Tongue Twisters: A Fun Way to Improve Your English Speaking Skills
The trick of tongue twisters is that they cleverly use the most challenging sounds in English and pair them in combinations of two or three. They often rely on alliteration, repetition, and unusual word combinations to create their tricky effect.
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Think of tongue twisters as funny linguistic puzzles that challenge your tongue not to twist into a pretzel but also challenge your mind to distinguish between similar sounds, improving your articulation.
From Irish wristwatch to selfish shellfish, we've got 30 tongue twisters that will leave your mouth feeling like it just ran a linguistic marathon. So, get ready to exercise those tongue muscles because things are about to get twisted!
Give a nice workout to your tongue and improve your speaking skills with the below-provided tongue twisters. Practising tongue twisters help in improving pronunciation and speaking skills. Practising the tongue twisters is not only helpful but is also a fun exercise.
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If you've ever been a child on a playground, you're probably familiar with the concept of a "tongue twister." In Spanish, they're known as trabalenguas. In French, they're called virelangue. Almost every language has their own tongue twisters but the concept is the same:
While you'll most often hear these at recess or a party, today they're more than just a child's game! Often, English requires sounds that many other languages don't have. Take the digraph, "th," for example--that can be really tough if the "th" sound doesn't exist in your native tongue. That's where tongue twisters come in for learning English.
As you can tell, this tongue twister focuses on the "P" sound. This is a great one to practice if your native tongue doesn't have a huge difference between "B" and "P" (for example, as in Korean). If that is the case for you, try to aspirate (add air) to the P as much as possible!
Now let's try a B tongue twister. This tongue twister uses lots of the B sound, but the real tricky part is the vowels. Pay attention to each vowel--a e, i, o, and u.
The problem is, "th" is not a common sound in many other languages. This consonant blend can be very difficult for a not native speaker to pronounce. My advice is to pull your tongue into the back of your mouth.
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The "f" is another sound that doesn't exist in some languages. Because the "f" sound is voiceless, it can be tricky to pronounce and trickier to not accidentally confuse with "P" or "V." We'll get to the similarly difficult "V" sound in one moment, but first, care to try out this funky tongue twister?
As we said earlier, R and L sounds, especially together, can feel awkward on the tongue even for native speakers. Remember to isolate sounds you struggle with. If R or L (or both) are tough, this one is another great practice.
Can you do it? Here, listen to a native speaker explain how to say it. This tongue twister tests the R and W sound put together. The first "w" in wristwatch is silent, so focus on that R sound, as if it is "ristwatch."
Whew! Is your mouth feeling weird yet? If you've tried every one of these tongue twisters, you're probably tired of English pronunciation. If not, keep going and try out some celebrity names! But whether you end here or keep on, remember that, just like exercising a muscle, practicing these sounds over and over will train your mouth and tongue to pronounce tricky words more clearly and confidently.
When I started to learn Italian, I couldn't roll my Rs to save my life. Now? Well, I'm not perfect, but I can get it 9 out of 10 times! Practice makes perfect--not only with creating sentences, but pronouncing them as well. Trying these tongue twisters will open your mouth and train those muscles.
Do you like practising your English pronunciation? Have fun saying tongue twisters in English. Saying tongue twisters can be difficult at first, so don't worry if you can't do it very well to begin with. Just keep practising and have fun!
If you want to improve or perfect your English pronunciation, check out this comprehensive list of tongue twisters. This list is a package of simple tongue twisters for kids some funny tongue twisters and difficult tongue twisters for siblings, friends and family:
That was all about tongue twisters! We hope you had great fun reciting these tongue twisters. We hope the information provided was helpful. For more educational content, stay connected with us at Leverage Edu. Happy learning!
This is a good tongue twister for anyone who has difficulties saying the b sound. This is only the first line of this strange tongue twister/poem, so take a look at the rest of it to have a really good practice.
For the advanced tongue twister lovers out there, this one once made it into the Guiness Book of World Records as being the hardest tongue twister in the world. I can barely get this phrase out, even after a few times practising it!
