Finally, a scientific validation of what we already knew intuitively!
Brad Plumer over at Ezra Klein’s blog has a link to a Time article where researchers coded languages to see which ones were more information-dense—meaning they contained more meaning per syllable. English is fairly dense, with a score of .91.
Mandarin Chinese was the densest language studied, with a score of .94.
My reaction? Yawn. Although some might object to the crass manner in which Mr. Sedaris points out certain facts about China, none of them are blatantly untrue. He has cherry-picked some of the more disgusting facts about China, but many of them are the very things that the Chinese deplore about their own society. I can’t recall off-hand any Chinese person who explicitly encourages blowing snot on the street—however widely it might be accepted.
At first, I was tempted to rise above this all-too-obvious jibe at one of the world’s great cuisines, borne of one of the world’s once-great cultures. More than anything, I was bemused that anyone would be interested in David Sedaris’ views on food. It’s kind of like asking for Hemingway’s views on leather galoshes. Interesting? Maybe. Irrelevant? Most definitely.
There are few news reports these days that inspire confidence in the U.S. economy. Unemployment levels rose to a 26-year high of 9.5% in June and word of a second stimulus package (vehemently opposed by Obama) has investors balking at earnings projections and questioning whether we are in fact on the road to recovery. Amidst the worst recession since the Great Depression, a mind-boggling news story has emerged which poses questions pulled right from the pages of a Tom Clancy novel.