What are the densest languages, least dense you've studied?

General discussion about learning languages
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kimchizzle
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Re: What are the densest languages, least dense you've studied?

Postby kimchizzle » Thu Aug 06, 2015 9:06 pm

donJhon wrote:I thought at first that you were talking about information density or why some languages sound faster than your own or others sound slower.
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/fast-talkers/


Yeah, I was talking about vocabulary density among different languages among various languages. The article was quite interesting though! I'm glad people have gave their thoughts about different languages, it's been interesting.

I would guess that vocabulary density is related to several factors.

  • The ease with which the language borrows words from other languages. I gave a few examples of this in English such as American English using zucchini from Italian, while British English using courgette from French. Along with Am English using a purely English creation, eggplant, while Brit English preferring to use the French aubergine.
  • The ease that new words can be formed in the language. In certain languages I think it is easier to borrow new words from other languages for scientific or complex ideas rather than create new words for the same thing.
  • The age of the language or history of literary tradition. Languages like Russian with a long literary tradition possibly being more dense than Haitian Creole, a younger language than Russian and with less of a literary history.

This is just a few of my thoughts involving vocabulary density in various languages. I think these factors add to the number of synonyms within a language and different words to express a similar idea, thus increasing vocabulary density.

  • I used vocabulary density here even though I found the phrasing a bit odd because I found that lexical density had a specific meaning that was not in line with what I was meaning. Vocabulary density, although off sounding, is truer to my actual meaning I think. That of comparing languages based on how many synonyms they have. Discussing subjectively based on personal feeling with languages you've studied is welcomed.
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aabram
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Re: What are the densest languages, least dense you've studied?

Postby aabram » Fri Aug 07, 2015 6:07 am

I get the feeling for me the density is exact opposite of what has been discussed here. Languages with lots of words aren't dense for me, on the contrary, they're very spread out. For me dense would be overloading words or phrases with meanings so that each bears several and you'd have to be very aware of the context in order to apply correct meaning. In that sense Mandarin or Japanese is denser than English.
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