Can You Say These 10 Devious Tongue Twisters in 10 Different Languages?

Every language has its own tongue twisters—words or phrases that are difficult to say without making mistakes. In this post, we’ll show you ten different tongue twisters in ten different languages; can you say them all?

How many tongue twisters do you know in English? Red lorry, yellow lorry is a fun one, though perhaps a little easier than she sells seashells on the seashore. The good thing about tongue twisters is that they’re a tool you can use when learning a language (they’re often used for diction exercises because they help you practise tricky sounds) and, most importantly, they’re fun!

We’ve collected ten difficult tongue twisters from ten different languages for you to try out—see if you can say them all without making any mistakes!

1. Scottish Gaelic

“Lìon làn rionnach ‘s ròn làn leanna.” Meaning: A net full of mackerel and a seal full of beer.

2. Xhosa

“Iqaqa laziqikaqika kwaze kwaqhawaka uqhoqhoqha.” Meaning: The skunk rolled down and ruptured its larynx. (Eek!)

3. Cebuano

“Ang kwarta ko sa kwarto kwatro.” Meaning: The money I had in the room is four pesos.

4. Korean

“내가 그린 기린 그림은 잘 그린 기린 그림이고, 네가 그린 기린 그림은 못생긴 기린 그림이다,” or, if you can’t quite read that yet, “nega geurin girin geurimeun jal geurin girin geurimigo nega geurin girin geurimeun jal mot geurin girin geurimida.” Meaning: I draw a giraffe picture, a pretty giraffe picture. You draw a giraffe picture, an ugly giraffe picture.

5. Yoruba

“Obo n’gb’Obo g’ope, ko f’iru Obo bo Obo l’enu. T’i ko ba tete gb’obo bo’gbe, Obo yio gbe o bo’gbe.” Meaning: A monkey carries another monkey up the palm tree, put the monkey’s tail in the monkey’s mouth. If you do not quickly carry the monkey into the forest, the monkey will carry you into the forest.

6. Finnish

“Vesihiisi sihisi hississä.” Meaning: The water spirit/seamonster was hissing in the elevator. (Pro tip: try repeating this one five or ten times for maximum effect!)

7. Romanian

“Ştiu că ştiu că ştiuca-i ştiucă şi mai ştiu că ştiuca muşcă.” Meaning: I know that I know that pike is a pike and I also know that the pike bites.

8. Swahili

“Mbuzi hali nazi kwa vile hawezi kupanda ngazi ndipo azifikie nazi.” Meaning: A goat cannot eat coconut because it cannot climb up a ladder to reach the coconuts up in the coconut tree.

9. Welsh

“Pesychwch fel y pesychasoch gynt.” Meaning: Cough like you coughed earlier. (This is another one to try a few times in a row!)

10. English

“Pad kid poured curd pulled cod.” This is unlikely to be a tongue twister you learnt as a child, as it was only recently created by researchers at MIT. It was created to investigate how speech errors are processed in the brain and by using it, the researchers found that there could be a connection between how the brain takes in information and how you then say it afterwards. See how many times you can say this one!

So, there we go, ten tongue twisters for you to try! Can you say any of them? Do you know any really good ones that we’ve missed? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter—and if you’re feeling adventurous, go ahead and record yourself saying a few tongue twisters and tag us in your video! 

Gura math thièd leibh! (Good luck!)

(Oh, and, here’s a secret bonus Latin tongue twister: “Mimi numinum nivium minimi munium nimium vini muniminum imminui vivi minimum volunt.” This is both a tongue twister and was (and still is!) used to practise Medieval calligraphy; it means: The very short mimes of the gods of snow do not at all wish that during their lifetime the very great burden of [distributing] the wine of the walls to be lightened. Can you say this one?)

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