A team of researchers from Massachusetts Institute of Technology say that this is the most difficult tongue twister in the world. Can you say it ten times fast? The psychologists who created this tongue twister said that people who attempted to say it either stopped right in the middle of saying it because it was too difficult or could only get through it once and weren't able to repeat it. If you couldn't get this one, give the others a try.
You probably don't want to stand in the way of a course cross cow. But, if you try to teach him this tongue twister, he may get distracted from his anger and not hurt you. (If a word is on the tip of your tongue, this is exactly what you need to do to figure out what it is.)
"I look at the tongue twister and I think of an image for each word," Simpson told NPR's Steve Inskeep on Morning Edition. "And then as I'm going through the tongue twister, it's like, I'm in my mind literally swiping through flashcards of images. I go from image to image to image. And I find this is the way to get my muscles to do what my brain is asking."
Another way to mark the day: Watch Ammonite, the 2020 movie about Mary Anning, a self-taught paleontologist who was known for her historic fossil discoveries and the possible inspiration for the tongue-twister: "She sells seashells by the seashore."
A tongue twister is a phrase that is designed to be difficult to articulate properly, and can be used as a type of spoken (or sung) word game. Additionally, they can be used as exercises to improve pronunciation and fluency. Some tongue twisters produce results that are humorous (or humorously vulgar) when they are mispronounced, while others simply rely on the confusion and mistakes of the speaker for their amusement value.
Some tongue twisters rely on rapid alternation between similar but distinct phonemes (e.g., s [s] and sh [ʃ]), combining two different alternation patterns, familiar constructs in loanwords, or other features[which?] of a spoken language in order to be difficult to articulate. For example, the following sentence was said to be "the most difficult of common English-language tongue twisters" by William Poundstone.
These deliberately difficult expressions were popular in the 19th century. The popular "she sells seashells" tongue twister was originally published in 1850 as a diction exercise. The term tongue twister was first applied to this kind of expressions in 1895.
"She sells seashells" was turned into a popular song in 1908, with words by British songwriter Terry Sullivan and music by Harry Gifford. According to folklore, it was said to be inspired by the life and work of Mary Anning, an early fossil collector. However, there is no evidence that Anning inspired either the tongue twister or the song.
Many tongue twisters use a combination of alliteration and rhyme. They have two or more sequences of sounds that require repositioning the tongue between syllables, then the same sounds are repeated in a different sequence. An example of this is the song "Betty Botter" ( listen (helpinfo)):
Some tongue twisters take the form of words or short phrases which become tongue twisters when repeated rapidly (the game is often expressed in the form "Say this phrase three (or five, or ten, etc.) times as fast as you can!"). Examples include:
Pronunciation difficulty is also theorized to have an effect on tongue twisters. For example, t [t] is thought to be easier to pronounce than ch [tʃ]. As a result, speakers may naturally transform ch [tʃ] to t [t] or when trying to pronounce certain tongue twisters.
It is common for more difficult sounds to be replaced with strong consonants in tongue twisters. This is partially determinant of which sounds are most likely to transform to other sounds with linguistic confusion.
The complexity of tongue twisters varies from language to language. For example, in Buganda vowels differ by length so tongue twisters exploit vowel length: "Akawala akaawa Kaawa kaawa akaawa ka wa?". Translation: "The girl who gave Kaawa bitter coffee, where is she from?"
Shibboleths, that is, phrases in a language that are difficult for someone who is not a native speaker of that language to say might be regarded as a type of tongue-twist. An example is Georgian baq'aq'i ts'q'alshi q'iq'inebs ("a frog croaks in the water"), in which q' is a uvular ejective. Another example, the Czech and Slovak strč prst skrz krk ("stick a finger through the throat") is difficult for a non-native speaker due to the absence of vowels, although syllabic r is a common sound in Czech, Slovak and some other Slavic languages.
The sign language equivalent of a tongue twister is called a finger-fumbler. According to Susan Fischer, the phrase Good blood, bad blood is a tongue twister in English as well as a finger-fumbler in ASL.