the land of my parents there is a city where
    they speak a variation of Catalan from Spain.
    In certain parts of the north there are German speaking communities or French.
    There are huge differences as you see.
    I happen to live in the north and there are certain dialects from the south that are really hard to understand.

    I am done here. Thanks! Bye.

  9. Dan says:

    Me again just because I am having doubts and wanted to ask to the Spaniards if Catalan is actually a language or it is just a region or whatever..

    Thanks in advance.

  10. Roberto says:

    Hi Dan,

    Catalan is a language and a Spanish region. The origin of both is the former Kingdom of Aragon and that is the reason, for example, that people speak something similar to Catalan in Sardinia because the island belonged to the Kingdom of Aragon. A similar language/dialect is spoken in Balearic Islands, Valencia… former territories of Royaume of Aragon in the Middle Age. But I am not an expert talking about this topic and some people can say that maybe I am wrong.
    By the way, Catalan language has its roots in Latin as Spanish, Portuguese, French, Italian… and there are many others languages/dialects spoken in Spain: Galician, Aranes or Occitain, Basque… In my opinion, the most difficult language is Basque because its roots aren’t from Latin.
    But as you see, Spaniards we want to learn English too…
    I hope you have understood a little about languages/dialects in Spain.


  11. Aecio Flavio Perim says:

    Did you see Alejandro? Lucy said we both are righjt. That’s the woman. And you are the man.

  12. Dan says:

    Hey Roby thank you.

    Sorry Lucy, I am writing again. I am actually working right now the graveyard shift. There is nobody and I can use my phone.
    I forgot to tell that I am a talker depending on the situation I am in.
    I ask questions. That’s because I am curious on what the driving forces behind people’s actions, thoughts, decisions.
    If I am not prepared on a subject I am not afraid of admitting I am ignorant on that subject.
    Usually though, I am more of a listener/observer.
    I scan people out. I even like observing the skeletons and skulls of people.

    Ok then, I have just finished listening to this week’s three podcast. Good job as always you guys.


  13. emiliano says:

    Well, my wife Cuca said about me that I speak even under the water, so it is possible that now I speak a lot.
    Even more I have always the word to replay “inside the mouth” without having to think a right or not so right
    reply when anybody said something not so conveniet or ask a question in similar way.

    In spanish we say, “la palabra en la boca” o “la palabra en la punta de la lengua” but it is possible that
    in English have not any sense…..the word on the tonge or inside the mouth.

    No, I don´t need to think too much to speak as I could say which ever thing you may imagin without any
    doubt but also using a good Spanish when I like to use it.
    Madrid city gives these kind of persons, like me, very fast of speaking, talking and thinking inmediately and
    somethime in a nervy o cocky way.

    Please, be informed that Lucy is a nice prety girl that has been like a good friend to me for years.

    Thanks Lucy. emiliano

  14. Dan says:

    Hi Lucy.

    I just wanted to mention the fact that pets can be talkative too.
    In my case I am talking about my two cats.
    They are able to manipulate me with body language and different varieties of meaowing depending on the needs or situation.
    For example, when I toss cookies at the crows and my cat sees them (she’s jealous) and starts making a peculiar sounds.

    Or like when I wanna send outside the male, and he had not enough food, he goes out of the door with a complaining, almost angry meaow.

    Well Lucy, with this cute, lovely picture, wish you a good and relaxing weekend.


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