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I learned that one must clearly enunciate every word of tefila. At the least this would include Shemoneh Esreh and Shema, but one might presume it includes all of davening. This question can easily apply to whatever definition of tefila one uses.

In many shuls the Shliach Tzibur is generally careful to clearly enunciate every word. However, in some shuls the pace of davening is so fast that it seems physically impossible.

Granted, I have been davening for about eight years and a lot of these people have been davening for many decades. Even so, there is a certain physical limit to rate of speech. It would seem, therefore, that in these shuls they are not really enunciating every word - that or they are employing some form of kefitzas hadiburim.

I want to stress that I am not in any way condemning this practice or saying that it is in fact better to spend more time on tefila than on learning, which I assume is the impetus to pray quickly in the first place. On the contrary, I think both ways are very good, and I am not passing any judgements at all, c'v. I am sure that this practice is well supported. I'm just trying to understand what exactly is the practice here - slurring all words together into a long drone, only saying certain words and scanning the rest, only saying the beginnings and endings of each part, or whatever - and what is the halachic support for the practice.

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Maybe it's simply that the people can move their various mouth muscles very quickly. –  msh210 Nov 27 '12 at 2:30
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@Ariel I thought of the memorization factor but I'm still not convinced. I have Sh"E memorized and can go as fast as the chazan in the video if I don't mind mumbling it (I have the opposite kavanah problem from you, I lose focus if I rely too much on muscle memory). I know some people can no doubt daven faster than me. There still seems to be a standard in some shuls that is impossibly fast. Is there not any support for not really pronouncing every word? If not, then it must be physical speed. I just thought some schools of thought would permit a certain leniency in prayer enunciation. –  yoel Nov 27 '12 at 13:34
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related judaism.stackexchange.com/q/15922/759 –  Double AA Nov 27 '12 at 17:31
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Maybe they're inhaling their prayers? –  Seth J Nov 27 '12 at 18:40
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