In German, “tongue twister” is translated as Zungenbrecher, or “tongue crusher,” whereas the Italians translate it as scioglilingua, or “tongue melter.” In French its virelangue, or “tongue turner,” and in Spanish its trabalenguas, or “tangled-up tongues.” Each of these languages has a different take on what a tongue twister does to your tongue, but, whether you’re crushing, or melting, or turning, or tangling, there’s no question that tongue twisters aren’t easy on your tongue.
I’m not the best at tongue twisters (even “Cabin Fever Reliever Challenge” took a few tries for me to say smoothly and it’s not even a tongue twister ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ ), but I think most people can remember their favorite childhood tongue twister whether they were good at saying it or not. I’m a fan of “Sally sells seashells down by the seashore,” but you may be more of a “Peter picked a peck of pickled peppers,” or “How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?” No matter what yours was, we can probably agree that tongue twisters are a fun part of our language culture.
Besides being a good laugh, tongue twisters can help with pronunciation and can even be a good way to remember vocabulary (I don’t think I knew what a “woodchuck” was when I first learned that tongue twister). So I’ve searched the internet for some of the best international tongue twisters and written up a list of some of my favorites. Happy tongue crushing!!
- Chi ama chiama chi ama, chiamami tu che chi ami chiami. Chi amo chiamerò se tu non chiami. (Italian)
Whoever loves calls who they love, you call me since you call who you love. I’ll call who I love if you don’t call.
- Papá, pon pan para Pepín. Para Pepín pon pan, Papá. (Spanish)
Dad, serve bread for Pepin. For Pepin serve bread, Dad
- Si six scies scient six cyprès, six cents scies scient six cents cyprès. (French)
If six saws saw six cypresses, six hundred saws saw six hundred cypresses.
- Fischers Fritz fischt frische Fische, frische Fische fischt Fischers Fritz. (German)
Fisherman Fritz fishes for fresh fish, fresh fish is what the fisherman’s Fritz fishes.
- Καλημέρα καμηλιέρη Καμηλιέρη καλημέρα. (Greek)
Good morning camel herder, camel herder good morning.
- 赤巻紙, 青巻紙, 黄巻紙 (Akamakigami, aomakigami, kimakigami) (Japanese)
Red scroll, blue scroll, yellow scroll.