Tongue twisters are not only a fun exercise and a humorous word game but also can be a great way to improve your fluency and pronunciation. Although they are intentionally designed so as they are hard to articulate properly even by native speakers, and they naturally pose a challenge for foreigners, tongue twisters are a useful tool for learning a new language. Laughter caused by humorous mispronunciation can be helpful with overcoming language barriers and creating a positive learning environment. Moreover, tongue twisters are often used by actors and singers to warm up all aspects of their vocal instruments and, in addition to improving our speech control, they can serve as a useful tool for eliminating a stuttering problem by helping concentration and re-training our speech system. Such similar exercises were used by the Australian speech and language therapist Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush), who was trying to help King George VI (Colin Firth) to overcome his speech problems in the movie ‘The King’s Speech’.

Tongue twisters are also an intriguing phenomenon from a translation point of view – as part of folklore they can be found in almost every language:

English

Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.

A peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked.

If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers,

Where’s the peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked?

Polish

W Szczebrzeszynie chrząszcz brzmi w trzcinie,

i Szczebrzeszyn z tego słynie.

Finnish

Appilan pappilan apupapin papupata pankolla kiehuu ja kuohuu.

Pappilan paksuposki piski pisti paksun papukeiton poskeensa.

There is also the question: what are the world’s most difficult lounge twisters? Actually, MIT researchers from Boston are claiming that they have designed a phrase that is nearly impossible to be repeated quickly 10 times in the row. A unique combination of vowels and consonants can cause some problems with the human centre of speech. If you don’t believe me, just try saying this 10 times as fast as possible. Ready, Steady, Go:

Pad kid poured curd pulled cold.

What are your favourite tongue twisters? Share them with us on our Facebook page and, if you are brave enough, you can post a video with #tonguetwisterchallenge!

(RM)

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