We have unleashed a torrent of words


About 500 years after the invention of the printing press by Johannes Gutenberg, and with the emergence of computer systems and the web within the twentieth and twenty first centuries, human beings have develop into amazingly wordy, maybe annoyingly so.

I used to be considering my very own output throughout a forty-yr profession as a author and editor within the oil business. I got here up with about 6 million phrases. That’s based mostly on a quite prodigious output of about three,000 phrases per week. Scribing articles for newsletters and different publications over 4 many years, I recall many weeks during which I exceeded that quantity.

Examine this to Shakespeare’s phrase rely of 884,421, encapsulated in his main works, together with all his performs. However that is akin to evaluating apples to oranges – amount versus high quality— and there’s no comparability. Tens of millions of individuals the world over will ceaselessly recall Hamlet’s phrase, “to be or to not be, that’s the query,” whereas my semi-technical description of how an prolonged attain oil nicely is drilled pale from readers’ reminiscences quicker than paint dries.

With our computer systems’ phrase processing and storage features we have grow to be extremely environment friendly in racking up the phrases. Greatest-promoting writer Stephen King, for instance, has revealed about eight million phrases in his fifty seven novels, and that does not embrace earlier, unpublished drafts.

Tom Clancy’s seven greatest promoting novels include about two million phrases. The every day newspaper New York Occasions prints a mean one hundred fifty,000 phrases per day. In a yr that might quantity to about fifty four.eight million phrases. How many individuals learn all of this, not to mention digest it?

In the meantime, The Second Version of the 20-quantity Oxford English Dictionary incorporates solely 171,476 phrases!

But on this sundry barrage of phrases, there are a couple of American authors who achieved fame with significantly much less of them, present in a single novel. For instance, J.D. Salinger, “The Catcher within the Rye;” Margaret Mitchell, “Gone with the Wind;” and Harper Lee, “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

Over time people’ studying velocity has not elevated appreciably, despite the fact that some individuals obtain constructive outcomes with follow and coaching. In response to one web site, www.readingsoft.com/, tremendous-velocity readers can obtain 1,000 phrases per minute with about eighty five % comprehension. However that solely represents one % of the human inhabitants. The typical studying velocity, the location signifies, is nearer to 200-250 phrases per minute, with about 60 % comprehension.  At that price, it might take roughly 14…



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