Study: New Mexicans rank among country’s slowest talkers

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Do you consider yourself a fast talker? You may be the exception.

One recent study finds New Mexicans may not get to the point quickly, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Some may be able to give impatient talkers a run for their money, especially in Oregon. That state topped a list of the fastest-talking states in the country.

New Mexico came in near the bottom, ranked 45th.

Are we really sluggish speakers?

We took those results to the so-called sloths themselves, real New Mexicans.

“I couldn’t imagine that anyone here speaks very slowly. Everyone I know is very talkative,” said Kiana Barella.

If you dialed a call center for help anytime in the last few years, advertising analytics company, Marchex, may have been listening.

They say they used rate of speech, density of speed, hold times, and silences to analyze people in each state.

Professionals say there are many factors to consider.

“Your dialect, your culture, emotions and physiological variables, age, sex, your sensitivity to the listener,” said Dr. Amy Neel.

UNM Associate Professor Dr. Amy Neel says when it comes to New Mexico, our culture and multiple dialects are big factors in our slow speech.

“New Mexico is known for having calm, laid back people. When we are calm and relaxed we speak relatively more slowly,” said Dr. Neel.

Some people we talked with are totally fine with being labeled as having a drowsy dialect.

“I do like the kind of ‘mañana’ culture where things are a little bit slower, a little more laid back,” said Gary Massey.

“We do live in a very calm environment compared to a lot of different places, so maybe it’s that people are just relaxed here,” said Devin Wolfel.

Ruidoso resident Ron Butler sees New Mexico’s way of speaking a totally different way. He’s lived all over the country.

“My thoughts are probably New Mexico is in the upper 25 perecent in terms of people that enunciate clearly, and at a very sensible pace,” said Butler.

Here’s a bit of irony, the study also found that while we may speak slowly, we’re also wordier than other states, meaning we don’t lack things to say. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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