The fastest and slowest speakers in the country both live in the Midwest – one in Illinois, study shows – NBC Chicago

Is there something special about the way people in the Midwest speak? Wisconsin accents, Minnesota overtones, the way people outside the Chicago area seem to know you’re from Chicago without even having to ask.

Obviously there’s another level, according to research into the country’s fastest and slowest speakers.

“In an attempt to identify U.S. cities, states, and regions with the fastest and slowest speakers, we analyzed data from two nationwide studies based on YouTube videos and call recordings,” wrote Preply, an online language learning platform, in their results. “Then we evaluated the average speaking speeds of Americans in 114 cities and in all 50 states.”

The results have the Midwest at the top of the list at both ends of the spectrum.

While Portland, Oregon, crowned the US city with the fastest average speaking rate of 5.38 syllables per second, the fastest speaking state at 5.34 syllables per second went to – drum roll – Minnesota.

“Interestingly, the US region comes up most often in the top 10 fastest talking states in the Midwest,” Preply wrote, “including Minnesota, Iowa, Kansas, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Nebraska. Midwestern states in the heart of America are not often referred to as linguistic speedsters; However, the data clearly show a different reality. It seems that this region should be known for more than just agriculture and industry.”

So how did Illinois fare at the slow end of the study?

It turns out that the US city with the slowest average speaking rate, according to Preply, is right here in Illinois. Peoria, Illinois rang in at 4.71 syllables per second.

Joliet also made the Slow Talkers list, putting Illinois in the top 10 slowest-talking states, the only state in the Midwest.

“The Midwest, represented by two Illinois cities (i.e., Peoria, Joliet), maintains its position as the only other region to rank among the slowest US speakers,” Preply said, noting, “obviously, residents in those parts have not selected for the high-speed speech of their Midwestern neighbors.”

Incidentally, according to this study, “fast-talking New Yorkers” could be a trump card.

“Although New Yorkers are often labeled as lightning-fast-talking motor-mouths, research suggests this is simply not the case. Instead, it turns out that New Yorkers talk the most, not the fastest.”

The most talkative state went to New York.


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