There was lots of interest in the calculator to estimate counting time (in English) to one million, one billion and up to one trillion. I decided to do the same for other popular languages (Spanish). Here is the calculator that will calculate how long it takes to count to one million (or larger numbers) in Spanish.
Updated: Lots of folks on Reddit pointed out some mistakes in the Spanish calculations, and helped me figure out the solutions, so the Spanish graphs are now updated. The Spanish calculator is now live!
Building off of the last post about Counting to One Million in English, I received some comments about looking at other languages. That seemed like a very good idea, so I looked at a list of the world’s most popular languages and saw Chinese and Spanish listed with English in the Top 3. Having a little experience with both of those, I set out to compare how long it’d take to count in each of these languages, if you had to pronounce every single number from one to one million.
Again, here’s the plot of the number of syllables per number for English. The longest word is seven hundred seventy seven thousand seven hundred seventy seven (20 syllables).
My son likes large numbers (like septillion, googol and googolplex) and once asked me how long it would take to count to septillion (which is 1 followed by 24 zeros). I told him it would take longer than the age of the universe to do that, so he started working his way down. He asked me about counting to one million. I did a little math (assuming one number per second) and got about 11-12 days . . . but then thought, the large numbers (like 658,243) take more than a second to say.
Looked on the web a little to see if anyone else had done a more sophisticated calculation. Lots of calculations were like my own (assuming one number per second). Others acknowledge that it would take longer for large numbers and made assumptions about what that would be. But nothing definitive, so I thought I’d make one. This counting calculator is based on the number of syllables in every number and counts all the syllables you’d have to pronounce in order to count from one to one million (or other numbers).