Hello and welcome back to the Crown Academy blog. Today, I’ll tell you about tongue twisters and share a few examples with you. Tongue twisters are a great way to improve fluency when speaking English, and can also help with accent.
Tongue twisters are sentences that contain one repeated sound or letter, for example ‘p’. They are designed to ‘twist your tongue’ meaning to make your tongue work harder than usual to make these repeated sounds or letters.
Without further ado, let’s have a look at some! Feel free to practice them! Start slowly, and then speed up!
1. Red lorry, yellow lorry
Try saying this 3 times quickly! If you’re a speaker of an Asian language, you might have some trouble distinguishing r and l sounds, so this one’s for you!
2. Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers
Peter Piper is a popular tongue twister among children and it’s a really satisfying one to say if you can get it right. The p sound is made by releasing air from your mouth in a ‘puff’ and it’s a soft sound.
3. Give papa a cup of proper coffee in a copper coffee cup
This is another good one to practice your p sounds, with the bonus c sound thrown in.
4. Betty Botter bought some butter
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.
5. Betty loves the velvet vest best
Betty again! This is an excellent tongue twister for everyone, especially Spanish speakers, who has trouble with b and v sounds.
6. The thirty-three thieves thought that they thrilled the throne throughout Thursday
Here’s a good tongue twister for everyone who struggles with the th sound… which is most people who don’t have it in their native language. You might be surprised to learn that this one isn’t very difficult for native speakers… and you might not be surprised to learn that it doesn’t make much sense!
7. Eleven benevolent elephants
Most tongue twisters practice consonant sounds, as we’ve seen. But here’s one to help you practice a vowel sound too; use this to practice the e and v sounds.
8. Pick six beaks, seek big peaks
This is another tongue twister you can use to practice a vowel sound: specifically, the long ee and short i which a lot of learners struggle with.
9. Imagine an imaginary menagerie manager imagining managing an imaginary menagerie
This English tongue twister, obviously, helps you practice the i, g and m sounds. I find this one quite difficult to say even as an English speaker, so I hope you have better luck than me.
10. How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?
A woodchuck is better known as a groundhog. But even knowing this, it doesn’t mean that the tongue twister makes much sense. It probably won’t be too difficult to learn this one, and most native speakers will recognise it, so it’s a great one to start with.
11. She sells seashells on the seashore
This is probably the best known tongue twister in English and it even ties native speakers up in knots! The sh sound in this one really trips us up. This is only the first line so have a look at the rest of it and practice hard – you’ll impress your English and American friends if you can get through it!
12. The sixth sick sheikh’s sixth sheep’s sick
For the advanced tongue twister lovers out there, this one once made it into the Guinness 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!
How many of these great English tongue twisters can you say already and which ones do you want to practise?
Thank you for reading this blog! As always, I hope you’ve learnt something new today! Please do keep reading and learning, and if you’re interested, please book a Free Trial or Speaking Club Lesson with us here at Crown Academy! Till next time!