Apropos of Marc laughing at me and telling me I should visit the Sprawl to hear people talking fast, I thought you might like to know some of the following.
Recently I was told that some people actually speak at 300 words a minute. I do find it hard to believe, but having sped up a tape to approximately 300 words a minute I realize that I can understand what the speaker is saying — I just really had to focus.
Then I was looking at a book I found on my shelves: Rapid Writing in 6 Days by Ben E Johnson. He says:
Sean Shannon, a Canadian residing in Oxford, Great Britain, recited Hamlet’s soliloquy “To be or not to be” (259 words) in a time of 24 seconds–equivalent to 647.5 words per minute–on British Broadcasting Corporation’s Radio Oxford on October 26, 1990.
Here’s the link. I’m not sure what the page is, it is lesson 7 of Extreme English. Half-way down the page is an audio link — part English, part Polish, and two takes of Mr Shannon (of course he’s a Canuck) doing the soliloquy at 647 words per minute. I got about 1 word in 30.