Did you know that November 10 is #TongueTwisterDay? No? Can’t blame you. But, since you are here, let me explain why tongue twisters are interesting for language learners.
Tongue twisters, as the very words may imply, are sentences designed to be recited at a fast pace causing one to get tongue-tied. This happens because all words contain very similar sounds. They’re supposed to be difficult for native speakers.
So why should you learn a few tongue twisters? If they’re hard for natives surely they’ll be impossible for a beginner. Well, turns out they’re a great way to practice and improve pronunciation. By reciting tongue twisters, you’re basically concentrating on a specific consonant sound. Simple, isn’t it?
And the best part is, you’re going to get them wrong. Time and time again. And that’s fine! You’re using them as a tool to gain fluency in Spanish, so don’t sweat it if you trip over the words… Just try to get the sounds right!
Try Reading These Tongue Twisters Out Loud
Pablito clavó un clavito. ¿Qué clavito clavó Pablito?
Roughly: Little Pablo hammered a little nail. Which little nail did little Pablo hammer?
El cielo está enladrillado. ¿Quién lo desenladrillará? El desenladrillador que lo desenladrille, buen desenladrillador será.
Roughly: The sky’s bricked up. Who’s gonna unbrick it? The bricklayer that unbricks it will be a good bricklayer.
Si Sansón no sazona su salsa con sal, sosa le sale la salsa sin sazonar a Sansón.
Roughly: If Samson does not season his sauce with salt, Samson’s unseasoned sauce will come out bland.
* (Remember, ‘c + vowel’ and ‘z’ in Spanish are pronounced like ‘th’ in think).
Teresa trajo tizas. ¿Cómo trajo las tizas? ¡Echas trizas las tizas trajo!
Roughly: Teresa brought chalks. How was the chalk that she brought? The chalk that she brought were smashed to pieces.
Ready to Roll Those R’s?
El perro de San Roque no tiene rabo, porque Ramón Ramírez se lo ha cortado.
Roughly: Saint Roch’s dog does not have a tail because Ramón Ramírez cut it off.
Tres tristes tigres tragaban trigo en un trigal en tres tristes trastos. En tres tristes trastos, tragaban trigo en un trigal, tres tristes tigres.
Roughly: Three sad tigers swallowed wheat from three sad containers in a wheat field. From three sad containers, they swallowed wheat in a wheat field, the three sad tigers.