8 August 2011

Long-winded Latin strikes again - and does it also make people speak louder?

After a short trip to Italy about eighteen months ago, I was so struck by the long-winded nature of Italian notices that I suggested that it might have a bearing on the widely-held belief that speakers of Latin-based languages make more extensive use of gestures than those of us who speak Germanic/Nordic languages (for more on which, see HERE).

Having just got back from a holiday in Sicily, I've already posted my most spectacular holiday snap (of Mount Etna smoking) of the week.

But here's the one that delighted me the most - not just because the notice was telling me not to do the very thing I was doing, but because it only took 3 syllables of English to translate 9 syllables of Italian.

As the previous post on the subject attracted some rather interesting discussion, it occurred to me that anyone who missed out on it might like to join in now.

Louder as well as more long-winded?
What's more, my casual observations from the past week, like standing in airport check-in lines and wandering around local markets, have prompted another thought about languages that require speakers to hold the attention of their listeners for a very large number of beats/syllables:

Does the long-windedness of a language also result in native speakers speaking more loudly, even to the point of shouting at each other during conversations, than speakers of languages like English?

Comments, as ever, welcome...

1 comment:

Angela DeFinis said...

Interesting article Max! I followed your link to the previous article as well and I think one of your commentators said it best; "is it language, culture or climate? - which came first?"