12 Tongue Twisters to Master Your English Pronunciation

Blog
January 03, 2022
By Sarah Angela Almaden
A Cat rolling on the a wooden floor

Unsplash: Daria Shatova

What is a tongue twister? A tongue twister is a phrase or a sentence that is challenging when pronounced quickly and correctly.

Why is a tongue twister called a tongue twister? The first tongue twister was recorded around 1855 by a doctor at Missouri’s Rock River. The river was called Inyan Reakah, a name that was difficult for the white settlers to pronounce. Basically, a tongue twister is called a tongue twister, because your tongue feels like it’s getting twisted when reading a specific phrase or a sentence.

Will your tongue end up twisting like a pretzel when saying a tongue twister? Maybe… Kidding aside, saying a tongue twister is a great way to improve your pronunciation and speaking skills. So if your tongue is twisted, it is only for a brief second!

Reading a tongue twister once is fun. Repeating it many times can be very confusing, as your tongue will end up doing some kind of tongue gymnastics. Try saying this: Red leather, yellow leather. Red leather, yellow leather. Red leather, yellow leather.

Okay, now repeat it six times but faster. Red leather, yellow leather. Red leather, yellow leather. Red leather, yellow leather. Red leather, yellow leather. Red leather, yellow leather. Red leather, yellow leather. See what I mean? I even got my tongue-tied on the second part of Red leather, yellow leather.

The trick to perfecting a tongue twister is to first say it slowly. If you mix a word or two, start over. Or just continue reading. Ready to practice your tongue twister skills?

Beginner Level

  • Eleven benevolent elephants.
  • Scissors sizzle, thistles sizzle.
  • A snake sneaks to seek a snack.
  • The blue bluebird blinks.
  • She sees cheese.

Intermediate Level

  • Fresh fried fish, fish fresh fried, fried fish fresh, fish fried fresh.
  • Kindly kittens knitting mittens keep kazooing in the king’s kitchen.
  • You know New York, you need New York, you know you need unique New York!
  • Any noise annoys an oyster, but a noisy noise annoys an oyster more.

Advanced Level

  • 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?
  • I thought a thought but the thought I thought, wasn’t the thought you thought I thought. If the thought I thought had been the thought I thought, I wouldn’t have thought I thought.
  • Yellow butter, purple jelly, red jam, black bread. Spread it thick, say it quick! Yellow butter, purple jelly, red jam, black bread. Spread it thicker, say it quicker! Yellow butter, purple jelly, red jam, black bread. Don’t eat with your mouth full!

When it comes to saying a tongue twister, you set your own pace. You can read and practice it as many times as you want. You can even challenge your friends to a tongue twister game!

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