Tongue Twisters

Everyone likes a good tongue twister, the oral equivalent of juggling. Something which often looks simple to say, but the brain and mouth just get tied up in knots trying to pronounce it. Here are just a few examples to demonstrate some favourites and look at the differences between languages.

English tongue-twisters

Any complete list of English tongue-twisters would be inordinately long, so here is a deliberately small selection of favourites.

A classic, with the confusing mixture of "s" and "sh" sounds.

Watch out for unintentional spoonerisms...

Not too bad once, but try saying it fast 5 times and the "l" and "r" sounds soon get mixed up.

Again, needs repeating fairly quickly for the full effect.

The "th" sound is difficult for many anyway, without mixing it with so many "s" and "sh" sounds.

German tongue-twisters

Not just tongue-twisters, but veritable "Zungenbrechern" (tongue-breakers)! ...

Translated, this means "Bridal dress remains bridal dress and blue cabbage remains blue cabbage". Very difficult to say because of the mixture of "r" and "l" sounds.

Translated, this means "in the thick Spruce thicket, the thick Spruces nod vigorously". Full of traps with the mixture of "ch" and "ck" sounds, with the intention that you say something rude by mistake.

This means "between two plum twigs, sit two twittering dwarf-swallows". Packed full of "zw" and "sch" mayhem.

A kind of third-party liability insurance. The combination of "ftpfl" is particularly evil. And yes, that is just one word!

Clearly tautological, just explaining the minimal immunity against aluminium.

See also

Of course, the standard reference is Wikipedia, whose article Tongue twister provides the background and links to many long lists.

English // English tips // Tongue Twisters // Jokes // Vocab // Welsh